April 18, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw • April 19, 2016 • Razorbill (Penguin)
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Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.


I received this book for free from Penguin Teen for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “This is one of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. “

You can call me a BNF (Big Name Fan) of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here because holy awesomeness, this book is funny and a huge delight! It spoke to my teenager self about all the love for fanfiction.

Obsessed with a supernatural teen drama (think of tropes that come with the Chosen one stories mixed with typical teen dramas), Scarlett Epstein started writing fanfiction, and when her beloved show ends, what does she do? Well, what else can you do but write fanfiction involving people you know in real life!

Why I Love Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

  • The writing gives readers wonderful humor.

I love the writing. The writing is so honest, and Anna Breslaw does an excellent job showing how people talk and think. She has a way of making you feel like you’re back in high school all over again, battling your conflicting feelings toward a crush or obsessing over your favorite TV show. The wit in this book tells me so much about Scarlett as a person and her humor.The writing makes Scarlett’s personality shine very bright. It is seriously the best thing you’ll ever read.

  • I want to be Scarlett Epstein’s friend.

In another world, Scarlett Epstein would be someone I’d want as my friend.

She totally understands about fandom obsession, fanfiction, and online communities. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who won’t find it weird? She’ll accept all the craziness that is involved in that. Scarlett is also funny, and makes pop culture references. She actually does things when she’s pushed out of her comfort zone, and she doesn’t let people take advantage of her. She has her flaws like she can be self-absorbed and sometimes can’t see when she’s being mean, but who isn’t like that? Scarlett Epstein has a good heart who hides her insecurity and vulnerability through her humor and writing.

  • Scarlett’s writing (especially for shows and IRL) speaks to my teenage self.

Were you ever that person who wrote fanfiction about shows or IRL people? I was that person. This book really does make me feel nostalgic to when I was a teenager. I would write stories for the shows and couples I loved as a way to express my feelings, and I went out searching for a community that understood what I was going through. Scarlett Epstein is the same way, but she is bolder than I was in terms of IRL fics (she actually published them! *gasp*). In Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here, readers get to see Scarlett interacting with an online community (which I really wanted more since it didn’t go in depth as much as I wanted it to), squealing over her beloved TV show with her online friends, and writing IRL fics that are woven into the story called The Ordinaria (which is a kind of present day-futuristic world with companion robots like the comic Alex + Ada).

I wish I had this book when I was a teenager because I never found people who understood things like fanfiction and online communities. I used to feel like it was something very weird that people wouldn’t understand, and having this book would’ve made me feel less alone. It’s totally okay to write fanfiction or have online friends. It’s just a different way of connecting with people and expressing your feelings, and I wished I had known that.

  • Scarlett starts experiencing things that she wouldn’t have if she stuck with her fics and the world of Lycanthrope High.

Once her beloved show Lycanthrope High ends, Scarlett doesn’t have an outlet for her writing anymore. It’s difficult to keep a fic world going when people have moved on to the next hot fandom, so on the advice of Ruth, her pot-smoking seventy-three-year-old neighbor, Scarlett goes out and does things she wouldn’t have done if she stayed in her fic world like ask out the guy she’s been crushing on for years. She incorporates all her problems into the kind-of-IRL fanfiction she’s created that happens to star people she knows. I could understand everything that Scarlett was feeling with the people in her life (like feeling disappointed in who her crush associates with) and the comments to her fanfiction (like being annoyed when people call a character Mary Sue or rooting for a mean character). Sometimes her reactions or comments rub people the wrong way, but it happens.

Should you read Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here? YES. A MILLION TIMES YES. Especially if you were that teenager (or adult) who has ever wrote fanfiction or dreamed up stories with people you know. You’ll know how Scarlett feels. This book is also very funny, and the writing is an absolute gem. I wished I had this book when I was a teenager.


4 Responses to “(ARC) REVIEW • The Finest IRL Fanfiction (Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw)”

  1. Sophie says:

    I love your review! My copy of this is on its way, and I can’t wait to read it, even more so after reading how much you loved it :)

  2. Oooh I’ve never heard of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here before, but it sounds like a really good one! I love reading books about fangirls and such, so hopefully I’ll love this as much as you did. Definitely adding this book on my TBR. Great review, Cee!

  3. Denise says:

    Wow, this book sounds so amazing! Initially the title and cover put me off, but now I really want to read it. I love online communities, and am an avid reader of fanfiction, so this sounds perfect. Sometimes I try to stay clear of fandoms/fanfiction in books, because it can give a cringe worthy and wrong portrayal of the community – lots of books portray us as places for weirdos. This one sounds fantastic though, and like it represents everything very well! :D

    Denise | The Bibliolater

  4. Alexa S. says:

    I’m so glad you liked this one. I was a bit on the fence about reading it, but Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here sounds like a fun read! I think I too will enjoy getting to know Scarlett, who sounds like a gal I could be friends with as well.

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