As someone in Colorado at the time of Columbine, and can remember that day and the ones that followed, this was a book I felt very compelled to read.
Valerie’s boyfriend went on a shooting spree through the school. His victims were ones that he and Valerie had put on a “hate list.” It was a way to release steam for her, but for him, it was more. So when the truth comes out after the shooting, it’s hard to not blame Valerie for at least part of it, even though she was the one that got in the way and stopped Nick from hurting more people.
Valerie makes the brave decision to go back to the high school for her senior year. She’s faced with the uncertainty of acceptance and having to face all those people that knew they were on the list. The school has been changed and soon, one of the girls that had been on the list reaches out to her, and helps her find some acceptance within the school and with herself.
I was moved to tears at the end of this book. It was one of the most emotional ending I have ever read, and I applaud Brown for tackling this subject with grace and respect and writing one of the best books I have ever read.