by Jesse Andrews
Allen & Unwin
Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.
For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.
In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.
The Haters is a quirky book about a road trip, two sexually frustrated boys and how the love of music seems to make everything better. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride even funnier as Me & Earl and the Dying but definitely not as emotional.
This book is all about three people who both love music but aren’t conventionally good at their chosen instruments – pretty much me with the violin. Wes with the bass, Corey on the drums and their new-found and free spirited friend, Ash on lead guitar – all together this trio band together with only their instruments, some essentials and a car on their very first band tour!
I have to say this book was WEIRD.
It did make me uncomfortable in parts when Wes and Corey are constantly making jokes about doing harm to their dicks and when Corey seems to be both mentally and emotionally unstable. Because he is either drunk, being a loner or just. . . straaaange.
Truthfully, none of the characters are particularly likeable.
But I think that’s why the book was so interesting. They were very real and when you begin to see their redeeming qualities come through, you begin to attach to them. Especially, when you learn that Wes is adopted, Corey had helicopter parents and Ash comes from a superbly rich and self-centred family (kind of like the Kardashians). Each character has a special background which somehow explains why they are who they are. But overall, Wes was still my favourite character. I admired his calmness and how he literally pulls the band together, telling them to shut up and stop being idiot jerks and just play music. It’s great, he’s like the mum of the group. We travel with the group as they meet other cool bands, have jacuzzi adventures and play in various places – one of them in the house of a dysfunctional family.
The music in this book is just fabulous.
Let’s just say, I am in love with The Shins now. THANK YOU JESSE ANDREWS FOR INTRODUCING ME TO THE SHINS!
By the way, they have a song called ‘Australia,’ so pffft, of course, they’re awesome.
Overall, a super weird but interesting read about a bunch of teenagers who have no idea what they want to to do with their lives but somehow their love of music makes up for all of it. I did find the ending disappointing and anti-climatic but that was because that would be what would actually happen in real like after such a rebellious road trip.