I sped through this in the span of a few hours on the trip to college and honestly really enjoyed it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially because Spieller’s debut leaned a lot more on the romance side, and this leans a lot more on the friendship and sisterhood side, but wow, this was such a pleasant surprise.
It takes place over less than 48 hours and is a story of two sisters, April and Jenn, who have grown apart, but are attempting to close the gap between them. There’s a lot of messy feelings and relationships as their views of each other and how they view themselves clash, as well as romantic relationships and ones with their parents.
If you’re looking for something sister-focused, a quick read, and light but still full of ~feelings~, you’ll definitely want to pick up She’s the Worst.
There are a lot of interesting dynamics going on.
I absolutely adored the character dynamics in this story, and it was one of She’s the Worst’s strongest features.
First off, April and Jenn have such a strong character arc combined. They start out not very close, especially given how they haven’t really interacted much since approximately eight grade. Jenn has been busy with managing the store and keeping their parents from scaring away customers with their arguments, while April has been busy with school and soccer.
In short, April believes Jenn is sad she’s not off to college, so she plans a sister-day to bring them together after four years, but Jenn has actually been hiding the fact that she’s heading to college and just hasn’t told her parents.
They grow a lot throughout the story and have a lot of ups and downs, and I loved reading about their journey. From sisterhood to betrayals to altered memories of the past and perceived feelings of obligations, this was a really strong highlight of She’s the Worst.
Even more than that, there were a lot of character interactions and stuff going on between April and her neighbor Nate, and Jenn and her long term boyfriend. The romantic relationships take a backseat to the friendship & sisterhood, but it was still there subtly and very cute.
And also! Friendships outside of sisterhood were part of this! So in short, there were a lot of strong dynamics and this is a very much character-based story.
Even so, there were a lot of cool things physically happening.
This story was almost a snapshot into living in Los Angeles. Jenn and April go (or not go) to a lot of locations and it was really cool and atmospheric, but not in the dark sense.
From different restaurants to tourist attractions and areas, it was very cool. I think anyone who loves 24 hour novels like The Sun Is Also a Star will enjoy this sampling into LA.
The story takes place in less than 48 hours and April and Jenn (and their parents) go through a lot.
I especially liked the portrayal of parental fighting and how April & Jenn’s parents were physically present.
This was one of my favorite parts, even though it’s not the most fun part.
Spieller’s portrayal of parental fighting felt very real and pretty close to home for me. Just having present parents in the story was a feat, but having them in the story and actively affect April and Jenn’s life was cool.
Their fighting affects their family antique store a lot and it’s a huge conflict in the story. April and Jenn both cope/deal/view it in different ways and it’s very true.
Overall, I’d recommend.
I definitely liked this a lot and its themes around friendship, sisterhood, and family were some of my favorite. If that sounds appealing to you, you should definitely pick this up!
April and Jenn haven’t been close in years, but now that Jenn’s finished high school, things are changing.
April believes Jenn is staying home, and she plans a one day extravaganza around Los Angeles to cheer Jenn about not heading to college, as she will instead work at their family’s antique store.
Jenn, however, has a secret. She’s enrolled in college and just needs to move out and ask her parents to support her financially.
As secrets are let out and the day progresses, April and Jenn will have to reconcile if they want their family to stay afloat.
TW: Parental fighting
Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster and Lauren Spieller for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!