Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Friday, January 19th 2018 Bookish, Review

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Anna Breslaw

Published by Razorbill on April 19th 2016
Genres: young adult, contemporary, romance
Format: hardcover, 288 pages (library)
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My rating:

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 weed-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. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

I was contemplating for a while whether to actually review this book or not, but I thought, heck! Since this was my first completed book of 2018, I might as well.

Scarlett Easily Made Me Laugh

Scarlett writes about real life as a sort of twisted coping mechanism.

Scarlett, a New Jersey-girl of the lower-lower middle class, is a snarky, ill-humored and subjective high school girl, who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. One fateful day, her absolute favorite television show, Lycanthrope High is cancelled, and it’s the end of the world as she knows it. This novel is rich with internet culture as Scarlett constantly gets on the forums to talk about this show and read/write fanfiction based on the hit show. Scarlett’s never really ventured to write original fiction, and once she does, she takes her emotions about the boy she’s been in love with for a very long time and the fact that he now seems to be dating her nemesis and put it in her ‘robot’ story as a sort of twisted coping mechanism.

I couldn’t exactly get down on a relatable level with Scarlett, but I definitely appreciated her ‘voice’ and how she was a flawed character. I immediately applauded her sassiness, which is a character trait I can (almost) always approve of.

Fanfiction Inside a Fiction!

I’ll admit the fanfiction aspect of the novel seemed a little…lacking? I got really excited about the idea when it was first introduced, and I enjoyed it, but a major part of me just wanted to get through those parts to get back to Scarlett’s story. I enjoyed her journey to being comfortable and confident in her writing (which is something I’m desperately trying to achieve!) but in the long run, her relationships and the way she dealt with them were more my cup of tea.

Scarlett and Her Relationships

Ruth, the feminist, pot-smoking neighbor was my favorite.

Scarlett is a bit of a hermit at school (hence the huge role the internet plays) with like, two friends, and who also has a messy parent relationship on both the mom and the dad fronts. She lives with her mom, who isn’t exactly parental, and kind of offhandedly admires her dad and his new family. While they play significant roles, my favorite relationship takes place between Scarlett and her elderly neighbor, Ruth. Pot-smoking, feminist Ruth is a hoot, and I loved whenever she entered a scene. Although she appeared to be irresponsible on the outside, she turned out to be a wonderful role model for Scarlett. I secretly wished to know a real-life Ruth during the majority of this book.

There’s a love-interest, Gideon – which, by the way, cool name! – who used to be a close acquaintance, daresay ‘friend’, to Scarlett, but after a social class divide, they went their separate ways. Now Gideon is allegedly dating Scarlett’s best friend’s sister, Ashley (aka, nemesis!), and Scarlett doesn’t really now how to cope – except by writing a fiction based on her real-life experiences and relationships that her cyber-friends can read and critique. I liked watching their friendship bloom, even though I couldn’t really get a good read on Gideon sometimes.

Short and Sweet

  • • The book was delightful, and not very plot-heavy, but still a fun book to start off my year because the snarkiness was ON POINT.
  • • The fanfiction aspect of the story did not capture my attention as well as the actual story, but I still liked it.
  • • The relationships were pretty spot-on and realistic and engaging.
  • • Anna Breslaw definitely has a bright future ahead of her in the YA department!

Have you, or are you planning to read this book? What do you think of stories within stories?


This has been a Rosie Writes Things production. She’s really proud of herself for getting this review up within the first week of restarting her blog because reviews haven’t been a strong point for many months now, despite being adamant about being a book-review blog! It’s time to start the day, and thank goodness it’s Friday, because she has never been more ready for the weekend! (Okay, well, maybe she has, but it’s just been a long, tiring week!)

Comments

  1. On Friday, January 19th 2018 Jared @dabook.club said:

    YAY! Glad you liked it. I also get a bit apprehensive when a fiction book is based on fan-fiction. Personally, I’m not a big fan of it. So when I hear about in the novels that I read, it’s usually a turn-off. I guess that I’ll have to give this a try! Good post!

  2. On Friday, January 19th 2018 Kara said:

    This sounds kind of cute! I’m not a huuuggeee fan of the fan-fiction thing, but it sounds like it works well here. Basically, this sounds like a lot of fun. Also…snarkiness? Yes, please!
    Kara recently posted…On Writing Fairy-Tales and Mythology—Things to ConsiderMy Profile

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