The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Antheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Nola wants nothing more than to escape for the summer. Escape her life in Boston and escape her life with her younger sister, Song, who’s battling cancer. Nola decides the best way to make that escape is to take a waitressing job at Rocky Cove Inn, an upscale resort on the Maine coast (I think I would take a job there!).
It’s not like Nola doesn’t love her sister, it’s just that she wants to have a chance to live her life by her own rules. She wants to make her own choices and make them without having to worry about Song or about hospitals or anything other than herself.
So Nola heads off to the Maine coast, and on her journey she meets Carly. Carly is the perfect companion, she’s fun, energetic, spontaneous, and full of ideas (who wouldn’t want a friend like that?). Nola and Carly become fast friends, and start spending all kinds of time together. But Nola soon finds that Carly isn’t at all who she seems.
Carly turns out to be more complex than Nola originally thought, and not in a good way. Carly shows a different side, a more twisted side that seems to turn on Nola in the blink of an eye. She turns everything into a rivalry, from their time together to romantic interests, she causes drama where there shouldn’t be any, and while her actions can be subtle, they’re strong. At first Nola thinks she can handle it, but soon she finds that handling Carly isn’t going to be that simple, or even forgettable.
At first I was a bit wary of this book because I had heard some not so great things about it, but I figured its short (it’s under 200 pages) and so it wouldn’t take that long to read. But I’m actually glad I read it.
I think it was a bit lacking in character development, but there’s a reason for that. It would have super hard for Nola to lose herself to Carly if either one had actually been strong characters. You can’t steal someone’s personality if they already have a strong sense of self. But I for one, thought I had a pretty good sense of who Nola was, even if she didn’t.
But I’m not saying that there wasn’t any character depth at all or anything. Nola was a sweet, hard-working, sensible girl, who just wanted to break out of her life and her shell and make her own choices for once. It was sometimes hard to see such a character fall prey to Carly’s charm.
Along the way we meet a cast of pretty interesting supporting characters. None of them are very established, but you do get to meet a few that are quite endearing. I would have liked to see more from Annie, Kevin, and Nigel especially, but I don’t really think they were supposed to be very prominent.
The Complete History of Why I Hate Her (wow, it’s a mouth full!), is a pretty good story of friendship, family, and finding yourself. It touches on quite a few issues, even if only for a moment and that saved it for me. I don’t think it’s a great story because there could have been more to it, but I think it’s definitely a good story that deserves a shot.
I received this book as part of Around the World Tours.