I’ll admit that I still haven’t read Andrews’ Me & Earl and the Dying Girl, but I adore the movie and screenwriting, so I went in to The Haters with high expectations. I wanted to be in love. And I was, for the first half. The depictions of teenage jazz-poseurs, the male friendships, the subdued awkwardness…I fell hard for it all. And while I enjoyed the tumultuous and realistic nature of relationships throughout, the plot just got weird for me.
Throughout, I struggled to locate a feeling of something driving the story, which then usually leads me to look for character/relationship development instead, but that seemed lacking as well; everyone stays pretty stagnant. Wes, the main character, changes a bit, but not much, and overall I just wanted more from the whole book. I’m fine with sophomore novels not being exactly what we expect after a smash-hit first, but I really felt like ultimately The Haters felt flat.
That said, the first third to half of the novel is dynamic and has some hilarious moments, and I loved it. If the whole book had been written that well, this would have been close to a five-star book for me.
Sweary, and a fair amount of teenage sexuality and mild drug use. 2.5 stars.