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This Is Why They Hate Us

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Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.

Luckily, Quique’s prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straight-laced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.

But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published August 23, 2022

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About the author

Aaron H. Aceves

1 book216 followers
Aaron H. Aceves (he/him) is a bisexual, Mexican-American writer born and raised in East L.A. He graduated from Harvard College and received his MFA from Columbia University. His fiction has appeared in jmww, Epiphany, and them., among other places. He currently lives in Texas, where he serves as an Early Career Provost Fellow at UT Austin, and his debut novel, This Is Why They Hate Us, was released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. He can be found on Twitter/TikTok @aaronhaceves and Instagram @aaronaceves.

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5 stars
682 (41%)
4 stars
573 (35%)
3 stars
260 (15%)
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85 (5%)
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29 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 424 reviews
Profile Image for Aaron Aceves.
Author 1 book216 followers
January 2, 2023
Funny, touching, gay af. Need I say more?

Edit (8/3/21): I'll say more. If you don't laugh and cry at least once while you read this, I have failed as an author.

Edit (12/20/21): I should have this book memorized by now. But it still makes me emotional.

Edit (3/25/22): I started reading my book again on Feb 7 when I got my physical ARCs and it's taken me a really long time to read it because I'VE READ IT SIX MILLION TIMES. But today I received my first ever trade review (a star from Booklist!) which motivated me to speed through the last 80 pages on a plane today. I ended up going to the bathroom to cry. I'm so proud of this book and even though I kinda hate it because I'VE READ IT SIX MILLION TIMES, I think about how other people who've never read it are gonna love it and that makes me really happy. Anyway. I will read this again (multiple times prolly) before it comes out this year and I'm curious to see how it fares then. Till then.

Edit 6/2/22: I think this is the last time I'll read this book before it comes out. Wow. I'm a little emotional so I'll refraining from bashing it (because I'VE READ IT SEVEN MILLION TIMES). I'm proud of it, and look! It's Pride month! Would ya look at that.

Edit 8/17/22: This audiobook! Alejandro Ruiz did such a great job bringing Quique to life. This is the first time I've read the book without trying to edit it (though I did find a number of typos I hope we can correct in additional printings if that happens), so that was nice.
Profile Image for Aiden Thomas.
Author 8 books7,017 followers
August 24, 2022
Aaron Aceves is a breakout new voice in YA that’s equal parts lyrical and hilarious. THIS IS WHY THEY HATE US is an earnest story full of heart and heartache that explores how terrifying it is to share every part of yourself with someone and the complexity of juggling multiple identities. THIS IS WHY THEY HATE US shows us how even though we may feel unlovable, we're all are deserving of love, without stipulations or needing to earn it.
Profile Image for Marieke (mariekes_mesmerizing_books).
468 reviews274 followers
January 8, 2023
This is Why They Hate Us was one of my most anticipated 2022 reads, and I don’t even know why. Maybe because of the intriguing title, because of the stunning bisexual cover, or because of the compelling synopsis?

What I do know is that I was scared to start reading this book. But I hadn’t need to worry. This book is just like the cover, beautifully bisexual, even though Quique has only eyes for boys. He already knows what it’s like to be with girls and wants to know that feeling with boys too. I loved to read his honest thoughts on relationships now and in the future.

TIWTHU is not only about being queer and dating or hooking up with guys. It’s about so much more. It’s about friendship, about expectations, about being who you want to be, about anxiety and depression. It’s not a fluffy story; it’s raw and frank and felt really personal to me.

After reading the first page, the corners of my mouth pulled up and I immediately felt like I arrived home. That scene with Mr. Chastman, arghhh! So good! Tears suddenly ran down my face while reading the last part of the story and a knot formed in my stomach. Eventually that knot fell apart in a million little pieces from relief and I closed my Kindle with a content smile on my face.

Yes, Aaron, I laughed, and I cried, not only once, but far more often. I loved the mental rep (be aware of the trigger warnings, though!!) and the subtle reference to Quique’s not so perfect body. While I was reading, another queer YA title flashed through my mind, And They Lived … by Steven Salvatore, a book I cherish. I believe if you loved that one, you’ll love TIWTHU too. It’s just as good!

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for booksandzoe.
263 reviews1,678 followers
August 23, 2022
Some of the best bi rep I’ve ever read? This book is tender, filled with longing, and so gorgeous.

This isn't a story of self discovery; Quique knows that he's bi before the book begins and the story focuses more on his relationship to his sexuality, coming out to those which he's scared to, and his journey with coupling his mental health struggles with his need to feel validated and loved by others. This is a messy story of self discovery, but in a way that I found super unique, especially for the queer YA genre. Dare I compare it to… Ophelia After All my fave YA book of all time?? I definitely think fans of OAA will love this book.

