Front cover: Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for CoolTitle:  Everything Sucks
Author:  Hannah Friedman
Publisher:  Hci Teens
Published:  August 2009
Pages:  256
Genre:  Nonfiction, Memoir
Source:  Author

Everything Sucks is the memoir of Hannah Friedman’s life from middle school until college.  Basically, Hannah was a completely unpopular kid, didn’t have a lot of friends and was bullied relentlessly in her elementary school and middle school years.  Plus, she never felt like she really fit in with her own family.  Everything changes for her when she gets a scholarship to a very prestigious boarding school, and suddenly she becomes one of the cool kids on campus.  But with Hannah’s popularity comes a host of personal issues including an eating disorder and a drug habit.  This is the story of Hannah’s gaining everything she thought she wanted, losing it, then learning how to survive as herself in this crazy world.

To be completely honest, I didn’t expect to like this book very much.  It just sounded very cliche, very immature, for my tastes.  I hate to say that, knowing that the author is probably going to read this review, but it’s the way I felt before I picked it up.  Actually, the only reason I accepted it for review is because so many bloggers enjoyed the book.  I’m happy to say that despite my expectations, I really enjoyed Hannah Friedman’s memoir.  It was equally touching and hilarious, and I sped through the book in just a couple of hours.

I think what made Everything Sucks so enjoyable for me was the authenticity of Hannah’s voice.  I truly felt like I got to know her through her memoir, and not only did I know her, I liked her.  Even though her and I aren’t much alike, I could relate to many of her struggles.  Don’t get me wrong, I have never been the popular kid in school (especially high school – far from it), but I can relate to that feeling of wanting to belong, and being compelled to cave in when the peer pressures gets to be overwhelming.  I think every teen goes through that stuff, in one way or another.

One of the great things about Hannah was that throughout this book, she was able to laugh at herself, to find humor in some pretty serious situations.  It was almost like she trusted the reader to know that she’s grown up since these events took place, and now that she’s a little wiser she sees the severity of what she was doing with her life, but she also sees the funny side to some of the situations she put herself in.  She trusted the reader not to judge her for the decisions she made in high school, and to understand that she’s not the same girl she was when these events were taking place.

I think teens can learn a lot from Everything Sucks.  Popularity isn’t everything, for starters.  Also, no matter how much you screw up, it’s just high school, and you can easily turn life around if you just put in the effort.  There’s a lot to admire about Hannah Friedman, too – she’s extremely intelligent, well-spoken, articulate, and has an excellent sense of humor.  I definitely look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

Here are some more reviews of Everything Sucks.