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The Complete History of Why I Hate Her
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The Complete History of Why I Hate Her

3.9 8
by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

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Nola wants nothing more than a summer on her own—and a job at an upscale Maine coast resort sounds ideal. Waitressing three meals a day, but lots of beach time in between, some freedom from her big-sister role to Song, who is undergoing chemo back home in Massachusetts, the chance to make some friends. Enter Carly, the perfect pal, full of jokes, ideas, energy


Nola wants nothing more than a summer on her own—and a job at an upscale Maine coast resort sounds ideal. Waitressing three meals a day, but lots of beach time in between, some freedom from her big-sister role to Song, who is undergoing chemo back home in Massachusetts, the chance to make some friends. Enter Carly, the perfect pal, full of jokes, ideas, energy—and experienced at being away from her mysterious family. But Carly is much more complicated than the usual summer buddy—a border-line personality who can turn on Nola in a flash, who can make “love” a rivalry, something that, even at a distance, Song becomes ensnared in. Here is a dramatic look at a girl/girl teen dynamic. To say nothing of boys.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seventeen-year-old Nola Werth puts aside guilt about leaving her cancer-stricken younger sister at home as she boards a bus intent on having “a scrapbook teen experience in just one summer,” with a job waiting tables at a Maine resort. 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. Nola's first-person, present-tense narration is a bit too writerly to be believable: she describes herself as “thinly present”; she and her sister speak to each other in haiku throughout. And though Nola discusses her lack of confidence at length, she easily nails the lead in the end-of-the-summer play that is staged for the guests. Despite these minor flaws, 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. (Apr.)
VOYA - Bethany Martin
Looking for a summer free from the responsibilities of caring for her cancer-stricken younger sister, Nola takes a summer job as a waitress at a resort in Maine. Worried about fitting in with the other waitresses, Nola is thrilled when Carly, a girl who befriended her on the bus from Boston to Maine, is hired as a last-minute replacement waitress at the same resort. As the summer goes on, however, Carly becomes increasingly possessive of and competitive with Nola, leading Nola to question her own identity and values. Nola is a believable character. Her actions and reactions are credible and teens will relate to her simultaneous desire for independence and longing to be with her family. Her social insecurities and hesitations in an unfamiliar, sometimes difficult, situation will also be familiar to young adults. While Carly is the catalyst for much of the story's action, the book is told from Nola's point of view, leaving Carly's motivations less clear. Like the other supporting characters, Carly is not fully developed and serves only as a stepping-stone on Nola's path of self-discovery. The relationship between Nola and Carly simply ends; while this conclusion is realistic, it is abrupt and somewhat unsatisfying. Still, this slim volume is a good choice for reluctant readers and fans of stories about overcoming adversity. Reviewer: Bethany Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Seventeen-year old Nola wants a break, that's all, from the stress of living with her 13-year-old sister, Song, who has cancer, and a chance to be on her own. On the bus to Maine, where she'll spend the summer waitressing at an upscale resort, she meets Carly, who seems like an ideal BFF—upbeat, confident, adventurous. Unfortunately, Carly is also hypercritical and manipulative, and intent on taking over Nola's life. She reveals her intentions in subtle ways at first, such as copying Nola's hairstyle, persuading her to do things she doesn't want to do, and turning everything into a competition. Nola doesn't realize how dangerous her new friend is until Carly starts to correspond with Song and invites her to Maine. Luckily, Carly's spell over Nola is broken before someone is seriously hurt. This is a well-written story about finding yourself and staying true to that self, an important message for young adults.—Robyn Zaneski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Nola has always stood by her younger sister, Song-through surgery, chemotherapy, remission and the recurrence of Song's cancer-but, craving adventure and normalcy, she takes a summer job as a waitress at Rocky Cove, a swanky Maine resort. On the bus, she immediately bonds with spontaneous, gregarious Carly. When Carly abruptly replaces Nola's roommate Bridget, Nola is overjoyed, and the two girls spend the first half of the summer as an inseparable duo, known to all as "the Cannolis." As busy mealtimes in the dining room, lazy days at the beach and beer-soaked parties bleed together, Carly takes over Nola's life-copying her haircut, becoming pen pals with Song, flirting with the boy Nola likes-undermining Nola's confidence and sense of self all the while. During a surprise visit from Song, Carly precipitates a dangerous stunt, which prompts a major confrontation with 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. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Product Details

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Complete History of Why I Hate Her

By Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books

Copyright © 2010 Jennifer Richard Jacobson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780689878008

Chapter 1

Song is hanging on my arm, afraid I?m going to slip onto the bus and out of her life as quickly as I made the decision to go. I step back, allowing other passengers to board, trying to keep our good-bye upbeat, trying not to feel like the lousiest sister on the planet.

Those in line near us stare. We?re used to it. Song?s bald head and skinny body always produce curiosity and contorted, sympathetic expressions. We?re like a sappy Lifetime movie wherever we go.

Usually, I see faces of allies. Today I feel as if those faces are judging me.

?Please don?t hate me,? I say to Song.

?Of course she doesn?t hate you,? my mother says, stepping closer.

