Sometimes you read a book that stays with you for a long while. You think about the characters and their fates, what they’ve learned through the course of their emotional journey. Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount is one such book. The deceptively slim book packs major emotional punch.
Hating Heidi Foster is a YA novel about friendship and what happens when one selfless act destroys what was considered by all to be an unshakeable, unbreakable bond. Mae McBride and Heidi Foster have been friends for as long as they both can remember. Even in high school, everyone thinks of them as being joined at the hip. All that changes when Mae’s father dies while saving Heidi’s life. A distraught Mae cannot forgive her father for leaving her and for saving Heidi instead of saving himself. As Mae’s anger intensifies and consumes her every waking moment, Heidi’s own guilt eats away at her, breaking her down physically and mentally. Heidi longs for Mae’s friendship again but Mae–unable to forgive and forget–cannot see past what losing her father has done to her and her family. Is there any way these girls can find their way back to friendship?
If I were still teaching, Hating Heidi Foster would be required reading for all of my students. This chronicle of the trials and tribulations of what can divide and ultimately reunite friends was powerful and beautifully written. Don’t be fooled by the slimness of the book; the emotional complexity of the novel and the pitch-perfect way it handles the ups and downs of being a teenager and how grief and anger affect each person differently…just read it. And then give it to your teenage daughter or niece or cousin.
You won’t be disappointed. Hating Heidi Foster is a definite must-read.