Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review: The Complete History of Why I Hate Her

The Complete History of Why I Hate Her
Jennifer Richard Jacobsen
2010; Richard Jackson (Atheneum); ISBN 978-0-689-87800-8 (hardcover)

Summary: Nola is hoping that her summer plans will let her find herself. She'll be working as a waitress at a Maine resort, far away from her cancer-stricken sister Song. At first, Nola manages to make new friends and learn the ropes of waitressing. Her roommate Carly is a live wire, full of excitement and charisma. There's even a potential romance with Harrison, a counselor at a nearby camp. But slowly, Nola starts to see signs that Carly is not what she appears to be. And when Carly's actions risk the health of the visiting Song, Nola quickly discovers how to be herself.

A quick read that tackles two important kinds of relationships, Jacobson's story speaks to many teen readers. Carly's attempts to take over Nola's life start small but build into actions that can't be rationalized. Nola's relationship with Song is dense and complicated, like so many sisterly bonds. While the story could have been fleshed out more, to allow both a better understanding of Nola's quest as well as Carly's plan, it is still a tense read. Pass The Complete History of Why I Hate Her to reluctant readers or those not up for the harshness of Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are.

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