Review: The Haters by Jesse Andrews

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Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release date: April 5, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 325
RRP: $19.99 AUD
Goodreads || Book Depository

Wes and Corey are convinced nothing cool can come of their lame summer at jazz camp, when along comes Ash – all blonde hair and brash words – and cracks their world wide open. Finally, something they can’t seem to hate. When Ash convinces them that a great musician is made on the road, the three friends flee camp and begin an epic, hilarious road trip: The Haters 2016 Summer of Hate Tour.

Amid sneaking into seedy bars, evading their parents and the police, and spending every minute together in a makeshift tour bus, romance blossoms and bursts, and hygiene takes a back seat. Wes begins to realise the limitations of hating everything: it keeps you at a convenient distance from something, or someone, you just might love.

When you can find something to hate about every band, how do you make a sound you love?

MY THOUGHTS

2 stars

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of The Haters. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I think a certain population of people will really love The Haters. I just didn’t happen to fall into that group. I couldn’t really connect with the characters or the humour in the book, and it all became a little bit flat and boring. Having said that, I absolutely hated Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and The Haters was a much better reading experience for me.

This book is about Wes, Corey and Ash who meet at a two-week jazz camp. None of them are actually into jazz and find the camp environment to be a bit stifling. Ash decides that the only way that they can be real musicians and play the music that they want to play is to go on a tour around the country. They have absolutely no plan and are absolutely terrible together as a band. Together, they travel around the country looking for new experiences and opportunities to show off their music. Now, this sounded like an amazing idea for a road trip book. It had the potential to be crazy, funny and exciting, but I found it to be kind of plotless. Almost nothing happens in this book! There’s lots of descriptions of travelling and of music but they hardly played any music at all. I felt like it was just pages and pages of dropping names of bands and talking about how great they were together and not actually that much music playing. I was baffled by the lack of practice and rehearsal. I mean, sure, let’s just go on tour and not practise together at all.

What we did get in this book were pages and pages of descriptions and jokes. Everything was described with unnecessary detail, including a pretty disturbing description of ‘dick harming’. I just felt like the book dragged on forever and at the end of it, I was left with nothing but a deep knowledge of how bad their car smelt and the names of a million bands that I’ve never heard of before. I didn’t understand a lot of the music references, and I’m sure that people who actually know about the things that are mentioned will love the book. But it just wasn’t for me and it came across as pretentious. I also couldn’t really connect with the humour and didn’t find the book to be that funny. People who are able to connect with the humour will absolutely love this novel because the jokes just run on for pages and pages. For those who don’t, there’s just not much to latch on to and it can be a pretty long journey to the end of the book… Having said that, I did find some parts to be funny but those were few and far between. There were lots and lots of dick jokes that I honestly just don’t find amusing at all.

The characters in this book reminded me a lot of the trio in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, with the two male best friends and the addition of a female friend. I did enjoy Wes, our main character, for the most part. Apart from all the dick jokes and him just acting like a ‘dude’, he wasn’t a bad character to read from. I enjoyed all of his insecurities and how he kept the group together, but he also frustrated me at times with some of his actions. The character that I had a huge problem with was Ash. She came across as extremely selfish and inconsiderate, and there wasn’t a single point in the book where I thought she had Wes and Corey’s best interests at heart.

The Haters was quite an easy book to read and was relatively fast-paced, apart from the long jokes and descriptions that I couldn’t care less about. I thought the formatting of the book was a bit odd though. The book switches constantly between normal prose and a script format. I didn’t really understand why the author chose to do this. It came across to me as lazy writing – like the author couldn’t be bothered to write proper sentences with proper punctuation anymore, and decided to just have dialogue in the format of a script. I understood the use of the script in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl since that book was about film-making, but there was really no reason to do it in this novel at all.

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed with The Haters. It was definitely a step up from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl for me, but there were too many elements that I either didn’t understand or didn’t like to convince me to pick up anything else by Jesse Andrews in the future.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Made Me Chuckle

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, I’m sharing ten books that made me laugh. I don’t really read a lot of funny books but here are ten that are on my shelves.

1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On was one of my favourite books of last year and it was because it was so incredibly funny! The characters and their relationships were wonderful but the humour was also a massive standout for me. It was just a really enjoyable and lighthearted read.

2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

This is a book about anxiety and depression but, like most of Sophie Kinsella’s other books, it was full of funny moments. If you see this novel at the bookstore, I highly recommend just reading the first scene. It was absolutely hilarious!

