52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012
How many of us have ever had the thought that if only we had more money, life would be a little bit easier? Best keep that thought to yourself around Lexington Larrabee because while money can buy a hell of a lot of things, simplicity and happiness aren't on the menu. Lexi would know better than anyone - she's the daughter of a self-made multimillionaire who is never around, but at least his credit cards are, and when she turns 18, she finally gets access to her own $25 million trust fund.
But after yet another unfortunate incident that could damage the image her father has worked so hard to build, Lexi gets some nasty news on her birthday instead of the check she's been dreaming of her whole life: no trust fund until she completes 52 different low-paying jobs, one for every week of the year. For the first time in her life, this spoiled heiress will actually have to work, and all of it is happening under the supervision of Luke, the really attractive but totally annoying intern her dad has hired to basically babysit her. As the trailer says, being an heiress is a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
From the very first time I ever saw the trailer for this book, I knew I HAD to read it! What a fun premise for a contemporary novel! Lexi is the girl everyone loves to hate, and she's not exactly likable. She starts out completely self-centered and out of touch with reality. But as the novel goes on and Lexi takes on different jobs and meets new people, readers get to see a different side to this party princess. You see how all the money in the world can't replace one or both parents, and that having houses all around the world is very different from having a real home. As the 'why' behind Lexi's behavior becomes clear, it doesn't excuse her past behavior, but it makes it much easier to empathize with her and want her to succeed.
Luke is also a great sounding board for Lexi. He is her polar opposite - he's had to work tirelessly for everything in his life, he looks up to her father (whereas she despises the man), and he actually believes that she's capable of doing things when the rest of the world only laughs at her. She may hate him at first, and he wasn't exactly her biggest fan, but I really liked how the relationship took its time unfolding.
The 52 jobs themselves are also like characters, drill sergeants that push Lexi to the absolute brink but they build her into a much stronger version of herself that she probably never imagined could exist. Major props here to Jessica Brody for getting creative with the many awful, disgusting, boring, and very necessary jobs that she puts Lexi through. It made me think back to my own days as a store clerk and cashier when I was in high school - not exactly the most fun, but I still learned a lot there.
All in all, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father is a great Saturday, curl up in bed on a rainy day kind of read. If you like Meg Cabot's style, I have no doubt you'll like Jessica Brody's, too (Meg even blurbed this book on the cover!). The story is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously, and it has a nice arc that's not especially complex. This is the first book by Brody I've read, and I hope to check out her other titles, too.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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