Sunday, December 21, 2014

12 Days of Christmas (Day 8): Hate List and Thousand Words

Hello everyone! Welcome to Day 8 of 12 Days of Christmas! I can't believe that Christmas is just around the corner which means winter break and presents and winter break! So I actually have two Jennifer Brown mini reviews: Hate List and Thousand Words. I read these books so long ago it's ridiculous why I haven't posted reviews of them. Thank goodness I wrote down my thoughts otherwise I don't know what I would say other than they were really good. So let's just jump into the reviews!!

ISBN: 0316041440 
Pages: 405
Source: Library
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.

Hate List addresses one of the biggest fears that schools face nowadays: shootings. The news always tells us about the horrifying events of a shooting but we never get to see the story from someone behind the scenes, even if they didn't pull the actual trigger. Even though Valerie didn't plan on actually getting rid of anybody, she wrote the majority of the names in the notebook that eventually became her boyfriend Nick's hit list. This book was so choking at moments I really just wanted to curl up and cry. It's so easy to hate the people who commit the crimes, but when you are a back supporter of it and you have to reenter society with the label, it's one heck of a horrible experience. Hate List explores so many issues in the world from shootings, depression, to facing your fears. Valerie had to go through so much crap throughout the book because almost everyone, including her own father, could not get over what she had done. Personally, I think everyone is allowed to have a "Hate List" because there are people in the world who you utterly despise, even if you don't plan on doing anything with it, which was what Valerie was going for. Her Hate List represented the people she didn't like, and anything she said about getting rid of them were only words. In the aftermath of the shooting, former enemies become her only friends and she learns to find that support comes from where you least expect it to home. The book itself is full of the magic of healing. It's definitely a heavy one so I recommend you prepare yourself before reading, but it definitely definitely opens your eyes to so much more.

“One's my favorite number. The word won being the past tense of win, and we can all say at the end of the day that we won once again, can't we? Some days making it to the end of the day is quite a victory.” 

“I saw everyone, a shifting sea of discomfort and sadness, each person carrying his own pain, each telling her own stories, no story more or less tragic or triumphant than any other.” 

“I don’t know if it’s possible to take hate away from people. Not even people like us, who’ve seen firsthand what hate can do. We’re all hurting. We’re all going to be hurting for a long time. And we, probably more than anyone else out there, will be searching for a new reality every day. A better one.” 

“People hate. That's our reality.” 

“It was one of the constants of life. You are born, you die, you stand up when the bus doors open.” 

ISBN: 0316209724 
Pages: 284
Source: Library

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."
But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.
Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

Technology sucks, yet we are all so addicted. One of the biggest crimes the technology has committed is the huge amorphous cloud of things that people on the internet. Once it's out there, you can never take it back. It only takes a simple click to save or send a mistake to thousands of people around the world and that's what Thousand Words is based on. Sexting. I wasn't too excited to read this book when I first picked it up, I was intrigued, but I just thought sexting was bad and dumb (no offense) in general, no matter the excuse. This book really changed my perspective and gave me a huge whack in the head for my narrow-mindedness. Ashleigh never planned on taking that picture, but she was desperate to make sure her boyfriend didn't forget her when he left for college and she was also peer pressured into it. Why people even consider that as a way to keep a guy is beyond me and if anyone suggests that to you as advice from a friend, you need to get away from the ASAP.

 The book switches between present day as Ashleigh is working her hours off after taking the picture and the past when it actually happens. I really don't understand how horrible people are and I can say with 110% conviction that if I ever meet Kaleb in real life, I will beat the crap out of him. He's a horrible person and what he did is just unforgivable. That's completely off the topic of the book, but you just need that he is a completely douchebag. Okay, moving back onto the beautiful components of this book:

Thousand Words focuses on not letting one mistake define who you are for the rest of your life and I think that is such an important message for everyone to know. People make mistakes and some are unforgivable but in the long run it doesn't define who they are. I just said that I hated Kaleb and I still do. I don't know what he is doing with his life after the book ends and yeah, he could've have changed. (That doesn't mean I still don't want to strangle him). What I'm trying to say is to move on and Ashleigh did. She released the past and worked to make herself better and learned to ignore the shiz that everyone threw her way. Even her own friends who told her to take the picture in the first place. Her growth as a character was one of the most beautiful things I have read and she's going to live her life the way she dictates, not anyone else and I think that is just so beautiful. Before I wrap it up, let's give a huge round of applause to Mack for being the perfect human being with all of his mistakes, he manages to still have a decent heart. Thank you Mack for restoring my faith to humanity. 

“A picture's worth a thousands words but they don't tell the whole story.” 

“People talked. Let them talk. Nothing I could do to stop them. They knew the thousand words, but they didn't know the rest of the story.” 

"I was not my mistakes. I was not defined by anyone else. Only I got to say who I was was. And I Just Ashleigh."

Overall, I really enjoyed both books and Jennifer Brown writes some really deep and heavy things. Some people don't like these types of contemporary but I think they really help to open peoples eyes to the world. It might be fiction, but it's still the truth. So obviously, I definitely recommend these two books and I need to pick up another book by her soon! As always, you still have time to enter the giveaway so don't forget to enter HERE!
Hate List: 4 out of 5 stars
Thousand Words: 4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

1 comment:

  1. I really want to read Hate List and based on your review it sounds like an awesome book. The only reason why I haven't yet bought is because I read A Thousand Words and didn't enjoy it all that much so I'm afraid I might not enjoy Hate List either.
    Lovely reviews! :)

    Veronika @