The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Publication Date/Version: April 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Richard Jackson Books
Age Group: 12 and up
Received From: Around The World Tours
Nola wants nothing more than a summer on her own - and a job at an upscale Maine coast resort sounds ideal. She'll have plenty of beach time between waitressing, some freedom from stresses back home, and the chance to make new friends. Enter Carly, the perfect pal: full of jokes, ideas, energy - and experienced at being away from her mysterious family. But Carly turns out to be much more complicated than the standard summer buddy - her borderline personality can turn on Nola in a flash, and even love becomes a rivalry. As the girls' instant friendship unhinges by subtle, increasing powerful turns, the commonplace becomes dramatic - and the outcome unforgettable.
Nola wants to escape her home life. That basically means Song, her younger sister who's battling cancer. Not that she doesn't love her sister or anything, Nola just wants to be able to live her own life without those constant worries. She heads off to a resort on Maine, and there she meets Carly. They become quick friends, and Carly seems like the perfect person to hang out with on a summer vacation. Nola will soon learn, however, that Carly can be rather twisted and isn't all that she seems.
I came into this book rather skeptical because I had heard some negative reviews, but I'm glad I gave it a chance! I ended up really enjoying the book. Nola was a good character that I found easy to connect to. Even Song, her sister, was a spunky girl who was fun to hear about. The story picked up quickly, and I found that the pacing throughout the book was just right. I never grew bored with the story.
I enjoyed the entire cast of characters, from the other waitresses to the kitchen staff. I would have, however, liked to get to know them even more. Secondary character development was a little lacking, but I still managed to get a feel for each one. The main characters were good. Nola was easy to connect to. Harrison, her love interest, was just okay for me. I didn't feel anything special about him; he just seemed like another summer crush. My feelings grew for him towards the end of the novel though. Carly, ah Carly. I hate that girl, plain and simple. But that was the whole point really. She was such an underhanded, conniving, backstabbing "friend." She was constantly attacking Nola over nothing. Her final action of the book had me furious. I couldn't believe what she had done. And then she felt no remorse whatsoever! She was insane.
I was fairly happy with the ending. Secretly, however, I was rooting for Kevin. He seemed sweet and he was always there for Nola. Also, I wished Nola would have done something to get back at Carly, but no such luck.
Overall: Wonderful story that is easily to relate to. Explores the dramas of teenage friendships with truth. This is one of the best portrayals of "frenemies" I've ever seen, all without being a fluff book.
My Advice: Buy yourself a copy. Be warned, though, it did get some negative reviews. I, however, believe all girls will get something out of this story.
Cover: The two girls basically fit Carly and Nola. The title seems to fit Nola's feeling toward Carly - anger, annoyance, and frustration.
*This book was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge