People can hate on pretty much anything. Music, movies, books, other people, games, sports, colors, animals, recipes, online personality quizzes, pretty much anything. But, one thing that’s difficult to hate on is The Haters by Jesse Andrews.
The Haters follows three teens who meet at jazz camp, Wes, Cory, and Ash, as they travel the American South on the music tour to end all tours. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s realistic, and it’s funny.
I did say that it’s difficult to hate on this book, but not impossible. One of it’s strongest aspects is also its most hate-able. Wes’s voice—the POV Andrews has chosen—is just as conversational and comedic as Greg’s voice in Andrew’s previous novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. But, this isn’t a bad thing. Both voices are great and funny and easy to listen to. It’s just easy to hate on.
And it’s tricky, too. If I hadn’t read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before I read The Haters, I wouldn’t be hating on the similar voices. (But also, on the flip-side of that, if I hadn’t read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl first, I probably wouldn’t have even read The Haters.) I loved both books. I loved the voices. I loved the plots and the storylines and the quirkiness of the characters and everything. These books were great. But they’re voices were basically the same—which, after hearing Andrews speak at an event on The Haters’ “book birthday”, makes sense because they sound just like Andrews’ does. Greg and Wes seem almost interchangeable.
But I digress. I don’t want to hate on this book. (Maybe it’s just the book rubbing off on me?)
This book is a fun, light-hearted book, but also carries with it a lot of heavy topics surrounding friendship and identity. These three highly-relatable and realistic teens meet each other at Jazz Camp and, out of a shared hatred for the camp on its first day, decide to just leave and go on tour together. They start out as individuals, but by the end, they’re a group. It’s amazing to watch them grow and learn and form such a strong friendship despite the numerous hurdles that they have to overcome—and trust me, there are a lot of them.
Andrews, in both of his books, has done an impeccable job at giving the reader a realistic story that doesn’t always meet expectations. His books aren’t fairy tales and his characters don’t always win, but that’s life. The Haters is not a book where everything goes well, but that just makes the story even better. The hero doesn’t always have to win in order to have a compelling story.
And a compelling story this is. Even though it’s easy to hate on it, The Haters brings forth an epic adventure fit for the 21st century. You can be as nit-picky as you want (I certainly was), but that doesn’t stop this story from being great. Hate on it all you want, but you’re still going to love it.