Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Title: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Author: Anna Breslaw
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: April 19th, 2016
Pages: 288 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor. 

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

Scarlett isn't the ideal student, she isn't what most would consider the perfect daughter, and she certainly doesn't fit into the popular group at school.  Who is Scarlett Epstein, anyway?  On Tumblr, she's known best as Scarface, a fanfiction author in the Lycanthrope High online community.  These are the people who know her the best-- faceless, nameless fans of the same tv show she's been watching religiously for years...until one day it gets cancelled.  Scarlett is forced into the real world and is surprised to find that high school can be just as interesting as the life she dreamed up.

Anna Breslaw has created a character I can really relate to, and I loved the story because of it.  Scarlett found her passion for writing when she dove headfirst into the world of fanfiction, just as I did when I was a young teen.  She began to find inspiration within her daily life and the people who surrounded her.  Her snarky sense of humor was one of my favorite qualities, making me laugh out loud numerous times over the course of reading this book.

Unfortunately, I didn't fall in love with every character in this story, as Scarlett's best friend was mostly absent, the love interest wasn't very appealing, and I was hoping to see more support from the family, since a typical teenage social life was absent.  The only relationship I really enjoyed was the one between Scarlett and her neighbor, Ruth.  Ruth was a calm, omniscient old woman who took each day at a time.  Scarlett would help her with her garden and listen to stories of her youth, asking advice whenever she needed it.   Many times Scarlett had no one to turn to, Ruth was there.

Another thing I could have probably done without or with less of, was actually getting to see Scarlett's fanfiction.  Although that is a huge factor of what this book is about, I enjoyed reading about her real life more than the one she created online, so whenever parts of her writing popped up, I would speed-read through it just to get back to seeing how she'll actually deal with the situations she gets herself into.  I would have liked to see Scarlett's relationships develop a little more with some of the other characters, such as her love interest, best friend, and family, but overall, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here was a book that I could see myself reading over and over again just for the laughs.

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