Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw – 3/5

Title: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here

Author: Anna Breslaw

Rating: 3/5

Genre: Teen/Young Adult Contemporary

Synopsis:

“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.”

Review:

What confused me about this book was that I ate it right up because the writing was so witty and enjoyable, but after finishing the book I began to realize that the storyline was not complex enough and how the female protagonist was rather unlikable.

Now, there are young adult books that don’t connect to the audience whatsoever, and then there are young adult books that try too hard to connect to the audience and end up overdoing it.  This book is that of the latter, if you can’t tell from the words used in the synopsis already.

It is true that author Anna Breslaw did connect well to the teenage fanfiction community, because this community is a huge part of today’s teenagers’ lives.  But while her writing was witty and hysterical at times, I found that the main character was too self-absorbed and saw herself as better than those around her.  She even judged her “in real life” friends frequently, which forced me to continue to stray from liking her.  In general I do not like people who look down upon others, and not being able to escape that type of person in literature disappointed me.  I found Scarlett to demonstrate the “hipster” type that so many people dislike, and even if she does come off as a stereotype, I still couldn’t find myself liking her; however, I am aware that I am well above the desired age of this book’s audience, and I do think that if I were a child in middle school today I would have found this book enjoyable.  I remember connecting to books like this before I reached the age of the main characters, because I idolized them.  But from an adult perspective, I found Scarlett to be obnoxious and unaware of the world going on around her.  She looked down on people her age, and this hypocritical nature is not good for people her age who will be reading this book.  I wouldn’t want to feel like a character in a book, or an author, is looking down upon me, and if I were Scarlett’s age and reading this book I think that I would feel insulted.

Overall, Breslaw’s tone and writing style is genius.  She keeps you wanting to read more, and I absolutely loved her dry sense of humor; however, her protagonist was unlikable and I felt that her writing seemed to look down upon her audience, rather than connect with them.  I don’t recommend this book for the older audiences, but I do think that middle schoolers will benefit the most from this book when compared to other audience ages.

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