The Haters by Jesse Andrews
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.
Review: Okay, to be honest, I didn’t really like this one. It was almost a DNF for me mainly because I have a lot of books to read and I just didn’t want to invest time in something I wasn’t really liking. However, I persevered, because I was curious about how things would end and it wasn’t all bad. Overall, the characters felt realistic. The actual adventure of running off and doing a tour isn’t that most realistic, but it’s not unrealistic, if that makes sense. It’s something that could happen; it just felt a bit strange to be reading about these teens that did that. Anyway, I haven’t read Andrews’ debut Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and I hear great things about it, so I do want too. I just wouldn’t say this one was a favorite of mine. It’s definitely middle-of-the-range. I wouldn’t recommend it per se, but I could see people really liking how the teens spoke and acted like real people. Boys might enjoy it more than girls, with all of the guy humor, though!
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Gena and Finn would have never met but for their mutual love for the popular show Up Below. Regardless of their differences—Gena is a recent high school graduate whose social life largely takes place online, while Finn is in her early twenties, job hunting and contemplating marriage with her longtime boyfriend—the two girls realize that the bond between them transcends fanfiction. When disaster strikes and Gena’s world turns upside down, only Finn can save her, and that, too, comes with a price. Told through emails, text messages, journal entries, and blog posts, Gena/Finn is a story of friendship and love in the digital age.
Review: Now this is a book that I really loved. For one thing, it’s easy for me to relate to as I have met a lot of great people online – whether we ever met in person or not. We’ve talked about the things we love, especially when it deals with some sort of fandom or nerdy love. For Gena (pronounced like Jenna) and Finn (two girls) they bond over the TV show Up Below. They start to write each other about their lives and the things they are going through. Finn is a bit older than Gena and she’s living away from her family with her boyfriend, but she’s not sure she really wants to marry him. As for Gena, she’s dealing with absent parents, mental health, and something of a secret that is revealed later.
As these two communicate, and especially after they meet in person, their friendship starts to blur a bit. Do they love each other as more than friends? Is one of them more in love than the other? It’s an interesting question and it was great to see this in a book. It’s easy, especially with girls, to see how friends could start to fall in love if they get too close to each other. Obviously this doesn’t happen with all best girl friends, but it is something that probably happens more often than people realize.
I loved the different formats -we get journal entries, text messages, emails, etc. It’s a lot of fun and it makes the story move quick, but also allows you an intimate look into both of these girl’s worlds.