Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Complete History of Why I Hate Her, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Nola loves her little sister Song, but after years of worrying about Song's health (she has a brain tumor), Nola needs to get away and have some time for herself. She goes up to Maine to spend the summer waitressing, and immediately befriends Carly. At first, Carly seems the perfect antidote -- energetic, fun, resourceful -- and Carly is drawn in. But slowly, Carly reveals a possessive streak that borders on a pathology and her behavior becomes more and more threatening.
The story starts a bit slow and I was left wondering where it was actually heading, but once Carly's dark side started to appear, I got sucked in. What that tells me is that Carly was a much more interesting character than Nola. Evil is generally more enthralling and Carly has a lot of interesting stuff going on (and so much more that wasn't even discussed -- why is she the way she is?). Nola goes through some growth and re-bonds with her sister, but she's terribly passive and easily manipulated. It's hard to really care very much about her.