I keep my eyes locked on my little sister. It?s hard for our family to remember she?s thirteen. She?s been through more than most, and although she tries to portray a kick-ass attitude with her holey jeans and punk T-shirts, she still looks like a scrawny little kid.

She won?t look me in the eye. Instead, she launches into haiku?a language we?ve used since she learned the form in third grade:

?Off to a reserve
Anyone for lawn bowling?
I?ll stay here and puke?

She means ?resort,? but I don?t correct her. My reply:

?Hey, I?ll be working.
?Can I get you anything else??
Just a lowly wench?

We?ve had lots of practice turning onlookers into an audience. Makes it easier to deal. Especially today. Especially when saying good-bye seems impossible.

Song continues:

?Caviar and cake??

She stops herself, unable or unwilling to go on. And then she moves closer. ?Don?t forget your promise,? she whispers.

?Of course not,? I say.

She wraps her arms around me?more stronghold than hug.

I hold her for as long as I can take. Then I wiggle out, quickly kiss my mom, and climb onto the bus?picking up the free headphones, though my own are hanging around my neck. Don?t think, don?t think, don?t think, I repeat, sliding into a window seat.

A large woman follows, choosing the seat next to mine. I?ve barely plopped down before she starts packing garbage bags all around me. They?re stuffed with clothes, I hope.

?Visiting my brother in Brewer,? she says. ?No one would see him if I didn?t get on a bus once a year. You know??

I nod and tell her I?m going to Rocky Cove, Maine.

?Rocky Cove??

?Near Bucks Harbor,? I say.

?There?s nothing near Bucks Harbor, honey.?

Should I tell her about my job? Nah, I don?t have the energy. I look out the window to locate Mom and Song but catch a glimpse of my still-surprising reflection instead. I cut my hair off yesterday. Not like Song?I didn?t shave my head the way the seventh-grade boys did when they heard doctors had found another tumor. No, I waited until yesterday and then had my long hair cut into a short, crazy bob. I even said yes to red streaks.

?You don?t even look like you,? my mother cried.

Mission accomplished. Of course, if I?d had any sense, I would have waited until I got to Maine.

I lean back and glance at a girl about my age, with the long hair I used to have, across the aisle. She catches my eye and smiles.

I smile back.

The woman next to me pulls an open pack of Life Savers from her purse, flicks tobacco off the top one, and offers it to me.

?I?m good,? I say.

The girl giggles.

We share a roll of the eyes, and then I turn to the window. We?re pulling out of South Station. Good-bye, Boston. Mom is waving one arm, throwing kisses with the other.

Song bends her arm at the elbow and raises her hand as if she were taking an oath?or saying, Stop. My breath catches.

I want to yell, No, wait! and run off the bus and into the arms of my little sister, back into the family cocoon where everyone is waiting, dreading, watching with one eye open at all times. Ready to push back fear?to push back fear and doubt and ?

But I can?t. I need to say, Yes. Not yes to another round of Scrabble or yes to Halloween III again or yes to ?I?ll stay home tonight and make sure Song?s temp doesn?t spike,? but yes to?to what? A break.

That?s all. Just a break. Two and a half months to see what it would feel like to be, well, me.

Here?s what saying yes feels like. Like I?m a total coward and courageous at the same time.

?I know he has to work,? the woman continues. ?I don?t expect him to lose hours to pick me up.?

I place my hand on the glass and whisper as I?ve done a thousand times before, Be strong, Song.

Be fierce.

? 2010 Jennifer Richard Jacobson


Excerpted from The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of picture books, stories for beginning readers, and middle-grade novels. Stained is her first book written for young adults. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she attended Lesley College and Harvard Graduate School of Education. She lives in a cottage, built in 1802, in Maine.

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Complete History of Why I Hate Her 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt for TeensReadToo.com Nola wants to escape her home life. That basically means Song, her younger sister who is battling cancer. It's not that she doesn't love her sister or anything; Nola just wants to be able to live her own life without those constant worries. She heads off to a resort in Maine, and there she meets Carly. They become quick friends, and Carly seems like the perfect person to hang out with on a summer vacation. Nola will soon learn, though, that Carly can be rather twisted and isn't all that she seems. Carly is a bad influence. She lies and creates unnecessary drama. Nola thinks she can handle it, until Carly pushes her one time too many. I ended up really enjoying this book. Nola was a good character that I found easy to connect with. Even Song, her sister, was a spunky girl who was fun to hear about. The story picked up quickly, and I found that the pacing throughout the book was just right. I never grew bored with it. I liked the secondary characters, though we didn't hear much about them. I would have enjoyed learning more about the other characters and Nola's relationships with them. I felt the book was lacking in that area. However, 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book taught me a wonderful lesson about love, friends, and family. I realized that Carly was a very demanding friend and when she jumped off the ledge with Star, I was baling my eyes out. Especially when Star got really sick.
wtazmyname More than 1 year ago
ok i loved this book so much it also taught me a good lesson about love friendship and sisters i tell people about good books all the time if u want to know about other good one comment to me trust me ive got lots dont forget you must get this book ps this book made me scream at the butt face girl in this book i wont tell you her name
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i just got the book so dont ruin it for me!!!!!!:)
16yearoldbookgirl More than 1 year ago
it didnt suck but it wasnt amazing either