Georgia is the 15-year-old narrator of New Zealand novelist Brigid Lowry’s YA book, Things You Either Hate or Love. I was smitten with her almost as soon as she opened her mouth to announce:
I like to think of myself as a brilliant creative person, but sometimes I just feel like a sad lonely girl with a big bum.
Georgia is madly in love with Jakob, the lead singer of a funk band called Natural Affinity. She spends long hours talking to his poster – free therapy – and plotting ways to earn money so she can fly off to Brisbane to see his band in concert.
In an effort to make some money, Georgia tries (and fails) at babysitting, working in a video store and then a bakery, before finally landing as a cashier at the local supermarket. When she isn’t moaning about regular teenage stuff (her mother, school, friends) she’s trying to navigate the fraught path from childhood to adulthood.
Georgia is charming and funny, but lacks any real confidence. She is a character that would definitely speak to a lot of girls. She certainly spoke to my former self. When she ends up working with Hunter, the gorgeous boy who used to come into the bakery, she can’t help but develop a bit of a crush. But she’s sure Hunter could never be interested in a girl like her.
If I have any complaints about the book it’s that the girl on the cover is a misrepresentation of the Georgia in the book – although I have no doubt that Georgia is nowhere near as plain as she thinks she is. Also, Georgia contracts glandular fever and loses a lot of weight…just in time for the book’s happy ending.
That said, I really enjoyed Things You Either Hate or Love. Georgia is lovely and her trials are relate-able without being overwrought. It is a skilled writer who can make a book without an overabundance of teenage drama compelling and entertaining.