Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw

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5/5 stars

Just wow! I had no idea this was going to be one of those reads that would seriously leave a mark on me. Something so life affirming, so socially relevant and significant, so realistic and relatable, so educational and also uplifting, I swear I shed a few tears even though the entire narrative is hilarious as heck. It was really so unexpected. I mean, this is no Tuesday’s with Morrie, alright as Ruth would say, but for me it’s even better.

Because it’s not only about a story between a student learning about life from a professor, it’s also about a young girl trying to navigate the world of high school which is so foreign, so alien to her, she couldn’t seem to understand why she’s having such a hard time fitting in. It’s only when she’s chatting with her friends online talking about their favorite show and writing “fix it” fanfics that Scarlett is truly herself.

In real life, she only has two friends. Fellow teenager, Math Geek, (Avery) and a hipster, 73-year-old a retired professor on feminist literature (Ruth) from whom I learned so much. I wish I had a professor like her back in college. Just a few of the wisdom (even though she didn’t want to call it wisdom) that Ruth imparted:

“It’s amazing how the more you read, the less you know.”

“You’re sixteen. By the time you’re twenty-one, they’ll expect you to be a real person. This is your asshole window. It’s wide open.”

“Kiddo, your life started the minute you put pen to paper.”

“But maybe the most valuable thing Ruth taught me is the importance of trying to understand people who are different from you, even though it’s so much harder than writing them off, because it might make you admit something to yourself that’s painful. “ 

The story was like a collaboration amongst my recent favorite contemporary writers. Holly Bourne‘s liberal take on feminism, add in Julie Buxbaum ‘s and Krystal Sutherland’s relatable approach on social anxiety and social constructs in general, then put together all three’s humor and on the spot contemporary references including Harry Potter references and voila! You have Anna Breslaw’s Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here and I honestly loved it. I enjoyed every bit of it, the messy relationships, even Scarlett’s fanfic that has a concrete plot of its own.

I know now Goodreads average rating cannot always be trusted. 😉

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5 comments

  1. I remember reading this book back in 2016 ( https://bit.ly/2rkQyM1 ) and strange old grandma Ruth really appealed to me and was pleased with her whenever she was with Scarlett. I loved being in their fanfiction world and I felt so much inclination with Scarlett’s introvert tendencies in school. I love love love your review, AJ, makes me want to read the book again!

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