Author:  Jeffrey Blount

ISBN: 978-0-9857627-0-4

Full disclosure: I cried while reading this book. More than once. And that’s saying something given that the book itself is only 105 pages long and took less than two hours to read from cover to cover.

Hating Heidi Foster is a story that follows two teenage girls through what will prove to be the most devastating test of their long friendship. Heidi and Mae have known each other since first grade and have been mostly inseparable since that time, but their bond is severed when tragedy strikes both families. The story is told from the perspective of Mae, whose father rushed to save his daughter’s best friend and ended up dying in the process.

Mae quickly descends into anger and blames her friend, both for surviving and for depriving her of her father. She is unable to move beyond the power her hatred gives her, especially in the face of her inability to control much else in her world. Through the lens of her grief, her once predictable, safe world looks much different.

Blount’s teenage narrator is very believable and he captures her voice accurately. The story itself is powerful and poignant without going over the top, despite its unique scenario. I found all of the characters very realistic and was invested in them enough to truly feel their pain. My only complaint is that, by the end of the book, everything is tied up a little too neatly which gives it the flavor of a made-for-TV drama.

Teenagers will find Hating Heidi Foster to be a powerful examination of friendships and family, courage and conflict, and perhaps a way to understand that everyone processes grief in the ways that work best for them. There is no doubt that the inner life of a teenager is a complicated one and Blount does a terrific job of capturing that in this touching story. This book is about more than teenage friendships and loyalty, though, it is about the courage and convictions of a man who acts impulsively out of love and loses his life doing it.

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