The Haters

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by Jesse Andrews
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I had been eagerly anticipating Andrews’ second novel ever since reading Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The Haters is the story of best friends Wes and Corey who go off to jazz band camp one summer and end up ditching the camp to go “on tour” with a girl they just met (none of them are really that great). They have all sorts of adventures that seem grownup and exciting and it seems like the trouble they get into they just leave behind, but eventually reality hits and hits hard. Andrews is great at telling a story through a teenager’s eyes and then sharing the story again from another perspective, so a teenage reader would probably realize how skewed their version of events can get. And of course this book has the same sense of humor as Andrews’ first novel, so I was frequently shaking with laughter and getting strange looks from people around me.

I really want to recommend this book to my cousin who is a freshman in high school and who is also into jazz band (and to whom I also recommended Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), but I will tell his parents a couple of things: 1. Wes and co. smoke pot, and 2. Wes loses his virginity to a girl along the way, which is described in pretty good detail. Mostly I hope my cousin chooses to live vicariously through Wes and not go out and try any of this himself, but I also hope he can relate.

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