Thursday, June 9, 2016

Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw

Summary from Goodreads:
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 ate this up. I only heard of this book because I saw a blog tour post on another blog (thank you, The Midnight Garden). I loved the review. But more than that, I loved the mini article posted by the author at the end of the review. She wrote about social networking in a way I have not really seen it written about before. She wrote about it being good.
Basically, she said that the online universe did not create bullying. Kids were bullies way before now. The internet just gives cruel kids a newer platform to do what they already were doing. But, really social networking provides so much more good. It allows kids like Scarlett (from her book) to find friends she can’t find at school. It connects people who all like to write fan fic, or who all like to talk about YA books, or it gives kids whole communities of people to talk to when they might not have access to anyone otherwise.
Any way, this inspired me to request her book at my library. I was expecting to enjoy it. How could I not after such statements were made? The author put words to things I’ve thought about for some time, but never wrote down or really vocalized. I knew I had to like her book. I didn’t know I’d love it. I read it so quickly. I even spent some boyfriend time, reading. Thankfully, he likes to read too and didn’t mind having some quality book time with me.
Mostly, I just loved Scarlett. Her voice is so strong and sarcastic. I connected to her immediately. I’m not in the fan fiction world any more. But, I understood her. I 100% relate to her fandom and how she felt when her show was cancelled. I loved getting to read a book that touches on this. The only other one that I know of is Fangirl, which I also loved. Why isn’t there more out there?
I loved that Scarlet is independent and opinionated. I love that she holds true to her convictions. Yet, at the same time, she’s capable of learning that she can be wrong.  She knows when she makes a mistake in her writing. She knows when she needs to quit a certain moment with a certain boy. She knows she’s quick to judge other people, but wants to work on it. She’s flawed, but she wants to learn and be her best.
I love that she wasn’t afraid to talk about sexism in fiction. She legit brings to light two famous authors that everyone loves, and talks about how sexist they are. I have to admit that one of the things I love most about YA, is the lack of sexism. Yeah, it’s not perfect, but I really feel like it’s a whole genre for people who are sick of the authors mentioned in this book, sick of women getting the short end of the stick.
I also have to mention the fun fan fiction. I loved the pieces we got of Scarlett’s story. I know a lot of it was meant to be a lesson in not writing the people you know into your very public stories, but it was also super fun to read. I love how far she took things.
I also adored all the side characters. Her neighbor, Ruth, was just wonderful. I wish I had a neighbor like her growing up. I love that she taught Scarlett about feminism, and got Scarlett to be braver that I think she ordinarily would be. I also loved Scarlett’s complex relationships with her parents.
I ended up liking this one even more than I thought I would. I’m so glad I came across that blog tour post. I give it a 10/10.

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