August 23, 2017

TTYL, BFF • I Hate Everyone But You

Ava and Gen are best friends heading off to their first semesters at their separate colleges, Ava remaining behind on the West Coast while Gen starts fresh on the East Coast. They keep in touch via email and text, and from friendship shenanigans, school woes, romantic entanglements, mental health and moments of self-discovery, these two BFFs are about to find out if their friendship will stand the test of distance, time and self-growth.

I Hate Everyone But You book cover
Plot? It's about two best friends who are navigating their first year of college, mental health, sexuality and a long distance friendship. And yes, there were relatable, well-done moments, particularly experiences that come with being a college freshman - navigating a new campus, figuring out how to manage social vs. academic life if you're living away from home, forging new relationships, exploring new things in all aspects of your life, trying to maintain friendships with people who you no longer see on a regular basis.

Characters? This aspect is honestly where I felt the novel fell flat. I just didn't click with either Ava or Gen on any level, which was rather unfortunate considering that the entirety of this story centers around both of their experiences away at school (as recounted to each other). I felt like both characters had the potential to be relatable. But they felt a little too much like caricatures of real people, to me, that is, so I just genuinely ended up not feeling any sort of connection whatsoever.

Writing? I enjoyed the alternative format that the authors employed for their storytelling, as they only used text messages and emails at all times. It's a nice nod to how many of us keep in touch with the friends we made who may not necessarily live near enough to physically hang out with in this day and age. Despite the fact that it certainly limited the reader's knowledge of either girl (which may be where my lack of connection stems from, now that I think about it), it still felt like a good way to tell this sort of tale. (One other thing I feel I need to mention - I do not like one particular thing that happens towards the end. It felt a little too rushed, in my opinion, and I sort of wish it had been placed a little earlier.)

Overall? Personally, this one was a disappointment. I had really been looking forward to reading it, which is why I'm sad I ended up feeling lackluster about it. While it does have moments that made me laugh out loud, and I like the mentions of moments from the freshman college experience, it was to its ultimate detriment that I just couldn't connect with the characters at all.

What's the primary way you communicate with your best friends? I find that there are really only two ways that I communicate with my best friends - text messages (whether it's iMessage or through an app like Viber, since a lot of my friends are in other parts of the world) or Instagram. For the former, it's accessible and easy, and ultimately a private way to talk about everything and anything. For the latter, it's fun to try and share photos (and stories!) of our experiences every day or during special occasions, though it's less private. 

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin
Publisher: Wednesday Books | Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)


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