The Haters by Jesse Andrews tells the story of a teenager who goes on an often humorous road trip with his best friend and a girl they just met .
If you’re familiar with Jesse Andrews’ previous book, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, then you might be excited about The Haters. I had not read any of Jesse’s previous books, but after reading this one, I wouldn’t mind reading more of his stories in the future. As with any new book from an author I’m not familiar with, I get excited yet trepidatious about what I’m in for.
Fortunately for me, I found the road-trip story of Wes, Corey and their new-found female friend Ash, to be hilarious and and fairly relatable when it comes to feeling out of place or just mediocre compared to everyone else. Which is to say that I believe every teen in the U.S. can relate to this story.
What’s unique about this story is the way that Wes, Corey, and Ash play the cards they’re dealt. Wes, the narrator of the story, and his best friend Corey go to jazz camp to spend three weeks working on the music they love and aspire to play fluidly. However, Wes and Corey soon realize jazz camp isn’t exactly what they expected it to be. They’re placed into the Gene Krupa group, which is considered the least talented group of performers in the camp. And although they regret ever going, they’re soon met with the only girl at the camp, Ash. The three connect, and a mishap at the camp prompts Ash to suggest they go on an impromptu tour, finding places to play and to basically “get good.”
Despite Wes’s concern about just taking off, especially without cell phones, he goes along with this plan. Because who wouldn’t, right? Especially if there’s a girl involved.
And the tour begins. During the tour, we get to find out more about each of the characters, and how they react to the situations they go through during the tour. There are hilarious moments that Wes finds himself in, as well as the other two, and though the situations can be either scary or really interesting or even sexually enlightening, there’s something really thoughtful in each of them.
Wes especially becomes self-aware of the situation they put themselves in, but not without consequences to their actions. Whether it be bringing his bromance with Corey to a breaking point or destroying any chance he has with Ash, we start to understand Wes and why he thinks he can do anything he wants.
Seeing through to the end of Wes, Corey, and Ash’s crazy, soul-seeking, thought-provoking and hilarious little adventure was both a satisfying and fun read. But it was also something that reaches and connects to every one of us that gives it a feeling of reality that not all books can give.
I can’t say that my home life was in any way similar to any of these characters, but I still felt like I understood them and I understood why they did what they did. Their decisions and their actions were not necessarily right, nor were they completely wrong, but the circumstances for them helped reveal themselves to each other and brought them together in a way that they wouldn’t connect otherwise.
Andrews brings in realistic emotions even if the situations were not that realistic. But something makes me think that the author has been through some of these situations before, or he at least has been through something similar to what these Haters go through.
I really enjoyed experiencing the the misadventure that they teens go through, as these characters felt very real and human. I laughed quite a good amount of times (especially Wes gives a run down of songs from his favorite band,) and hurt for them at other times, too. I admit, I was even frustrated with them, as we often do get with friends. But I appreciated them and appreciated Wes for sharing his story.
I think my only concern with the book is in the way that the author likes to display the thoughts going through Wes’s mind by continuously writing in run-on sentences. I understand that specific grammatical error done on purpose gives you an idea of how Wes’s mind works, but at the same time, I feel that other readers may think this is a literary trope that can and should be used often. For me, it is not a trend I’d want to see often. Fortunately, it works okay for this book. I just hope I don’t see it again in his next book.
The Haters was published on April 5, 2016 and is available in bookstores now. You can order your copy on Amazon.