Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw
Publisher: Razorbill (19th Apr 2016)
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 neighbour.
When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is cancelled 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…
One of my best friends got me this for my birthday. Well, a very advanced one since it’s in August and he gave it to me in May. (I share the same birthday as Percy Jackson because I’m awesome) After reading one of my blogger friend’s review of Anna Breslaw’s Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, I was more excited to read it.
What did I expect? A Fangirl-esque contemporary YA that was fast-paced, sassy and cute.
What did I get? A little bit of what I expected and a little bit of something else. Which isn’t a bad thing! Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is one of my most favourite YA books and I wanted to see if I could find a new favourite since I love stories about fanboys and fangirls.
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here follows the story of a high schooler whose heart has been shattered after the TV series she lives and breathes ends. Determined not to lose her status as a famed fanfiction writer, she chooses to write a fanfic about the guy she whom she’s had a crush on since they were kids: Gideon. Well, I think we all know how that would pan out, wouldn’t we?
Let’s start off with Scarlett, the main character with all the sass in the world and yet, she’s still a total div when it comes to her long time crush, Gideon. I liked that she wasn’t the stereotypical golden girl of YA with her grades and swishy hair and gaggle of best friends. A proud holder of her 2.9 GPA, two close friends she can confide in, a totally chilled, no-barriers relationship with her Mum and a bucket load of sassy wit got me rooting for Scarlett. Obviously.
“It’s amazing how the more you read, the less you know.”
And then there’s Ruth, Scarlett’s seventy-something year old neighbour who was such a star from the beginning to the end. The only slight dislike I had in the book was Gideon. I didn’t like the dude at all. Yes, he used to be a chubby kid who spurts wisecracks to fit in, but I thought his character was a bit dull, to be honest. And it didn’t help that the book lacked in the romance department..
One would think that it is mandatory that there would be a tinge of romance in YA books. Well, I would. I seriously thought that there would be some sort of cutesy romance between Scarlett and Gideon but no. I had hopes for it as there were some moments that teased me with a spark of romance, only to be slightly disappointed at the end of the book. Not cool. You don’t promise me chocolate cake for my birthday and give me a doughnut, people.
The book also includes chapters of Scarlett’s fanfiction piece where she writes about Gideon in a not-so fictionalised world. It was a definitely a different change up to reading everything from Scarlett’s point of view, but at times, I felt that the writer was a bit inconsistent in handling both sides of the story to integrate both of them together. And it didn’t help that the plot was a bit dry.
Humour is definitely an integral part of the book as the book really had its funny moments, but there were some references that were a bit too difficult to capture. Maybe to American cultures, it might make sense, but I didn’t get most of them, which was quite frustrating on my side. Breslaw’s voice is sharp, witty and refreshing as she narrates the story through Scarlett’s eyes and since the book is written from Scarlett’s point of view, her thoughts and clever comebacks were a hoot.
“She sighs, and then gives me this look. It’s new and I don’t like it. Sort of, Two roads diverged in a wood, mine is normal, but I hope you can be happy for me even though you are Miss Havisham.”
Overall, I enjoyed Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here as it was bursting at the seams with humour, sass and wit. Even though the plot was quite non-existent, I did like reading about Scarlett’s life as a high school student who is sharp and sassy as fuck and her pseudo-life as a fanfiction writer. If you liked Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I would recommend Anna Breslaw’s Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here.