Valerie is happy to find her first real boyfriend in Nick, a loner she starts the hate list with. The hate list is therapeutic for Valerie, just a way for her to vent about people who bother or harass her. She is shocked when Nick, after being bullied one too many times, comes to their high school with a gun and starts shooting teachers and students on the list. Nick even ends up shooting her in the leg when she tries to get in front of him to stop the carnage. He then turns the gun on himself.
After the incident, Valerie wonders if she should have known what Nick was capable of. She ends up becoming a suspect in the shootings due in large part to the hate list. Hate List shifts back and forth in time between when Nick was still alive and Valerie’s current struggles to have a normal life. While in some ways Hate List is Valerie’s story, its true power comes from the fact that it goes far beyond the day of the shooting to show how the horrible event impacted everyone from the shooter to the community as a whole.