Title: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here
Author: Anna Breslaw
Publication: April 19th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288 pages
Format: Library book
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…
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
Although I didn’t dislike the characters, none of them really resonated with me. The way Scarlett views herself and categorizes the other people at her high school is frustrating. I realize I’m reading YA, which by definition is supposed to be from a young adult perspective with only the experience and foresight that a person should have at their age in the book. I just think that Scarlett had a significant lack of ability to see herself and those around her from a less biased perspective. It is a lesson she seems to learn somewhat by the end of the book, but too little, too late.
Gideon’s character also didn’t live up to my expectations. I think I had taken the synopsis and made up a whole story in my head and this book wasn’t what I was expecting. There’s never a moment in the book where I think, wow, I would have had a crush on this guy in high school. But the chemistry between Gideon and Scarlett works, so may be it’s just that I don’t relate to Scarlett, so I can’t see myself liking Gideon.
Scarlett’s relationship with her 73-year-old neighbor Ruth is a really bright spot in the book and their conversations are hilarious.
The cover is cute, but not particularly eye catching. I always think it’s interesting when the title includes the main character’s first name. I feel like this doesn’t work very often unless you’re writing something like Harry Potter, then you can do pretty much anything you want… because you’re J.K. Rowling.
Scarlett and Gideon have been friends since they were kids, until they weren’t (for reasons I won’t spoil), and now they’re in high school and she still has a crush on him, but he’s recently starting hanging out with the popular kids. They have good chemistry and some really great lines back and forth, but the book is more focused on Scarlett and her crush on Gideon; more coming of age than an actual romance.
This book reminded me a lot of the humor and pop-culture references in It’s All Your Fault. It was seriously laugh out loud funny at times. However, the fanfic that Scarlett wrote as well as her conversations with the BNF (Big Name Fans) were actually two of the weaker points of the book. Not at all like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, where I looked forward to reading Cath’s fanfic. It almost seemed like Breslaw was trying to make it seem more believable that the fanfic was actually written by a high schooler instead of an author, but it just made me want to skim those parts of the book.
“I barely recognize the faux-casual voice coming out of my mouth. (So this is how it happens.This is how girls change for boys. I am simultaneously annoyed at myself and mildly amazed that I have the ability.)”
“It is hard to tell whether he’s being honest or following the high school commandment of Thou shalt not show thy uncoolness by openly caring about something, which I have never been good at.”
“You can’t have an inferiority complex and a superiority complex. Just pick one.”
I liked this book well enough while reading it and did find myself laughing quite a bit, but the characters nor the plot were something that will stick with me for very long.