Book Brats Reviews

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

somebody up there hates youSomebody Up There Hates You by
Genre: ,
Release: September, 3 2013
Publisher: Algonquin Books for Young Readers
239 pages
Source: ARC Received Via Publisher
Rating: ♥♥

Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.

Sometimes, when a blogger reads a book and she doesn’t get along with that book, a book is pushed to the back of her mind and forgotten until she realizes the book came out and she forgot to review it. That’s what happened between me and SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU by Hollis Seamon, a YA contemporary debut that ended up falling far short of the mark I’d hoped from it. If you read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green, you might as well stop there. This book tries to be the next cancer story in the same vein, but instead turns out to be a rather gross, insipid tale about a boy who wants to have sex. Oh, and he has cancer.

SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU follows Richie, a boy living in a hospice as he dies from cancer, and his love interest Sylvie, the girl who lives across the room. Richie and Sylvie are as close as a couple as you’re going to get in the beginnings of a YA novel, but to be honest, they’re never developed, and their relationship is never expanded past the fact that they are teenagers who are virgins and want to no longer be virgins when they die.

Since it’s been awhile since I read this book, and since I quite frankly don’t remember much about it other than the most glaring problems (and the fact that I only rated it 2 stars), I’ll keep it brief. I mean, who wants to read 600 words about how teenagers don’t sound like Richie and Sylvie and why sex should not define a successful life? Nobody.

So here are my major problems that I had with SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU.

One. Richie, our protagonist, sounds like what a 17 year old boy might sound like in a drug awareness ad written by a 60 year old conservative woman. That is not a good thing. He sounds completely fake and quite frankly an ass.

Two. How are we supposed to root for a teenage boy dying of cancer when his uncle buys him a prostitute, who is underage, and then have the boy make fun of her for the rest of the novel?

Three. It was like THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, except hyper-sexualized (basically the only other plot point besides dying of cancer is sex) and less hipster-y.

I wanted so much to like this one, given its synopsis. In fact, I thought it might be my answer to wanting a book that dealt with cancer except 1000% less pretentiously. But what I got was a book devoid of character development, devoid of awareness, and full of stereotypes about teenagers. I was highly disappointed, but hey, I have to admit – there must have been something, at least a LITTLE something, that kept this from being a one star. And I did read it in 24 hours. That’s a plus.

VERDICT: Focused less on the characters and more on the sex, SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU falls flat in trying to be a tale of cancer and teenagers. Instead, it’s a book about teen sex, stupidity, and then maybe dying on the side. Skip it.


Megan (246 Posts)

Megan is the founder of Book Brats, started as an unemployment project in June 2011. She's a twentysomething writer/reader/all around nerd with a love of cats, science fiction, fantasy, and film. With her master's degree, her goal is to one day be the US Ambassador to Japan and win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

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