There were some (albeit rare) instances in this book where the writing felt very unrealistic to the way teens speak, which took me out of the story a bit, though I would say this author does a better job than most YA writers on that front. There were also moments in this story in which the writing quality wasn't the /best/, which only stood out because the rest of the story had really good writing. For instance, there were a couple times when the setting wasn't super clear, so I couldn't paint the best picture in my mind while reading and my timeline was a bit confused. Still, I want to emphasize that the story was so totally awesome that I don't want my small criticisms to discourage anybody from reading this book.

I also wished the book was longer, because the pacing felt a bit rushed at times--though that could just be me not wanting the book to be over because I related to so many parts. This book helped me discover parts of myself that I hadn't been able to name, especially on the mental health/relationships front, and I didn't want it to end lol! Aceves read me to filth and I just wanted him to KEEP reading me, basically.

Since I am an ownvoices bisexual reviewer, I would be amiss if I didn't mention it! I thought the author did a wonderful job. The main character only romantically pursues other boys, though the reason for that is discussed and reflected upon often, and I could totally relate to the main characters reasons. I also enjoyed the way Quique found mentor figures and how he turned to queer fiction. His connection to one queer book in particular (CMBYN but BASHING OCCURS. That book is not romanticized in this story.) was so beautifully written and /god/ I just related to it so MUCH, such an important moment to occur in this story.

I'm sorry this review was so incoherent, hopefully people understand the jist of what I'm saying. While I wish this book was so much longer, I still really loved it. Quique was such a relatable character and the author felt so authentic not only in the way sexuality was discussed but also just writing for the Gen-Z canon. I'm feeling a bit itchy after finishing just because i want so much more lol, but that's probably a good thing? WRITE A SEQUEL PLEASEEEEEEEEEE
Profile Image for Ella Styles.
5 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2022
I had very low expectations for this book as I did not know much about it, and it still managed to miss the bar by a mile.

I am not one to criticize a book just to criticize it, or for the sake of being contrary. I am very critical of everything I read, but at the end of the day I can disregard most of the things I find wrong with the book because the overall picture overshadowed the bad or the mistakes. This book is different, and very very deserving of criticism that I have not seen from anyone else.

To begin, I would like to point out that this book was a bit too explicit to really be considered young adult. There were a lot of sexual scenes that I was very uncomfortable listening to, especially because I had absolutely no idea they would be included. That, however, is the least of my issues with this book.

My main issue with This is Why They Hate Us was a glaring one, and it was the borderline (or, let's face it, blatant) pedophilic ideas it pretty much praised. First of all, the book Call Me By Your Name was praised by the main character despite being a very problematic book that promotes unhealthy age gaps in MLM relationships, as well as being written by an author that is literally an admitted pedophile. This was challenged a little later in the book by Mr. Chastman, but the main character Enrique didn’t seem to get the message and didn’t denounce the book at all. Worse than that is what happened after Enrique found out that his friend whom he had just hooked up with often used dating apps to find men in the area. Enrique creates a profile later when he is feeling lonely, lying and saying that he is twenty-one despite being seventeen. He starts chatting with an older man and makes plans to meet up with him and drink, hoping to hook up. The man he meets up with ends up being his English teacher, Mr. Chastman, which is horrifying in itself, but what was more horrifying was that Enrique was invited into Mr. Chastman’s house afterward and proceeded to stay there for hours, flirting with his teacher, outing his friends, and even going on a long thought-tangent about how he would hook up with his teacher if he was down and that he wished his teacher would just kiss him or initiate something. I almost had to stop listening to the book. Besides the obvious inappropriateness of the teacher inviting his student inside in the context that he did, the conversations that happened were disgusting. Mr. Chastman even speaks about sexual things to his student and gives him advice that crosses a boundary.

This book was also extremely oversexualized, considering it was about a minor. Minors have sex, that’s a fact. But in this book, it was not only described in way too much detail but it was just way too much in general. There was no conversation about safe sex or the dangers of not engaging in such. There was also no conversation of consent, within a sexual context or else. Enrique and his partners never ask for consent, except for maybe one time. Enrique just kisses people or starts sexual acts without checking to see if it is okay first, which sets a terrible example for anyone reading the book.

