Cover I Hate Everyone But You: A cartoon cell phone with chat bubbles showing the book title

About the Book

Title: I Hate Everyone But You
Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Cover Story: You Used To Call Me On My Cell Phone
BFF Charm: Yay x2
Talky Talk: Author Simulacrums
Bonus Factors: Long-Term Friendships, College, LGBTQ
Relationship Status: LYLAS

Cover Story: You Used To Call Me On My Cell Phone

The colors are almost obnoxiously bright, which works, plus the cell phone will scare away any olds who won’t want to read a book entirely comprised of emails and text messages, so I’d say the cover is doing exactly what a cover should do.

The Deal:

Ava and Gen are unlikely high-school besties who chose to go to colleges on opposite coasts. Gen, a free spirit, chose a small liberal arts school in NYC, whereas Ava—who, at four years old, told her parents she needed therapy—chose a big university just twenty minutes from home. Despite their wildly divergent natures, they’ve maintained a closer-than-close sisterhood, and Ava sees no reason this should stop just because they aren’t physically near one another.

But as anyone who has graduated high school and is over the age of twenty knows, it can be tough to maintain intimacy in relationships that were formed because of forced proximity. Can Gen and Ava’s friendship survive a coming out, casual drug use, sorority rushing, bad relationships, and friendship misunderstandings?

BFF Charm: Yay x2

Yay BFF Charm

During high school, Gen was basically adopted by Ava’s family since her own take turns conducting the Crazy Train. Because of the constant haranguing and passive aggressive nonsense she’s had to deal with, Gen is tough and sassy, and she isn’t afraid to call Ava on her shit. She’s also a little wild, probably thanks to a lack of supervision, and she makes some questionable choices that had me shaking my head (sorry, but I’m a goody-two-shoes at heart).

Yay BFF Charm

I definitely identified more with Ava personality-wise, though she has a lot more anxiety and social issues than I had at her age. She’s shyer, but just as snarky, and she would prefer to cling to what she knows rather than put herself out there—though, to be fair, she does rush a sorority because she is trying. Ava has way less romantic experience, and she relies heavily on Gen for boy advice, which made for some very hilarious step-by-step instructions.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

This is a besties book, so while there’s a ton of emphasis on a relationship, it’s of a strictly platonic nature. But Ava and Gen do go through their fair share of boy and girl troubles and most of them are cringe-inducing and so obviously “freshmen dating woes” that hopefully they will look back on them in five years and go, “HOW did I let myself get drawn into that BS?”

Talky Talk: Author Simulacrums

If you can’t find something in this book to relate to, then you either a) hate pop culture references, b) never went to college, c) never had a best friend (I’m so sorry!), d) aren’t human.

Sometimes I think about the epistolary format and have to mentally brace myself, because it can feel a bit cumbersome if not done right. But I got swept up so quickly into Ava and Gen’s friendship, and it was easy to follow along with who was speaking (partially thanks to their cute little avatars) as they both had such clear voices (and different authors, though that doesn’t always automatically mean anything, as we are all well aware).

After I finished the novel I read up on authors Gaby and Allison, and suddenly it was obvious why Gen and Ava felt so authentic: these ladies poured a lot of themselves and their friendship into these pages. There were times I was so caught up relating to these tough but vulnerable women and remembering my own friendship woes that I had to remind myself that Ava and Gen weren’t real. The authors perfectly encapsulated the powerful nature of friendship, the kind that can kick you in the gut more than any romantic relationship ever could. 

Bonus Factor: Long-Term Friendship

Characters from Baby-Sitters' Club show sitting on a bed talking and laughing.

Reading this made me want to call up my female bestie or send her a long, emoji-infused email. It’s tough to maintain long-distance relationships, but it’s so satisfying when you meet up and can pick up right where you left off. New friendships are wonderful, but there’s something to be said for the people who’ve known you for more than a decade and still think you’re the top.

Bonus Factor: College

Elle Woods in a Harvard classroom

It’s rare for us YA readers to jump out of high-school and into some College 101! This book has all the trappings of your first semester: frat bros; going to class when you feel like it and then, later, trying not to fail said class; lame parties that become cooler because there’s booze; rush week; doubting your major and future. All the fun stuff.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ

Pride flag being waved in a parade

Gen comes out to Ava in sort of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it way, and this leads to a lot of confusion on Ava’s part about how serious this actually is (though, really, no less confusing on Gen’s behalf too, as she tries to navigate what it means to be a college student and gay). The conversations they had felt realistic and honest, and sometimes a little painful, too.

Relationship Status: LYLAS

Even though you made it clear that there was only room for one close friendship between your pages, Book, I was still charmed by your humor and emotion, and I would gladly give you space to set your sleeping bag at my next slumber party. We get the same inside jokes and ache over the same life experiences, and that’s something special.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from St. Martin’s Press. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. I Hate Everyone But You is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.