The novel deals with the aftermath of a school shooting. It is a first person narrative from the point of view of Valerie Leftman, whose boyfriend Nick Levil was the shooter. Interspersed through the novel are newspaper articles about the events. Valerie and Nick have compiled a Hate List, a list of people and things they hate; Valerie sees it as an inside joke between the two of them, but Nick is more serious. When he brings a gun to school and starts shooting people, Valerie puts herself in front of his next victim and is shot in the leg. After this, Nick kills himself. Once Valerie wakes up in the hospital to face the consequences, she soon realizes that she harbors some of the blame for the people who were killed or wounded. Had she not discussed before how much she hated them? Maybe even egged him on a little? With Nick gone, she's really the only one left to face the blame. Five months after the shooting, Valerie returns to school and steadily begins to cope with the loss of her boyfriend, the loss of her former friends, her family's resulting issues, and how it all will affect her future. People now view Nick as a monster, her classmates are torn between calling her a victim or a part of the whole plan, her friends no longer talk to her, her parents' marriage is ending, her brother resents her, the girl whose life she saved befriends her, and she considers the possibility of attending college even though her name is attached to the tragedy. This novel follows her as she learns to forgive, to stand up for herself, and journey from mental anguish to mental stability.
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