I hated the way that this book dealt with the topic of mental illness, too. Enrique was constantly referring to himself as ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ and acted as if being mentally ill was the worst thing that could ever happen. As a mentally ill person, I hated this representation. Mental illness manifests differently in everyone, of course, but this just reinforced stigmas that have surrounded depression and did nothing to normalize it. Mental illness was used as a plot point, rather than a truly important part of Enrique. There was also a part of the story where Enrique finally confesses his struggle with suicidal ideation to his best friend Fabiola, and she literally just asks him how he would’ve killed himself and then tells him that his way of choice was a good one. That is a terrible thing to say and is especially bad for mentally ill people reading this book that could take that as an encouragement to go through with that method. Keep in mind that this book contained no trigger warnings that I know of.

My last big issue was with Fabiola, Enrique’s best friend. Despite being bisexual herself, she constantly makes inappropriate jokes at Enrique’s expense. She fetishizes him and makes terribly inappropriate and sexual comments about him, going as far as to say she’s going to “beat off” to the thought of him doing something sexual with a guy and then getting mad at Enrique when he says that’s gross. Her comments go beyond what is okay for friends to say to each other, yet her behavior is never challenged in the text. She also is ignorant about mental health issues and encourages Enrique to do things that will be harmful to him.

As for small issues, I don’t feel the need to elaborate on: the book perpetuates the idea that there is a way to “look” gay; there is no mention of asexual people and the book promotes the idea that everyone is interested in sex and that you aren’t “normal” if you don’t have that interest; there is no discernable plot (or at best the plot is all over the place); Enrique’s relationship with Saleem was not developed whatsoever; there are a lot of storylines that are never finished; there are no non-cisgender characters; and the voices that the audiobook narrator gave to the female characters felt vaguely misogynistic.

Tl;dr, this book was awful and awfully problematic. I would not recommend it to my worst enemy. 1.25/5 stars, and that’s being generous. I am almost never this harsh in my reviews for books, but I was horribly offended by this book and after much thought I feel that this review was warranted.

That being said, thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the ARC.
Profile Image for Liam.
18 reviews1 follower
October 24, 2022
I’m sorry to be the party pooper here but I have never been more disappointed. I wanted so badly to like this book because of the Palestinian love interest, but I wish I had DNFed it. I kept reading until the end because I wanted to find something that would redeem it, but it just never worked for me.

What I did like:

Palestinian rep and mentions of the history, as well as current events in Palestine.

Latinx and Afro-Latina characters.

The cover art is gorgeous.

What I did not like:

The writing was a mess:

The writing style and much of the dialogue was incredibly juvenile, cringy, and very problematic. There are also a few distracting and mostly unnecessary flashback scenes that were so long I forgot what was happening before they started. There were quite a few unnecessary scenes in general and the story would have flowed better and not have dragged on so long had they been omitted.

The Christian main character’s frequent mentions of “God” and “His” plan were frankly exasperating. That might not be an issue for some, but understand that for those who have had deeply negative experiences with the church and deal with religious trauma, it can be off putting. I know that’s a personal problem, so it’s just a warning for those who might want to avoid reading it. The religious aspect to the book did not factor into my rating.

MC makes an unnecessary comment bashing Satanists. His best friend’s ex was unpleasant so that must mean she’s a Satanist?

Jokes at lesbians' expense:

“You’re drier than a lesbian watching Magic Mike.”

Arturo: demands Enrique and the guy he’s dating name their first adopted child after him.

Enrique: “Chill, we’ve only been together a week.”

Arturo: “Right, you’re not lesbians.”

Terrible bisexual rep imo:

MC was literally “turned on” by everyone he found “hot” from his own friends, classmates, his teacher (he seriously hit on his 31 year old teacher more than once), tv personalities, servers, one love interest's dad, one love interest's potential girlfriend/wife, librarian, random people in public... The only people he didn’t show some attraction to or have opinions on their appearance were his own parents. Fabiola is not much better, but I’ll get to the issues I had with her character. I had a huge problem with how oversexualized bisexuality was portrayed in this book. I get it, they’re supposed to be horny teenagers, but this was beyond excessive and played into harmful stereotypes.

Also, despite being bi, Enrique only pursued guys because he said he would most likely want a serious (real) relationship and start a family with a woman in the future (because it would be easier) so he wanted to experience being with guys while he was young. This is very homophobic and invalidating. The author is bisexual and very clearly Christian so I don’t know if there’s some internalized homophobia and “traditional marriage" bullshit reflected in his writing but this is not good representation. Not to mention it's sexist as hell.

Misogynistic language and poorly depicted female characters:

Constantly using “pussy” as a derogatory term and calling a girl “cunt” did not make it less misogynistic because a female character was doing it.

Other than Enrique’s mother there were only three female characters with dialogue.


