Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
Tall, awkward Amy feels unloved by her parents, who are too smitten with each other to pay her any attention. Along with her beautiful, fearless, and free-spirited friend Julia, Amy turns to drinking and casual sex to feel loved. After a devastating car crash leaves Julia dead and Amy only slightly injured, Amy goes into rehab. There, a therapist gives her a journal, which Amy uses to write letters to Julia, each dated with the number of days after Julia’s death.
Raw and heartbreaking are two words I can use describing this book. Scott examines the complex nature of friendship between teen girls, promiscuity and the emotional wariness of a teenager.
The story opens seventy five days after Julia’s death. Amy still doesn't know how to function. Amy is leaving rehab (for alcohol) and doesn't know how she's supposed to live without her best friend. How can she carry on when she killed her? Amy struggles along; barely able to bear the desire to have a drink, endure school, and stomach her parents relentless "trying to make up for being a crappy mom and dad to you all these years". Angry and frustrated, Amy starts writing letters to Julia, which carry through until the end of the book.
With writing comes healing.
Amy starts to realize that Julia may not have been perfect, (are any of us really) that there is a limit to what she can control or change, and that the future also deserves a chance. This novel is moving and gripping yet so funny I found myself identifying with Amy on so many levels. Her character is so realistic and her grief is compounded by insecurity, anger and loneliness. Amy’s thoughts are heartbreaking, but yet so fascinating and I as the reader became completely attached.
The story is told through Amy’s perspective and although she is depressed and 16, I felt at times I was reading the thoughts of a much older woman…that's where I think Scotts talent soared...the splash of wisdom and a few f-bombs the only way a pissed off 16 year old could say it, brought you the finesse it took to bring this young character to life on the pages.
I personally have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol but I’ve seen friend’s fall into that madness. I’ve been a friend looking in and turning the other way…like Julia, because I was too messed up with my own crap to help. What teenager isn’t dealing with crap? You couldn’t pay me to go back to high school! I think that’s why I loved Scotts writing. She holds no barriers diving into the world of young adults who are openly having sex, doing drugs and dealing with the issues of our society. I know many parents want to turn a blind eye to this behavior, but even the best of kids in the greatest homes will at some point face serious adult issues. I mean at 17 I was dealing with crap my parents couldn’t even think of. Then again when my parents where 17 they probably thought the same thing! One of my favorite lines in the book was Amy talking about her shrink.....Laurie really doesn't know how highschool works, but thats how adults are. They think school is so easy and life there is so great. Id like to see them go back.....not all adults think that way. Some of us are glad we made it to graduation and sometimes when I get around a bunch of catty ass women I feel like Im back there....ugh...shuddering.......
Although the main focus in Love You is grief, I liked how it was a mixture of psychology and the human condition, pealing apart the layers of a young mind and exploring reflection and the aftermath of choices.
Because of the issues of this novel I’d recommend this for 10th grade and up.
4/5 YA Death, Drinking, Sex