For all of the students out there I hope your A Level/College results went well and good luck to all the GCSE students receiving theirs this week.
Todays post is about a book which I’ve wanted to read for a very long time.
The Haters by Jesse Andrews is a YA Contemporary novel following three unique teens on the summer tour of a lifetime. Corey and Wes are band geeks who have decided to spend their summer at one of the most respected (and probably only) jazz camps in America. Their enthusiasm to actually attend begins to fade when they arrive and find out its basically full of weird jazz band geeks (which was to be expected at a jazz summer camp). Their luck begins to change however when they met Ash, a mysterious and talented guitar player and singer-songwriter who also happens to be one of the only girls at the whole camp. After jamming out and discovering their collective talent as a trio the three quickly decide to ditch their summer plans and set out on a tour across the states performing to anyone who will listen and finding out what it truly means to be in a band and to be a Hater.
Jesse Andrews, for those who don’t know already, wrote one of my favourite books of all time – Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. As such, going into The Haters, I was nervous that their would be some great downfall as often it can prove to be impossible to live up to the heights of a book that is already so successful.
Luckily, on the whole, I was not let down.
The plot was fresh enough that it didn’t feel too overdone or samey yet it was also comfortable and warming going into it knowing that I had a whole road trip ahead of me- who doesn’t love a good road trip book? Andrews always has a unique way of painting the picture of and presenting what it means to be young and I think this book is a great credit to that. The Haters is unapologetically raw and real, uncut and honest and as a result is able to describe the teenage condition in a way that is not only accurate but also beautiful. From the dialogue between the characters to Andrews’ tongue and cheek prose I think the story conveys a very whimsical and addictive grittiness that hooks you in and immerses you in the trials and tribulations of the cast.
The characters certainly make this story and I would wholeheartedly say that this is a character-driven narrative. The whole book is told through Wes’ perspective which provided an interesting insight into the events that unfolded but also supported the notion that these characters had a past and a present and a future. Some of the anecdotes Wes recalls felt real enough that they could very easily be passed off as memories rather than paragraphs of fiction. In his use of Wes as a device for story telling Andrews enhances the fabric of the world he has created and as a results produces a higher quality and easier to read book.
The last thing that needs to be mentioned, which is perhaps the only fall of this book but is a big fall nonetheless, is the humour. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl is notorious across the YA lands for being one of the funniest books out there. I read it on a flight from America in one sitting and genuinely laughed out loud the entire time (the people sitting next to me almost certainly thought I was crazy). It is unfair to compare the Haters to MEATDG but I’m going to do it anyway. Sadly this book did not reach the comical heights of its predecessor. Maybe it is because it lacks the dark juxtaposition that MEATDG possesses which allows it to be so wrong but so right or maybe its simply that the plot calls naturally for less humour but truly I did not laugh out loud once whilst reading this book. I think this point, although small, definitely brought my rating of The Haters down considerably.
I would recommend this book to you all because it is good at doing what it does – which is provide you with some easy entertainment that feels exciting and real. Is it the next I’ll Give You The Sun or Mosquitoland? No alas, it is not.
I give this book a 3.8 out of 5 stars
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.