May 24, 2012

52 Reasons to Hate My Father: A Panoramic Review

"Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
" (from Goodreads) 
52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

In ten words or less:
fun premise and entertaining execution.  
My reaction: 

This book doesn't break any new ground, but the way it's set up — 'poor little rich girl' has to complete 52 weeks of work, a new job each week, before her dad will let her have the $25 million she thinks she deserves — makes for a slightly different spin on the whole learning-not-to-take-things-for-granted lesson. Lexi truly does act like an annoying spoiled brat (and she knows full well that's how she's seen) at the beginning, but at the same time, there was something very enjoyable and refreshing about her snotty, self-absorbed tone and attitude. It's so snarky and full of life. Even once she changes (because you know that's going to happen — the storyline is not exactly unpredictable), her voice isn't all that different. She doesn't undergo a complete personality makeover, thankfully — although at the very end, she's so perky and optimistic, it's a little weird and un-Lexi-ish. But overall, her voice really makes this book. 

Unfortunately, we don't get as strong a sense of some of the other characters. I'll discuss Luke in more detail below, but her friends Jia and T and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Mendi seem to be there more as plot devices than actual people. 

The storylines are divided pretty well between the jobs, the romance, the mom's past, and the one involving her father. I appreciated how the storyline about her mother was woven throughout the book, and I wish the same was true for the subplot involving her dad's job — there were a couple obscure clues, I suppose, but it seemed kind of far-fetched and not as carefully worked into the rest of the book as the other storylines.

It's written in a readable style that makes it easy to breeze through. I didn't find that there were any super hilarious scenes, but there are moments that will make you smile (Lexi's thoughts about the job where she beautifies corpses are pretty funny). There are also some parts that will make you cringe with embarrassment for her or go, "Oh, you idiot!" so be prepared for those as well. And I particularly enjoyed how something she's told earlier in the book is used later to help her gather some evidence she needs.

Best aspect

The set-up, but I've already talked about that. I also found the relationship between Lexi and her dad very interesting. There's a lot going on there that persuades the reader to feel sorry for Lexi and makes it easier to understand how she ended up the way she did. Growing up raised mainly by the domestic staff and without knowing what family is all about can't have been easy, so her dad can be held at least partially responsible for the teenager Lexi's become.

(I did think, however, that this divide between them was breached a bit too cheesily. It's nice to see her get that happy ending, but her dad's transformation is probably not that realistic — and to be honest, I kind of enjoyed disliking him through the first part of the story!)

If I could change something... I thought Lexi's character development was too fast to be believable. She had a revelation and then bam! She decided to get a new perspective on life. I don't know that we see enough of her gaining understanding of how most people (who aren't rich) live and the fact that she's acted in such a spoiled manner and taken so much for granted. This might also be partly because the book switches focus partway through, and the romance — as well as storylines involving Lexi's mother and father — is given more attention. 

Also, I felt like we don't get that strong a sense of who Luke is — he seems kind of boring, frankly. He lacks the personality that Lexi has, and maybe that was intentional (opposites attract and all that) but in reality it didn't make him all that appealing. He sometimes came off as younger than I might have expected, too. He and Lexi are cute together, sure, but I wasn't feeling the chemistry very much, so you might say I was lukewarm about the romance. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun!) I'm not sure the romantic storyline was even that necessary.

A Tapestry of WordsThe "New Adult" aspect: she's just graduated recently from high school, so her voice is very much a teenager's. In fact, I'd argue at the beginning she sounds more like 16, but since she's rather immature to start with, this isn't surprising. By the end of the book her voice sounds more age-appropriate. I think this is definitely a New Adult book that would appeal to mid-to-older teens in particular, given the younger-sounding voice and the fact that there isn't a lot of mature content. 

If you haven't read it: pick it up if you're looking for something light, you don't mind a few obvious messages and cliched plot resolutions, and you've always secretly wondered how teen heiresses live. But this probably won't be the book for you if you're hoping to be blown away by twists and turns.

If you have read it: how many times did Lexi make you want to *facepalm*? 

Just one more thing I want to mention: I wish we'd seen some more at the beginning when she's trying out the first few jobs. I think her reaction would be the most extreme (and amusing) then, but several of them are just mentioned in passing and not shown in detail. 

Movie match: Maid to Order (1987). Okay, so it's not an exact match — there's no fairy godmother in 52 Reasons to Hate My Father — but it does involve a rich, spoiled daughter driving drunk and then being forced to become a maid. So there are some similarities!


I learned how to clean out a refrigerator! Hoorah!

Now there's something that's going to come in handy in my future. If I'm ever at a party and there's a life-or-death refrigerator-cleaning emergency, I've got it completely under control. Everyone else will be running around screaming their heads off and I'll be like, Don't panic! I've been properly trained!

Final verdict: 3.5 shooting stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC for review from the publisher.

This book counts towards my goal for the "New Adult" reading challenge and Just Contemporary reading challenge.


  1. Oooh, I'm glad to read your review of this as it's one I've been thinking of! It really could have gone either way, but it sounds like one I may enjoy. I'm worried about her snappy development into a better person, but I like snarky, and am a big fan of New Adult stuff, so I'm likely to give it a shot!

  2. This sounds like a fun book. I am going to add it to my tbr list. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the review :)


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