Monday, December 27, 2010
Review of The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
In the summer before her senior year, Nola decides to take a summer job as a waitress at a Rocky Cove, a resort in Maine. Her sister, Song, is dealing with cancer, and while it is affecting the entire family, Nola is taking the brunt of the ordeal. While traveling on the bus to Maine, Nola meets Carly, who eventually becomes Nola’s roommate at the camp. While the girls bond quickly, Nola comes to realize that Carly is quite adept at manipulating and controlling people. When this character flaw begins to involve Song, Nola has to figure out how to release Carly’s hold on her and her sister.
While this book began slowly, the pace picked up around the middle and quickly sped to the end. The way that Nola allowed herself to have her identity nearly stolen by Carly was, at times, frightening. At one point, the two girls are so close that the other staff members referred to them as “The Cannolis”, a combination of Carly and Nola’s names.
Nola and her sister, Song, often create haiku for each other and also include them in their letters to one another in the summer. Carly picks up on this, and begins doing it, as well. The veiled implication that Carly has a mental disorder is never really brought out, but it soon becomes obvious that she needs to always be the center of attention, stealing others’ friends and even others’ ideas.
Girls will enjoy the book for its summer romances and friendships. I recommend this book for upper middle school, high school, and public libraries.