While this is a really funny book with characters who feel like honest, awkward individuals, it is probably the most inappropriate book I’ve read in a long time. Sex, particularly awkward sex, is the source of most of the humor. This is pretty much an American Pie movie with jazz camp instead of band camp and a road trip element. I wasn’t sure there was enough depth to justify the presentation, but I laughed a lot. I gave it three stars.
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.
I think it will be approximately five minutes before The Haters gets itself banned from most school libraries. I have to ask myself if that is such a bad thing. I’m usually a big advocate of Live and Let Read, but it is hard to defend a book that has no real discernible message to balance out the raunch. Don’t get me wrong, I thought there were some entertaining moments, and if I could eat dinner with Charlize, I’d be there in a heartbeat. However, the characters in this book didn’t really seem to get much out of the experience except for coming away a little less pretentious about music. There was a very hard to follow patch of plot involving drugs, a house full of randoms, and some garbled dialogue. Otherwise, it is a fairly easy read. The addition of lists and strange diversions from the original story were innovative and amusing, but sometimes they ran on a little too long. I thought they were a pretty good way to illustrate the group’s conversations without tons of dialogue. I loved the scorpion car and the gentlemanly toilet episode. I honestly can’t see how anyone could say it isn’t funny, but as a teacher, I can think of a million people who will say it is definitely inappropriate. Honestly, the people who would most enjoy this book – the target audience – aren’t the people I would feel comfortable handing this book to with a glowing recommendation. It would probably freak them out. Language and graphic sexual situations definitely make this read best suited for a mature reader who isn’t faint of heart. Interest level, though . . . I’m thinking fifteen year old guys.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalkey in exchange for an honest review.