Jesse Andrews Is A “Hater” At Heart

From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Young Entertainment discusses with Andrews everything you need to know and don’t know about The Haters.

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Hi Jesse, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It’s so great being able to chat with you. Your first book has been a huge success; I loved reading it and was really excited to read this one.


Young Entertainment: What motivated you to write a second book?

Jesse Andrews: I’m a writer! What are you talking about, what motivated me to write a second book? I am going to write books until I am dead. Hopefully that means at least a few more books.

YE: What type of voices can we see in The Haters?

JA: Certainly they have some similarities to those in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl—they’re teenage and I think they’re pretty funny. But they’re the voices of musicians and musicians tend to be, um, less civilized than other teenagers.


YE: What type of music does the formed band play? What made you pick said music?

JA: Well, I try not to describe it too specifically because I want to give the reader room to create something interesting—I do list a bunch of influences/tonal references that come from blues and soul and punk rock, but I wanted to be intentionally kind of vague about what the result sounded like.


YE: What would you like the audience to take away from The Haters?

JA: I just want them to be entertained, honestly. And feel like they’ve seen something they haven’t seen before, but that feels real—naturalism is very important to me.


YE: Who would be your ideal cast if The Haters came to life on screen?

JA: My answer is… whoever we do end up casting! Hopefully we get to cast it soon.


YE: What has your fan base been like? Were they happy with the film version of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl?

JA: My fan base is great. It tends to be misfits and weirdos and kids who feel inappropriate emotions at all times, kind of like my characters. I think for the most part they loved the film. A few of them probably resented that it made them cry and reminded them that they were humans.


YE: Were you happy with how the film came out? If you had the power to change anything is there anything you would have done differently?

JA: Completely happy and I would change nothing. Well, maybe I would put in more swearing. But we’d have to abolish the MPAA first. Can we abolish the MPAA in this hypothetical? Who is the MPAA, you are asking? They are the organization that has no problem at all with kids watching murders and mutilations and horrific violence, but is firmly opposed to a movie mentioning anything related to how babies are made. Which is great, if we are trying to raise a sexually frustrated, murderously violent generation of people. Fortunately this generation is mostly too cool for the MPAA to ruin it. But still.


YE: Have you thought about making a prequel or sequel to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? If there was one, whom and what would it be about?

JA: I might write a spinoff. But Greg and Earl would not be the main characters—instead it would be someone from Earl’s extended family. We’d get to see what Greg and Earl are up to in their 20s, a few years later, but mostly we’d ignore them, because it’s not their turn anymore.


YE: Were you ever nervous about the language in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl that would have parents up in arms about letting their kids read it? (I know when I read it there were moments in the book where I thought if I was back in high school there was no way my parents would let me read it.)

JA: Honestly, I didn’t really worry about it. The language felt authentic to teenagerdom to me, and if that was going to be a problem, then so be it. The important thing is getting it right.


YE: What was the first YA book you ever read?

JA: I was a teenager before there was all the great YA that has come up in the last fifteen years, so it was definitely Catcher in the Rye. Boring answer, great book.



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