It’s rarely a good idea to read someone else’s diary. A journal may be meant for publication one day and thus the rough edges will be smoothed away to make it palatable for common viewing. But a diary contains all the mean ugliness that we don’t want anybody to see. Too bad nobody told that to Hailey Harper.
Jealous of an absent sister who’s always seemed perfect and getting separated from her only friend, Hailey is overjoyed to find her sister’s diary that gives tips on how to be cool. Okay, the title is called “How to Be a Hater” (which should send off some warning flags right there), but at first the advice seems good. Moreover, it works and Hailey finds herself accepted by the cool kids and on the cusp of being—gasp!—popular.
But then the story takes an unexpected turn. We expect Hailey to become one of the nasty-girl clique that is common in these books and thus become all the things she initially despised. But the author is too canny to fall into that obvious trap. Hailey rejects the cool kids in favor of someone who is quirky, fun, individualistic, snarky and smart. In short, someone who has more on her mind than whether to wear bangs or not.
There are some parts of the story that feel predictable—the cute boyfriend, a party invitation that seems suspect, a family on the verge of dissolution—but Ms. Crane plays with these common themes with a decided gift for dialogue and an ability to surprise. There are moments of laugh-out-loud humor, too. (Ms. Crane’s description of a bj gone wrong has to be read to be believed.)
However, I found myself feeling just a bit cheated. Hailey is supposed to be a talented artist. She is the creator of a comic strip called Abby Invisible that everybody praises. So where are the illustrations? The endpapers show a wordless comic based on Hailey’s experiences but the book itself is entirely devoid of them. All we get are black outlined stars around the chapter headings and snippets of lines from popular tunes.
What I wanted to see were the comic strips, the outlines of Abby Invisible inserted neatly into the story, especially since she bases some of the strip on various events that are happening around her. Maybe in future reprints, Ms. Crane can get hold of the illustrator Chuck Gonzales and persuade him to add more of his fabulous work to this novel.
Imagine having a rug pulled out forcefully from underneath your feet to reveal a bed of spikes or hot coals. This is exactly the feeling that I experienced when reaching the climax in Caprice Crane’s Confessions of a Hater. With the trials and tribulations of grade ten still somewhat fresh, and the ratios of “populars” to “invisibles” high in the real world, I can safely say that both I and majority of teens can connect to Hailey Harper.
The “invisible” Hailey has just moved to a fresh school in a fresh state (California), but this time she is armed with a secret weapon: her older and much more successful sister Noel’s diary titled “How to be a Hater”. Using these tools Hailey will reinvent her own image… as an image of utter popularity.
This novel has a very lovely take on the classic and staple Freytag’s pyramid. Without going into too much spoilerific details, the smaller conflicts are introduced and resolved quite fairly, but the largest ones all hit you like a train transporting anvils.
I will admit the creativity of the pranks enclosed in this novel (which no good children should ever partake in) make my dangerous past endeavors look like child’s play, but reading about the planning, details, and executions really made me feel like I was part of the group. Confessions of a Hater teaches the dangers of popularity, and the moral of “die a hero, or live long to become a villain.”
This is an excellent read for grade 11-12 teens, both genders (older audiences due to this book contains mature subject matter). I would also strongly recommend this to any highschooler who feels a little unpopular, segments of this book can be really motivational and uplifting. The style of Hailey’s persona is quick-witted and sharp, much like a teenager.
Before you do a prank, you have to be aware of the trouble you will receive for it.
I enjoyed Confessions of a Hater, but it wasn't my favorite read. I liked the humour in the novel and the underlying message on how bullying can effect and change lives. I also thought the ending was a surprise and I enjoyed that. However, I found the story lacking in originality for the most part (I couldn't help but think about the movie Mean Girls while reading this) and the main character Hailey could be annoying at times which knocked a few stars off. All in all Confessions of a Hater was a enjoyable read, but not a fantastic one. Still, I would recommend reading it if you get the chance.
meh. entertaining, but silly and unrealistic in my opinion. it had it's moments but overall...meh
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