MC’s best friend. For the first 25% of the book, she was okay. She was a fun, supportive (but with her own personality that didn’t revolve around Enrique), bisexual, Afro-Latina who encouraged him to get over his feelings for Saleem by getting with one of the other guys he had a crush on. But the first time Enrique worked up the nerve to actually make a move on one of the guys, Fabiola interrupted them, threw herself at the guy, and hooked up with him instead. She did it because she was upset that her own crush hadn’t texted her back... So, she selfishly decided to fuck over her best friend knowing how much he wanted to have his first queer experience? That was after having pushed him into going for it with the guy in the first place! The fact that Enrique basically immediately forgave her was infuriating. I get that teenagers are messy and make mistakes but doing that to your friend is pretty shitty and a major red flag.

Fabiola, like Enrique was also hypersexualized. Not only did she cockblock her best friend to steal a hookup for herself, she was constantly making crude sexual comments, as well as fetishizing Enrique/MLM. After finding out about a sexual experience Enrique had with a guy, Fabiola tells him that she’s going to “beat off” imagining it. Later in the book, she watches Enrique putting sunscreen on Saleem at the beach and announces that it made her so hot that she needed to cool down in the ocean. Gross.

She also had a flippant reaction to finding out about Enrique’s mental health issues. When he eventually confessed to her that he thought about committing suicide, she asked how he would have killed himself and when he tells her, she responded, “Ooh-hoo-hoo. Gnarly.”


Fabiola’s “crazy” ex-girlfriend made a random appearance only long enough to behave the way a jilted teen girl being written by a cisman would act. Which means she made a few generic rude comments before flashing Enrique and Fabiola her sexy bra (described in detail. Creepy.) in the middle of a mall. Because girls definitely do that.


Fabiola’s girlfriend didn’t get much page time but got to say brilliant things like, “I don’t want to get seaweed in my pussy.” So there's that.

MC kept outing people:

Enrique told multiple people, usually in detail, about every gay encounter he had with one of the guys (none of them were out). He even outed his English teacher! Just because he only told his therapist and other queer people didn’t make it okay.

Other things that didn’t sit right with me:

Enrique’s conversations (and behavior) with his English teacher were completely inappropriate. Everything to do with using the dating app and Enrique and Manny claiming to be 21. If they were going to lie about their age anyway, why not just say they were 18? Oh, that's right, because then the author couldn't have reasonably justified the meet-cute Enrique had with his 31 year old English teacher through the app... His interactions with his therapist were unrealistic. His mental health issues were addressed poorly. The random mass shooting fantasy he had while watching a movie with his mom. Enrique’s parents encouraging underage drinking (he’s 17).

I'm going to stop because there was just so much I didn't like.

Updated: After posting, I reconsidered and decided to increase my one star rating to two. I’m giving it an extra star specifically because of the inclusion of Palestinian history. Although the mentions were brief, I understand that as a Mexican-American it was not Aceves' story to tell. However, if helps make some readers more aware of the apartheid then it's significant.
Profile Image for afternoonsunjeans.
109 reviews65 followers
Want to read
June 17, 2021
combining queer chaos with teeny confusion and binding it up in a beautiful little bow that is the dysfunctional, anxiety-ridden lush mental landscape of a closeted qpoc kid in denial,,,, and the cover is like a translation of vibrating, quiet summer evenings. sigh. i really wanna read this rn.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,302 reviews384 followers
September 7, 2022
Had high expectations for this and it didnt disappoint one bit!
Profile Image for Laynie Rose.
81 reviews791 followers
February 19, 2022
Aceves' writing is a spark of warmth held close to the chest. It carves a hole in your heart and nestles there, promising to stay there. I loved how literary, thoughtful, and hilarious the writing was. I loved how internal the writing was, following Quique's thoughts, his dreams, his heart. Quique, who is absolutely in my top ten favorite fictional characters. He felt so real, so raw, so messy and relatable. I wanted to scoop him up into a giant hug, protect him from the world. (And also, sit his ass down and talk some sense into him at times.) I loved all of the side characters, Quique's romantic "prospects," his friends, his family, the people he surrounded himself with. It was a wonderful cast of characters, that you fall in and out of love with alongside Quique. This story knocked me off my feet and grounded me all in the same breath, particularly in regards to the mental health journey that Quique goes on. The trigger warnings for this book (anxiety, depression, disassociation, suicidal ideation) are normally things that will make me put a book down, things I can't emotionally handle. But I placed my trust in the author, let myself trust in the story, and I found that I felt... taken care of. I felt like a warm blanket was being wrapped around my shoulders, and I gained some free therapy because of it. Parts of the story that normally would send me into a spiral of my own kept me tied to the pages, kept me pushing forward in the story, and experiencing a teary eyed emotional catharsis because of it. This is one that will send your heart soaring, your head spinning, and your hand reaching out to hold tight to those you love. Everyone desperately, desperately needs to read this one.
Profile Image for akacya ❦.
913 reviews137 followers
October 13, 2022
quique has one goal for this summer: get over his crush on his friend, saleem, by pursuing other romantic prospects. but he soon realizes that finding someone to replace saleem might not be as easy as he thought.

