Books don’t make me cry. I don’t know why not. Not since I read Where the Red Fern Grows in third grade has a book made me sniffle in the slightest.
Here’s a list of books that make me sad, but not enough to cry about.
- Beth’s death in Little Woman – I read this over, over, & over. No tears. Stick in the video and bam! Tears.
- The Diary of Anne Frank – Life is unfair.
- The tragedy of Romeo & Juliet – Spent half the book admiring prose & the other half annoyed by how being in love makes you stupid.
- Flowers for Algernon – When the mouse dies. My favorite example of how to develop a character and then put him through hell.
- Bridge to Terabithia – Read this one in sixth grade, and felt empty afterward. Very peculiar.
- New Moon – Bella reeks of tears through this entire book, but I couldn’t help snickering (just a little) at her pain which sparked memories of my own misguided high school romances.
So you can imagine my surprise when I finished chapter 15 in The Hate List by Jennifer Brown and discovered tears, not only welling, but dripping down my cheeks.
Valerie Leftman struggles with loving her boyfriend who shot not just students and teachers at their high school last spring, but her. Some people died including Nick after he turned the gun on himself. The book starts with Valerie returning to school. The reader soon learns Valerie helped Nick compile their Hate List and people are dead now because of her. Even though she’s the one who stopped Nick.
Brown writes a compelling story shaped by Valerie’s struggles which hit a high note at the end of chapter 15 when she finally breaks down and admits her lingering feelings for Nick. I cried with her.
I recommend Hate List to anyone, especially teenagers and parents of teenagers. I don’t think parents, teachers or schools should make their kids read it because it has a good message. I think Hate List should be read because it’s a book about how we, at one time or another, really are: purple, warts and all.