Summary: Told through a series of emails and text messages, Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You follows Ava and Gen’s friendship while attending their first semester of college at different schools. Ava and Gen promise to document their everyday happenings to one another, with Ava at school in California and Gen away in Boston. From self-discovery, new relationships, sexuality, mental illness, first loves and heartbreak, Gen and Ava help each other figure out their new lives while trying to keep their own friendship together.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I Hate Everyone But You by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn has been popping up on my TBR radar since the book came out in September 2017. If you’ve been here even for a bit, you’ll know that I love using the phrase “a bit”, but also that I am always on the hunt for college YA, or young-adult books that have college-aged protagonists or protagonists who are in college. After reading Gloria Chao’s American Panda, I decided to keep my college YA reading going by picking up I Hate Everyone But You.
I love how the book is told in a series of emails and text messages, perfect for readathons and one-to-two sitting readers. Definitely different in subject matter, but I was reminded a lot of Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern, since the book is told in a familiar format. Through the emails, we are able to get a first person POVs from Gen and Ava. While we get plenty of humor-infused emails (go back and read the titles of said emails, I personally love “Love, Lust and Beer Pong” and “All the Single Ladies”), the text messages also provided plenty of humor and personality. I admit that I liked Ava’s emails better, mainly because I related to Ava more. I could relate to Ava’s struggle with trying to make friends and navigating new relationships, as well as her temptation to go home on the weekends. Her POV showed the less glamorous side of being a freshman and trying to figure out this new life. And this isn’t to say I didn’t like Gen because I thought she had some funny encounters herself and it was cool to see her adapt to life in Boston.
However, I felt that the book could have have taken place over one year instead of over one semester. Yes, I Hate Everyone But You is on the shorter side, but considering its one semester length, some of the events and the relationships felt a bit rushed. Also, who has the time to get into all the things Ava and Gen do in one semester, let alone their first?? I was lucky enough to find time for a Stranger Things marathon my first semester, between my coursework and adjusting to college life. Additionally, Ava and Gen’s plots were a tad stereotypical when it comes to the “expectations” of college. From the start, Gen parties every weekend and Ava finds herself trying to join a sorority when she’s not too sure if she even wants to take part in Greek life. I think it would’ve made more sense for AVA to NOT be in sorority, but going Greek ends up influencing her storyline.
I Hate Everyone But You addresses a variety of topics. For Ava, the biggest is mental health and for Gen, it’s sexuality. In my opinion, both topics weren’t handled in the best fashion. Ava often references her mental health as a joke, but then delves into some darker moments. I feel like it needed to be fleshed out a bit more, especially when she has problems with her therapist (I also found these emails to be a tad confusing).Gen’s sexuality could have also used a bit more development (I understand that it might not have because Gen is trying to figure it out herself), but I hated when she flipped out on Ava about it.
Overall, I recommend reading I Hate Everyone But You if you enjoy books with unique formats or if you’re looking for college YA. Before heading into the book, I was unfamiliar with Gaby and Allison’s Youtube channel, Just Between Us, but I’ll be definitely checking it out now!
Have you read I Hate Everyone But You? Do you watch Just Between Us? Share in the comments!