Friday, July 1, 2016

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

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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.

You know there’s going to be some spectacular silliness involved when three teenagers who have no clue what they’re doing decide that they should be a band. The crazy part comes when these new bandmates break free from jazz camp to make it on their own. No plans. No phones. No particular destination. Not even a band name. No problem! Yep, this is going to be hilarious!

Wes and Corey have been friends for ages and they get each other. Both are socially awkward trying to fit in and yet not fit in at camp. Then the enigma that is Ash shows up. She literally plays to her own tune and the boys can’t help but be taken with her. In fact, she brings a certain level of decorum that's lacking between the boys who enjoy regularly resorting to immature jokes. Believe me, there's plenty of it! Ash ends up being the ringleader who suggests forming the band and the ensuing summer tour. I did find the threesome’s dynamic to be genuine. Their conversations are ridiculous as are the many situations they find themselves in. Case in point: one of their first gigs (and a painful one at that) is at a Chinese buffet. Very entertaining and on par with what this trio is about. 

The entire story is told from Wes’ perspective. He’s charming though I found my patience tested a few times as he tends to ramble on until he finally gets to the point. Other than that, The Haters is an amusing read. And if you're a music aficionado, you’ll be especially entertained by the many discussions about various bands and their merits. Just forgive Wes and Corey for being a bit uncouth at times ;)

~ Bel

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