22. Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount
US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
Finished: Jan. 25, 2013
First Published: October 25, 2012
Publisher: Alluvion Press
Interests: YA, realistic fiction, friendship, death, grief
First sentence: "I have never been very good with faces."
Publisher's Summary: "Mae McBride and Heidi Foster were the very best of friends. Tied at the hip from early elementary school, their relationship was the stuff of storybooks, legendary even, in the minds of their high school classmates.
That is, until Mae's father died while saving Heidi's life. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.
At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly; wasting away physically and emotionally while waiting for Mae to let her back into the friendship she misses so dearly.
Mae, consumed by her hatred of Heidi, the confusion regarding her father’s motives, the perceived desertion of her friends and her mother’s grief, loses more and more of herself.
What could possibly bring these two old friends back to each other? A miracle?
Hating Heidi Foster, is a young adult novel about the place of honor true friendships hold in our lives. It is about suffering and loss and the ethics of grief. It is about a deep and painful conflict, the bright light of selflessness and sacrifice and the love that rights the ship and carries us safely to port."
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.
Reason for Reading: Teen books about death don't usually appeal to me but this one did for a couple of reasons. From the synopses I gathered the focus was going to be on the aftermath of the parental death (and not the agonizing leading up to that point of many teen death books) and secondly this sounded unique to me that the other focus was on friendship and how a tragic event affected a tight, close knit friendship. I also knew I could pass this on to my 14yo niece when I was finished as this is sooooo her type of book :-)
I am right pleased with having read this book. Far from the typical teen book dealing with death that I have read in the past this book focuses on how the death of a loved one affects us and how we can come to terms with it. It is a short book and a quick read but packs a powerful punch. The book starts off with the death of Mae's father while rescuing her BFF Heidi from a burning building but by Chapter 3 it is three months later. Told in the first person from Mae's point of view we also always get the sense that she is speaking from somewhere in her future and she is telling us this story from her past. While telling her story as if it is happening Mae also tells it with the wisdom of hindsight explaining her emotions in much more detail than she would have understood them at the time. By the end of the book we realize that Mae is much older now. A gripping story of a girl consumed by anger who slowly through the love of the very one she lost learns how to love again. Highly recommended!