Monday, February 17, 2020

Miss You Love You Hate You Bye by Abby Sher

Title: Miss You Love You Hate You Bye
Author: Abby Sher
Format: Paperback ARC
Pub. Date: February 18th 2020
Source: The Windy Pages

Book Description:

Zoe and Hank (short for Hannah) have been inseparable since they met in elementary school. The leader of the pack, Zoe is effortlessly popular while Hank hides comfortably in her shadow. But when Zoe's parents unexpectedly divorce, Zoe's perfect facade starts cracking little by little. Sinking under the weight of her broken family, Zoe develops an eating disorder. Now she must rely on Hank for help.

Hank struggles to help Zoe; after all, she is used to agreeing, not leading. How can she help her best friend get better before it's too late?

Written partially in letters from Zoe and mostly in narrative from Hank's perspective, Miss You Love You Hate You Bye is a poignant and eye-opening novel about friendship, mental health, and learning to put yourself first.



I wanted to like this book. I really did. I think books on young adult mental health are so, so important. But this one fell flat for me and I was left disappointed.

The book is written in almost duel perspective. It's 90% from the main character, Hannah's, point of view. Every so often there's a letter written by Zoe to break things up. While I understand why it's written from both sides, I didn't care for the letters aspect and would have just preferred duel POVs as things were actually happening. Because of the letters, we start right off the bat knowing what Zoe's fate is. We know she's in a hospital/treatment center. We know she's mad at Hannah, and we know that ultimately, she's okay. Because of this, it made me less interested in the story from the get-go, because I had the resolution before I even know the story.

I didn't care for either character. Zoe is manic and struggling and a hot mess. She's dealing with a lot- ADHD, learning problems, her parents' divorce, her eating disorder. But we never really get too much of her side of why she's acting this way. Then there's Hannah, who has a complete do nothing attitude about almost everything in her life. She does whatever Zoe tells her to, always. That's all of her personality, even according to her: she's Hannah's friend. She notices eating habits but doesn't say anything. She is unhappy but doesn't say anything. She is negative about everything. She's rude AF to her mom's boyfriend even though he's nice and kind and her mom is happy (which she resents, even though she admits he's nice) and it has been years. Even her mom eventually calls her on the fact that she's like this, which I appreciated.

Both of their inner voices felt like they were done in "adult" voices (Hannah uses words like "hirsute" in her head, for example) but their out-loud dialogue sounded like middle school- very "OMG like cringe". They're high schoolers. This back and forth of writing style/voice was a bit jarring in places.

I wish the book would have been more about Zoe. She's the one with the disorder and struggling and yet she's not really what the book is about. I appreciate that some aspects of eating disorders and mental health and self-harm were realistically portrayed in all their ugliness. It's not all therapy and sadness, it can be mania and spiraling out.

But I just found myself bored, uninterested, and wanting it to be over. There's so much happening but so little of it gets closure. It feels disconnected and almost random.

I really like that this book is about platonic friendship. There's no romance component (albeit a kiss that felt forced and unnecessary for the plot), it's just a story about friendship and I think there should be more of that.

I also think the cover is super cute, but, obviously that has nothing to do with the plot.

I think there is a need and a space for YA books about hard topics like this. But I also think that there a lot of books already out there that cover them better than this book does. If it relates to one person, or helps someone find courage to talk to someone, than this book will have been worth writing.

But I am not that person, and this book wasn't for me. Be warned, this book contains drug use, eating disorders, self-harm, and other topics that might be tough to read for some people.

1 comment:

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