Title: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here
Author: Anna Breslaw
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group
Published: 19th April 2016
Available Edition(s): Hardcover
Date read: 6th April 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars
I received an early ebook copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.
When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.
When I first read the summary of the book, I knew immediately that I have to read the book. I am a fanfiction writer myself, so I love reading books where one of the characters are fanfiction writers.
This books is easy to read, hilarious, and full of witty banters. I like how Anna Breslaw could convey the feelings so accurately in the book. There are moments that are so funny, I laughed so hard, there are moments where I get so frustrated, I had to stop reading for a few seconds, and there are moments that me just cry.
Breslaw’s characters are also amazing. The main character, Scarlett, doesn’t really fit in at school, and her only IRL friends are Avery, and Ruth, her neighbour. Most of her friends are online (I know most fanfiction authors can relate to this). She is witty and smart, which was shown when she mouthed off to Gideon’s “friends”. The facts I like the most about Scarlett is that she is not perfect. She is quick to judge someone, in a way, without knowing the whole truth. And when she finally realized her mistake, she owned up to it, and apologized. In a way, this book is like a character study too, where Scarlett discovers things about herself.
However, my favourite character in this book is definitely Ruth. She is Scarlett’s seventy-three year-old neighbour who smokes pot, and is probably insane. But that is not why I love her. Ruth is smart, witty, and funny but people always forgot that because they thought she was crazy. Ruth would offer Scarlett great advice at times, whenever they talked. I also liked how Ruth would say things with underlying meaning.
Suffice to say, my favourite relationship in this book is the relationship between Scarlett and Ruth. In a way, Ruth is like a mentor to Scarlett.
I would recommend this book to everyone who feels like they don’t fit in IRL, and people who likes Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell might like this book too. Unlike most YA out there, this book doesn’t focus much on Scarlett’s romance life, and more on her character development. It is an easy read, and it’s funny, frustrating, heartwarming, and heartbreaking—all in one.