The Complete History of Why I Hate Her
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
ISBN: 0689878001 2010
Nominated for ALA Quick Picks
Nola wants nothing more than a summer of her own–and a job at an upscale Maine coast resort sounds ideal. She'll have plenty of beach time between waitressing, some freedom from stresses back home, and the chance to make new friends. Enter Carly, the the perfect pal: full of jokes, ideas, energy–and experienced at being away from her mysterious family. but Carly turns out to be much more complicated than the standard summer buddy–her borderline personality can turn on Nola in a flash, and even love becomes a rivalry. As the girls' instant friendship unhinges by subtle, increasingly powerful turns, the commonplace becomes dramatic–and the outcome unforgettable.
"An elegantly written and brutally realistic horror novel about a teenage girl's worst nightmare. Jacobson is spot-on with Carly's insidious terror campaign against Nola."
"Carly is ultimately a pitiable figure, and Jacobson’s gradual reveal, through Nola’s first-person, present-tense narration, of the fun, then the danger, of this classic frenemy’s borderline personality disorder is deliciously, palpably tense."
"A compelling story of self-discovery with plenty of insights into the motivations that drive relationships."
"Sarah Dessen fans seem the natural audience for what ensues: two months of learning about boys, friends, and where to place the fish fork. Friction is provided in the form of Carly, a girl Nola meets on the bus who quickly worms her way into a job at the same hotel and becomes Nola's roommate . . . The story has undeniable appeal, in large part because of the tension provided by Carly, who may or may not be a psychopath." Ages 12–up
– Publishers Weekly
Comments from Bloggers:
"I read this book in about a day – the events move quickly and you are constantly learning new things about the characters, so when I was away from the book it felt like it was trying to pull me back in."
"Carly begins to take on things that make Nola…Nola. She wants to run, she wears Nola's clothes, she cuts her hair exactly like her, she contacts Nola's dying sister. Pretty damn creepy if you ask me! There's a huge blowup at the end courtesy of Carly and Nola is forced to make some hard choices . . . Hopefully there's a part two! "
"Wonderful story that is easy to relate to. Explores the dramas of teenage friendships with truth. This is one of the best portrayals of "frenemies" I've ever seen, all without being a fluff book."
– The Book Owl
" . . .THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF WHY I HATE HER is an awesome book that portrays just what a “frenemy" really is. The dramas of teenage relationships are explored truthfully, and I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, emotional read."
Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book
Jocelyn has two boys in her life. And a priest.
Gabe has shared fourteen years of growing up next door. He’s a "golden boy, an all-star". Yet now, in the spring of 1975, he’s missing, disappeared on the brink of senior year at Weaver High. The whole town is set to go searching for him.
Benny has only been in New Hampshire since January, yet for Joss, he’s the answer to a long held prayer to be someone in somebody’s eyes. She loves them both.
Father Warren – hair turning white and "kind of cool in his black clothes" – is a link between the three of them. Or a wedge. Or a threat. For Joss, the priest holds power over her sense of herself; for Benny, power over his soul; for Gabe, so mysterious and alluring, he holds the power of destiny.
In a story shot with suspense, these four characters, and the lives of others they’ve touched in their small town, intermingle with unforgettable force.
* "Jacobson traces complex issues with a gentle hand, demonstrating respect and empathy for her three adolescent characters. The discovery that Father Warren is sexually abusing Gabe is not played for dramatic punch but as a means for personal growth. Jocelyn’s maturity and strength are believably earned; her voice is honest and compelling"
* "It’s no small achievement to make a story set 30 years ago feel immediate, nor is it easy to take a ripped-from-the-headlines topic and deliver it without sensationalism. In a triumphant ending, Joss comes to some important realizations and makes a bold decision to take action-a move that puts this girl with the "stained soul" squarely on the side of the angels. The enticing cover art will draw in teens; the story will hook them."
* "Jacobson’s admirable first work for young adults is one which controversial topics are delicately handled. The final message is one of hope and salvation after a shocking secret vindicates Joss. Provocative – and timely"
From the very beginning, well-drawn and subtle suspense grinds away at the reader. As chapter follows chapter, we just can’t shake that feeling of impending doom. Jennifer Richard Jacobson’s novel is multilayered — with elements of romance, mystery/suspense, family relationships, and friendships. At the very heart of the book lies the question of faith — religious faith, and also self-faith. I highly recommend this thought-provoking and beautifully written novel.
While the external search in the book is for the missing Gabe, the true search in the book is Joss searching for herself. What is daring about this book is not that it includes the issue of abuse by a Catholic priest; what is daring is that it shows a girl struggling towards autonomy. Jacobson is willing to have her main character be weak and passive because of fear and shame. What is brilliant is how Joss grows, and how she confronts fear and shame and takes action. I have to share this line: "It’s been good to realize that even when I can’t see my reflection in Benny’s eyes, I still exist."