DNF: The Haters by Jesse Andrews
The Haters
by Jesse Andrews
Published by Amulet Books
on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, YA, Young Adult
Pages: 352

From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.

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.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.

I received a copy of this book for review, this does not influence my thoughts on this book or my review.

DNF at 32%.

I just cared very little about these characters, I’m was not invested in their story at all. I found the love interest (or the one female character, depending on how you look at it) to be sort of a manic pixie dream girl. I’m not going to call her completely this trope as far as I’ve read, there is not a romance between her and the main character (other than the main character liking her of course). But she appears in the main character’s lives only to magically improve their band (after their first gig, they see that it isn’t the case at all) and she’s super rich providing them all the funding they could ever want so they can travel irresponsibly around the country and play bad gigs! She also appears very mysterious and refuses to talk about herself until after the characters are already out on the road with her (running away from camp and their responsibilities). She also states that she at one point, thought she may be gay as she hates guys but then realizes that she doesn’t like girls either. I thought this may lead to a discussion of asexuality or something along that spectrum but of course this was quickly disproved later. I found that particular bit annoying as her sexuality is clearly framed as something mysterious and alluring, much like herself, which is unnecessary. This DNF is mostly because of my own feelings, but I particularly gave up when the main character gets mad at his best friend and calls him a tampon, because there’s clearly nothing worse than being a woman’s menstrual product hooray! ~~jazz hands~~

I will say that the writing style was interesting, as the dialogue was set up in a captioned sort of way, eg.
WES: Dialogue
Inner naration.
WES: Blabbers on again

but that alone wasn’t enough to grab my attention.

I loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and I was excited for this latest release but I think I’m just not in the mood to read this. I think if you liked his first novel, you will enjoy this one. It just wasn’t my thing.

shelly sig

6 thoughts on “DNF: The Haters by Jesse Andrews”

  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry that this book didn’t work out for you, Shelly, but not being investing in characters is a toughie. That’s why I DNF the majority of the books I DNF. I hope your next read it better. 🙂

    I’ve been anticipating this book for such a long time, especially because I loved Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I think a lot of people are saying that they don’t like Jesse’s humor, but I didn’t mind it, so I might go ahead and read this book.
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