Review of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

To be published on April 19, 2016
by Razorbill

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 pot-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. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them...until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett's stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

Review of Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here

So. This book is definitely funny. And a lot of people on my Goodreads feed have loved it. It did have its good points, but overall I wanted more.

On the plus side, Scarlett is a fun main character - snarky and observant. A lot of the book feels like a stand-up routine as Scarlett narrates life at her suburban NJ high school. My favorite scene was Scarlett attending her father's book party in New York. That scene reminded me of the Whitney-Noah father-daughter relationship on The Affair.

On the less positive side for me, this book felt a bit all over the place. As the synopsis says, Scarlett is devastated when favorite TV show (some werewolf thing that would have been on the WB in the late 1990s or early 2000s) ends abruptly.  Like Fangirl, this book includes Scarlett's fanfic about the show, and also Scarlett's message board conversations with her fellow fanfic writer community. Then there are Scarlett's friendships and her love life and some family stuff about Scarlett's divorced parents.

I really wanted a stronger plotline. I thought there were some great emotional moments that were just kind of thrown in amidst all the wisecracking. And there were themes in here that were just dangling around and could have been tied together to create a greater sense of resonance. But that's just me - I want to pretty things up and make them tie together.

If you love really funny, wise-cracking books, if you like reading fanfic (confession: I skimmed all those parts in this book and in Fangirl) and if you don't mind books without much of a plot ... go for it. If any of these things concern you, you might want to read a few chapters before committing.

If you could use a laugh, this book will be up for grabs this Friday, so stop by!


  1. I totally skimmed the fan fic parts in Fangirl!! This sounds cute and I love a funny book. Will probably still check it out even with the issues. Great review!

  2. Light and fun is exactly what I need right now, so yes. I think I'll enjoy this one. :)

  3. I sometimes like books that just make me laugh but the story seems to be tackling too many things. and I've never really read Fangirl so that even made me unsure about this. It sucks but this might not be for me..

  4. This sounds light and fun with the fanfic part. I can only imagine the chaos, lol, those letters caused :)

  5. Well color me surprised - I'm not the only one who skimmed all the Simon Snow fanfic in Fangirl. LOL I'm sure it's considered heresy by diehard Fangirl lovers, but I actually felt the story could have been stronger without it. And more enjoyable for me. So with the inclusion of fanfic in this one, and the lack of a stronger plotline, I imagine I'll give this one a pass. Even though it sounds cute and funny. :)

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  6. I'm not into fanfic storylines either so this doesn't sound like something I would enjoy.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  7. I love books like this. Maybe I'll have a better reaction to it than you did. It's good that you like the main character. Great review!

  8. So I want to?? But I don't??? XD I skimmed ALL those parts in Fangirl too! I just don't like stories that are mixed up with other stories? (Which is weird because I adored Carry On by itself...just not in addition to Fangirl. hehe.) And I do prefer books with more of a solid it's like on my "tentative want to read" list. xD

  9. Love the review, though I don't feel particularly drawn to the book. I seem to have developed an aversion to fluff, lol :D

  10. Oh, I loved Fangirl, but if I decide to read this I think I'll skip all those parts because they make me slow. I might need something funny right now, though.
    Great review, Jen!


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