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

If you love Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and all of his hilarious awkwardness, you will love Don in The Rosie Project. They have the same social awkwardness and it was just so funny to watch him navigate his first experience of falling in love.

4. The Colours of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty

This isn’t supposed to be a funny trilogy but it’s set in the most magical and whimsical world that was full of quirks, and a joy to read.

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

This series is adventurous and thrilling but it also has a whole load of funny moments. Percy’s voice is just so great to read from and I laughed out loud at some many things that he said and thought.

6. The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

This book is set during one afternoon and night at a sci-fi convention. It’s full of crazy antics and was just so funny to read. I loved everything that happened and all of the outlandish moments.

7. Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Despite the ominous sounding title, this book was surprisingly funny. In this world, everybody knows their deathdate and there are all these crazy preparations and events that happen before the deathdate. It was all super crazy but really entertaining to read about.

8. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This is another book that isn’t intended to be funny but it features a big, crazy family with lots of young children. I chuckled so many times as I read this book and it’s impossible to fall in love with baby Patsy and the insanely paranoid 4 year old, George.

9. YOLO Juliet by Brett Wright

This is Romeo and Juliet written in the form of text messages. I have to admit that not everything worked – there were just some bits that were kinda boring, and some things that just didn’t make sense as a text message – but there were lots of really funny messages and I really enjoyed the reading experience.

10. THE HATERS by Jesse Andrews

This is the novel that I’m currently reading. I wasn’t a fan of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I think you just have to be a certain kind of person to connect with Jesse Andrews’ books and humour. But there were some bits in this book that I found to be funny and laughed at.


What are some of your favourite funny books?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I Just Didn’t Click With

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is characters that I did not click with. I don’t really have many main characters that I don’t click with, but I’m the type of reader that finds it hard to connect to a story if I don’t like the characters. So a lot of the titles mentioned below are ones that I gave relatively low ratings to (though there are some that had such impactful stories that I fell in love with them anyway).

These are in no particular order:

America Singer (The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass):
I don’t think I need to elaborate on this choice. America is just the most frustrating main character, who seems to just have everything work out in her favour even though she’s not really anything special.

Dorrigo Evans (The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan):
The Narrow Road to the Deep North was the Man Booker Prize winner of 2014, and this is a book that I actually did enjoy despite not really connecting with the main character. I gave this 4/5 stars. I thought the side characters were all so strong in this book and I preferred to read about them over Dorrigo.

Molly Barlow (99 Days by Katie Cotugno):
There was little to no character development in this book and I just didn’t like Molly at all. She never learnt from the mistakes she had made in the past and I didn’t feel sorry for her at all. I found her to be frustrating, annoying and just dislikeable.

Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns by John Green):
Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Enough said.

Greg Gaines (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews):
This was a book that I could not connect to at all (I gave it a 1 star rating) and I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t connect with Greg’s character. I didn’t find his voice to be that funny – in fact, in my Goodreads review I wrote “I found Greg to be a little bit boring, wimpy and emotionless“.

Taylor Gray (Risk by Fleur Ferris):
I didn’t click with Taylor at all, probably because she’s a 15 year old narrator with a very juvenile voice. This is definitely a book aimed at a younger audience, and as a 20-something year old it just didn’t click with me.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman (We Were Liars by E. Lockhart):
An unreliable narrator, with kind of an annoying and slightly juvenile voice. While I liked the concept of the book, I didn’t enjoy the characters at all.

Aaron Soto (More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera):
I gave this book a high 4.5 – 5 star rating because it gave me all the feels. But I didn’t really click with Aaron, the MC. He was a little bit boring and I couldn’t really relate to him at all in the first 100 pages of the book. I started to like him a little bit more after the first 100 pages, but he left a bad first impression.

Lief (The Sin-Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury):
Lief is one of the love interests in this new trilogy (series?)…and let’s just say, he’s not a part of the pairing that I like in this trilogy. First, his name is part of a plant; his name is foliage… But that aside, his character is very mysterious. He was very eager and persistent from the first time we meet him and I found myself thinking “what’s with this guy?” so many times throughout the book.

Charlie (Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott):
I could not stand Charlie, the MC, in this book at all. She was very broody, immature and self-deprecating. I thought she was a very pathetic character and there wasn’t any character development at all. I didn’t understand the point of the book and I gave it 1 star.