Author: Jennifer Brown
Genre: YA contemporary
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
I picked this book after I read about it on Goodreads. It seemed so different from most YA books, and I really wanted to know how it would deal with a tough topic like this. I really liked it.
The protagonist, Valerie was not a very likable character. I felt she was rather selfish, and I couldn’t bring myself to agree with the way she viewed Nick after the incident had taken place. However, that is one of the things liked about this book-that the protagonist was a very grey character. I feel the same about her family and friends. It was easy to empathize with Valerie in many of the scenes were she was shunned by her classmates, but unlike with most negative characters, in this book, I could relate to them as well. I mean, if I put myself in Valerie’s classmates’ place, I can see myself not wanting to have anything to do with her after the incident.
The writing was really good, and I ended up reading this book really fast. It knd of reminded me of the Fault in our Stars in the sense that it comes of as a regular Young Adult contemporary, but deals with something really dark and serious. Recommended to anyone who wants to read a YA book that deals with serious topics.