The Haters by Jesse Andrews | Rating: ★★☆☆☆
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the
publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my
opinions in any way.
The thing about The Haters is I wanted to love it--I really and truly wanted to because A.) the plot sounds incredibly fun and promising in theory and I could really use a laugh an a road trip plot. B.) Jesse Andrews is hugely talented and made me fall in love with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and his writing. And C.) Amulet's promotion of the novel was the cutest I've seen in the last few years and I'm a sucker for cute things. So when I flipped the book to read its summary I was pumped.
But the problem was that it didn't live up to expectations at all and felt equal parts lackluster and try hard. Jesse Andrews could have done so much better in my eyes but the simple matter is that it is likely just not my cup of tea personally. Because while it wasn't awful, awful, awful and had some bright spots, it just wasn't all that great in my view. I wanted so much more from it and it was just not meant to be.
That being said, it's just all too possible that as I get older and move beyond the young adult age (God I don't wanna talk about how old I feel these days!) that the crass humor just doesn't appeal to me. Or I've just seen it all/heard it all before. But one of the most obnoxious bits about The Haters is it took up that teenager humour by about seven notches and just was grating. It felt useless to the plot and while I *know* it's realistic and as a teenager I could be caught saying the most ridiculous of sexual things (pause: still, at times) all day ever day, it just got on my nerves a huge chunk of the time and felt unnecessary to the plot line.
Really, it provided nothing but eye rolls for me and I'm so disappointed saying that. You children better get off my lawn, now! Anyways. Anyways. Anyways. My point is that this level of crude humour is pretty much pointless when it takes up nearly all of the plot and provides nothing to it besides a few mediocre one liners. It feels like a broken record and I almost didn't make it through the vast majority of the book.
Let's face it, I'm a hater. I'm an little old hater and I'm tell you, get off my lawn with that.
(Disclaimer: I'm not really a hater.)
That being said. Let's head over to the character section. So. So. Beyond their constant cursing and all the boring dialogue, they were forgettable. I mean that gently. I feel like an asshole giving this sort of review but it's true. I can barely remember anything about them beyond the glaring unimportant jokes and cursing and well... I just felt like there was nothing special about the characters and that they weren't as well thought out as Andrews previous work. In Me and Earl and the Dying Girl we had so much to attach ourselves to and in The Haters it just feels... blah. I didn't come out of the novel with anything of substance. I didn't love the characters, I didn't hate the characters. In fact, I hardly knew the characters.
It was utterly underwhelming.
The thing is, The Haters felt like a whole lot of cliche and wasted potential to me but I can't see every other person who picks it up feeling the same way. There were some brighter spots sprinkled in here and there which are what kept me flipping the pages, in spite of how reluctant I was. And Andrews does capture a certain kind of prose when it comes to what some--not all--teenager feel or think or do. I just wanted something more from it and that's my fault, not his. I think that the overly sexual humor can be appealing so long as it leads something to the plot but The Haters didn't--that being said, I do feel that kids today will appreciate it for what it was and perhaps I am just being overly critical.
Overall, it had its moments but was mostly a miss for this reader. It was somehow an odd mix of too much and not enough. The biggest saving grace is that Jesse Andrews, even in his least likable prose, still is smooth as hell with words. As always, I recommend my readers pick up a book on their own to form their own opinions because what might be my least favourite release this year (so far) could be your favourites.