My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

ARC Review: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

Please Note:  I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also, I get a small fee if you buy the book through the link at the bottom of the review.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We're still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

The first year of life after high school is one of the most transformative times of our lives.  This novel, by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin, captures the many changes and realizations of college.  It also is a wonderful look at friendships and how they may, or may not, survive.  This was a very enjoyable book with a unique format, interesting characters, and heartbreaking firsts.

What I Liked:
Unique Format:
This book is told completely with emails and texts between the two characters.  I was very curious as to how this would play out, and it was actually very satisfying.  Emails, and especially texts, are how teens communicate with each other (I don't know any teen who enjoys talking on the phone anymore).  So, even though this format may seem gimmicky, it realistically shows how young adults interact in relationships.

Ava is a teen dealing with issues of anxiety and depression.  Gen has been her lifeline in high school, so she is floored that her best friend has decided to go to college on the east coast.  So it is mostly Ava who is texting Gen to get advice and keep in touch in the friendship.  While Ava is rather needy, she puts up with a lot from Gen, who seems to change overnight (in Ava's eyes).

Gen has finally broken free of her dysfunctional family and is out on her own at college.  This is a big year for Gen, as she comes out as bisexual.  Along with her new taste of freedom, she has become somewhat wild, partying non-stop.  Will she remember to actually go to class?  I think many teens will relate to this scenario.

Other characters are presented through the filters of Ava and Gen.  So it may be challenging to get a complete picture of who they are.  But this just shows how smart the writing is for this book.  It doesn't take too much time for the authors to convey that Ava is stuck on an obnoxious frat boy, and some of Gen's new, older, friends are manipulative.

First Experiences:
Despite the limitations of emails and texts, the story shows many of the big firsts of young adult life: first sexual experiences, first relationships, and the first time one must accept responsibility for one's actions.  I think the book also subtly hints that both Ava and Gen have led rather sheltered, entitled lives.  It is a year of big shocks, revelations and consequences for both of these two young women.

What I Was Mixed About:
Although I liked Gen, I don't think she was a very good friend to Ava.  Oftentimes, she seems annoyed with Ava's texts, and will choose to ignore her, instead of valuing Ava's opinion.  I felt terrible for Ava.   

Missed Opportunity:
There was also a subtle inference to Gen having a problem with alcohol (her own father being and alcoholic).  I wish the authors would have explored this topic further.  Gen seemed to be in need of an intervention, and it would have been good to see her face how she was was abusing alcohol and drugs.



Release Date:  September 5th, 2017

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Publisher:  Wednesday Books

Length:  352 pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  An entertaining look  at friendships, with a unique format.
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  1. I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one but I may still give it a shot. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it even though you had a few issues with it. I think it would bother me too that they kind of gloss over Gen's alcohol/drug abuse issues too. Great review!

  2. This is one I have been really wanting to read. I love epistolary format, and I am glad to hear that you found a lot of the book positive.

  3. I do really enjoy books told in a unique way. This sounds pretty good and I am happy to hear that you found a lot of positives in the story.

  4. I am really interested in this one I love the format of txts and emails it's one of my fave ways to read a book. Great review.


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