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Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool Paperback – July 14, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HCI Teens; 1 edition (July 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757307752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757307751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—In this brutally funny and provocatively honest memoir, Friedman details her ambitious attempts to forgo a life of absurd obscurity in exchange for one of glamorous popularity. Having been bullied in middle school, and homeschooled briefly on her father's band's overcrowded tour bus, the author decided to take her destiny into her own hands and entered a prestigious boarding school as a scholarship student. She describes her "quest for cool" as she strived for the perfect wardrobe, perfect boyfriend, perfect GPA, and membership in the most popular clique. Though filled with wit and hilarity, the darker side of the story reveals that the author also had a drug habit, an eating disorder, and an identity crisis. While the insider's view of teenage popularity, casual social cruelty, profound academic stress, peer pressure, first love, desire for belonging, drugs, clueless adults, sex, and a friend's death are elucidating, the engaging nature of the exposition belies the very real dangers that some of Friedman's choices present. As such, this book would not be recommended for teens who are not reflective enough to understand these greater implications. Overall, though, this is a good choice for discussion.—Joanie Terrizzi, New York City Public Schools END

About the Author

Hannah Friedman (Peekskill, NY) is a recent Yale University graduate. She is the daughter of gold-record singer/songwriter Dean Friedman. An article titled "When Your Friends Become the Enemy" about her experiences applying to an Ivy League University was published in Newsweek in 2004. Ms. Friedman is the winner of the Yale 2007 Playwright's Festival, as well as the New York Television Festival's 2008 "Flying Solo" Pilot Contest. Her pilot about transitioning from college student to author will debut at the Festival in September 2008. Visit http://hannahfriedman.hcibooks.com

More About the Author

Hannah Friedman is neither avid trapeze artist nor professional philologist. Hannah Friedman cannot talk with turtles or bend spoons with her mind. Hannah has a regular amount of toes, enjoys thick cappuccino foam, and is allergic to cat dander. She grew up in New York, graduated from Yale, and promptly took a nap.

Hannah Friedman detests pretension, and therefore experiences no greater pleasure than writing all about herself in the third person. She also despises flagrant self-promotion, and encourages you to check out her TV shows, blogs, plays, and award-winning comedy songs at:
www.hannahfriedman.com
and
www.youtube.com/writinghannah

Hannah Friedman encourages you to follow your dreams. She aspires to save the world, or at least to invent a puppy-sized elephant.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
I think that her desire to fit in is something that we can all relate to.
Tonya
Her observations are cleverly written and with such humor that I found myself giggling out loud.
Christine J. Zegelis
Towards the end of the book, it started to getting really depressing for me.
Wicked Good Books "Bianca"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Griffin VINE VOICE on July 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything Sucks is a brutally funny and honest look of the prep school career of Hannah Friedman, who is attending the tony school as a scholarship student. There are seventeen chapters of "things that suck," including family, mean girls, friends, high school, diets, love, sex, education, home college, drugs, and well, everything, including epilogues!

Some of the funniest parts of Hannah's memoir are those about her family. Amelia, a monkey is Hannah's oldest "sister" and was adopted by Hannah's mom, who trained monkeys to assist paraplegics. Hannah's dad is a talented singer-songwriter proficient in a variety of musical instruments. During one chapter, Hannah's family (plus her brother Sam, minus Amelia) and her father's entire band jam into a small van/bus for a concert tour in England. The tour inflicts a variety of humiliations on Hannah including home schooling, tight quarters, dwindling audience interest, a nearly catastrophic accident followed by an equally mortifying and hysterical experience in a convenience store.

The chapters about Hannah's experience at Danforth Academy are an insider's view of teen-age popularity, casual cruelty, and the stress of achieving academic success in the midst of experiencing her first love, drugs, sex, and death of a friend. Anyone who attended high school in the US will be able to relate to Hannah's clear depiction of peer pressure, the desire to belong, and clueless adults.

Reading Everything Sucks is like talking with an older sister about high school and having her share her swings between cool and uncool, lost and found. Hopefully is the first of many books by a talented new writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meghan L. Dvorak on July 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read "Everything Sucks" until the sun came up this morning.
When I started reading it, I'd put it down to throw laundry in, or eat dinner, but I'd find myself glancing over at it . . . in wonderment. I was desperate to find out what was going on with her. Was she going to fall in love? Was she going to finally let Cashmere have it? Was she gonna blaze with the hippies? Was she going to come to terms with things? I was so drawn into her world. It certainly brought me back to when I was 14/15/16 years old. And somehow my past was soothed by this memoir.
This book, nay, this woman is brilliant. She has gracefully splattered herself across these pages, holding nothing back. I could ask for nothing more from a writer. Bottom line: this is a story that everyone can relate to, and everything else will just blow your mind! I laughed, I cried, I felt her emotions.

I found out about Hannah Friedman when one of the people that I follow on youtube sent a link to her channel ([...] I watched every single video. I was blown away by her mind, her heart, her creativity, her TALENT! I couldn't get enough. Then I watched the trailer for this book. My mind soared! I logged on here and bought the book (thank you Amazon.com for getting it to me so quickly!). Just recently I bought 2 more copies for my best friend and my boyfriend.
This is a must have in anyone's collection. Do yourself a favor: buy it, and love it with me.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tory A. Heller on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 2:00 Mins
I recorded this video immediately upon finishing Everything Sucks, so please forgive my bedraggled appearance. THis video, was orignially posted in response to a video on the author's youtube channel [...].

This past semester I took a course in Adolescent Literature and one of the points we focused on was the authenticity of the narrator's voice in a given work. Did it sound like an adolescent or like an adult trying to sound adolescent to connect with their target audience? Some were better than others, but I have to say, of any "adolescent literature" I've read recently, Everything Sucks definitely has it nailed. Honestly, it was refreshing how on point Hannah's voice was, because I'm not sure there is anything more off-putting to me than didacticism veiled in the voice of a 15 year old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eliza M. Love on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
In all of my 27 years I have never found a book that touches so well on the trials and tribulations of being an emotional teenage wreck of a girl while also noting the silly, psychotic, irrational, hysterical experience of it all too.

I couldn't put this book down! Hannah's story is so unique but there are so many things that I find myself relating to. This books entices you to read faster to see what will happen next. I actually found myself laughing out loud, which NEVER happens.

I am in love with this book. I have already recommended it to all of my friends. I've even had people come up to me because they hear me laughing and reading by the pool and want to know what the book is about!

I can't wait for more!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cam on August 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Hannah's memoir is fantastic!!! It's a quick read full of her own special brand of acerbic wit. I think everyone could find something to relate to in this book. For me, it was Hannah's fear of sleepovers. When I was young, I also suffered from slumber party anxiety. I don't know why, but I was always so nervous about spending the night at a friends house. As soon as everyone around me fell asleep, I had to fight the urge to call my mom and beg her to pick me up.

There are many things in this book that you will find yourself nodding your head to in that "been there" way. Nothing is off limits and at times I found myself gasping in shock, while simultaneously laughing out loud or fighting back tears.

I'm not usually a big non-fiction fan, but I really loved this book. It's a wonderful look inside the mind of a teenager who, although her life may be different than mine, many of her experiences are the same. It was refreshing to read such an honest and open memoir from such a talented writer.
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