Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
by Anna Breslaw
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.
An outsider at school but a sure-fire hit in the online world. Scarlett Epstein wrote fanfiction stories and her love for the TV show, Lycantrophe High made her life bearable, until the show got cancelled. She’s got a friend in Avery, who happened to be her life long nemesis’ sister, Ashley, who seemed to be dating her long time crush, Gideon. Talk about bizarre love triangle, eh? Added to the mix is the 73-year old woman Ruth who smoked weed and acted strangely strange.
There’s a major reason why Scarlett Epstein hates it here, like the book’s title implies. I mean, she hates the outside world, specifically high school. As once an introvert like she is, I could feel this girls pain and suffering through her unspoken thoughts. But most of the time, I feel butterflies in my stomach whenever she talked and expressed her feelings. She’s full of snark and sarcasm, she’s a bit crazy bordering to mental when dealing with Ruth, she’s fastidious when it came to her fangirl crazy fandom world, but she’s good and definitely hilarious. Her relationship with her mom wasn’t appealing, and Gideon’s treatment with her was appaling, but this girl, Scarlett Epstein could not be moved. And so should you.
I enjoyed every bit of Scarlet’s narrative. She’s so real to me, it’s like I feel her sitting beside me, blabbing about this thing called life. I can totally relate with her fanfiction/fangirling identity. I should know, because I am also one. (I belong to a fandom, I visit forums and create my own unique online persona and create fanfics which only a few people get to read, stalking social media sites and posting comments and POVs.. Yes, that’s the life of a fangirl. y’all) .
But Scarlett Epstein is more than that. She’s deeply rooted, an antihero, a dark horse. Author Anna Breslaw’s writing is sharp, sparkling and scintillating. Not many could appreciate fanfiction references (read: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell), but me, I am all for it. I easily lost myself in that world she built. I hope she’ll write more books soon.
BTW, I loved the book cover so much, I thought it’s so pretty!
NOTE: I received this book from Penguin Group via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.