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 pot-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. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them...until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett's stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off. (Goodreads)
*I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
5/5 stars, hilarious. strong. witty.
I'm not sure where to even start with Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw. It was so incredibly witty and hilarious, featuring a strong, young voice that does not waiver even through heavy, emotional scenes. Scarlett had me laughing out loud, fighting back tears, and wishing this was its own television show (which would be very meta considering it starts with the end of Scarlett's favorite show).
Wow, there were so many things I liked about this book. First and foremost, I liked (read: LOVED) Scarlett as a narrator, writer, main character, fictitious teenager, etc. Her voice was strong, and when I say strong, I REALLY MEAN IT. Every page had something hilarious on it. Her wit was beyond measure. I knew some funny kids in my days of high school, but none on par with Scarlett. Also, her maturity and understanding of the world was exceptional. And she had values, AND STUCK WITH THEM. She didn't let her hormones get in the way. She didn't let being intoxicated fog her view of the problems at hand (I literally made a note while reading: DRUNK SCARLETT FOR PRESIDENT. EPSTEIN 2016!). I just loved her so much. I would have wanted to be her friend in high school.
So, besides Scarlett, the book was filled with other wonderful characters including, but not limited to: Dawn, Ruth, Avery, Ashley, Gideon, and Scarlett's online friends (That's basically the entire list of characters, without mentioning super-side-characters that Scarlett dismissed or disliked). This should be a good sign for you as a reader. The characters and their flaws were likable! Hooray! A book with a super likable main character, surrounded by other super likable side characters. It's almost like they're REALISTIC. Weird, huh?
The story was something I could relate to because, in middle school, I wrote Harry Potter fan-fiction. I understood fandom life to a certain extent, but as an adult now, I'm not as deeply invested as I was when I was younger. I'm not embarrassed, but we won't speak of this again. Never.
I could really go on for hours about how much I loved this book, citing certain scenes and bits of dialogue, but just trust me. Read this book.
The only thing I disliked was the formatting of the fanfic. There was some type of glitch in the e-ARC that will undoubtedly be fixed for the official print and digital releases, but it was really annoying. BUT this is my only complaint, which isn't really a complaint. So, let's celebrate a pretty perfect book!
Scarlett. Joan. Epstein.
Let's just say that I read a "sneak peek" of this book and immediately went out to pre-order it, SO YES. I highly recommend this.
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw will be published April 19, 2016.