this book was funny/cringey at times which i need more of in books lol. some of the parts had me literally gasping bc of shock😭 i loved it though haha.

as for our main character, i loved quique so much🫶 i enjoyed getting to know him and go on this journey with him!

highly recommend to ya readers (:
Profile Image for Haunna.
332 reviews36 followers
October 14, 2022
There are a lot of things I liked about this book but I think it has some serious problems.

I think it did a great job of representing mental health and intrusive thoughts. I liked the inclusion of treatment options and it being part of Enrique‘s growth. I think the bisexual representation was good although considering he had hook ups and sex with a multitude characters in the span of a few weeks….I do think it leans pretty heavily into that bisexual hyper sexualization stereotype.

My biggest issues with this book is first that it is marketed as YA and specifically on Simon and Schuster‘s website as 14 years plus. I think this book is far more adult than that. There are MULTIPLE graphic sexual scenes.

Additionally I think it was trying to include too many things so it didn’t execute them all well. Social commentary included: mental health, bi-erasure, homophobia, islamophobia, mass shootings, abusive partner relationship, suicidal ideation, adult relationships with minors (aka pedophilia), racism and like 5 things I’m forgetting.

That adult relationship with a minor part made me especially uncomfortable. Enrique trying to get with his teacher after being told no multiple times was extremely discomforting.

Rep: Latino MC, bisexual MC
Profile Image for Lance.
472 reviews144 followers
January 5, 2023
4.5 stars. Heartwarming in its best friends to lovers love story and genuine in its exploration of what it’s like to be a young queer boy of color, This is Why They Hate Us reminds me why I even years out of high school I still love YA contemporary.
Profile Image for Ann Zhao.
Author 1 book132 followers
June 27, 2022
I love this book so much. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how YA characters need to be allowed to make terrible mistakes because that’s just how teenagers are, and boy, does Aaron H. Aceves not shy away from that. Quique is extremely messy, but he’s just trying his best, and with the help of his friends and family, he’s able to learn and grow and become happier, and I love that for him. The exploration of mental health in this book was well-needed—I appreciate when novels show characters going to therapy and talking through their issues. This book is absolutely not to miss!
Profile Image for Shelby (allthebooksalltheways).
399 reviews88 followers
September 4, 2022
(from my Booksta)


•𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗛𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗨𝘀
•𝗕𝘆 𝗔𝗮𝗿𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝗰𝗲𝘃𝗲𝘇
•𝗣𝘂𝗯: 𝗔𝘂𝗴 𝟮𝟯, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮
•𝟰𝟬𝟬 𝗽𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀

⭐⭐⭐⭐ • 4/5 stars

•𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝗱𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝗙𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻

⚠️ 𝙲𝚑𝚎𝚌𝚔 𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛 𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 ⚠️

◾𝗦𝘆𝗻𝗼𝗽𝘀𝗶𝘀: Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.

Luckily, Quique’s prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straight-laced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.

But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost.

💭 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀: This is Why They Hate is an important book about coming out and the impact that has on a teenager's mental health and relationships. And while I am not the target audience for this one, I know this will be relatable for many people -- particularly queer teens. TBH I'd recommend this to non-queer folks as well. Like I tell my kids, it's so important to read about people with different lived experiences so that we can develop more empathy and understanding, which ultimately makes us better humans and better allies.💕

Solid debut!! 👏 I look forward to seeing what this author writes next!

👉𝗤𝗢𝗧𝗗: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁'𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿?
Profile Image for Alienne.
161 reviews16 followers
August 30, 2022
2.5 stars. The word I keep coming back to, trying to describe this book, is "messy" - as in, a hot mess. I had fun reading, but This Is Why They Hate Us also solidified my suspicion that I really need to take a break from teen lit.

There are a lot of fun characters here, which I think is the book's main strength. Enrique is, again, a hot mess, but in a way that feels pretty real for a teenager. I love that he's bisexual (and insists on being called such), and his struggles with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation hit really close to home. His inner voice is extremely chaotic - a descriptor so accurate they put it on a blurb on the front cover - and while it could get obnoxious at times, it was mostly fun to watch him ramble on. I liked a lot of the side characters, especially Manny, Enrique's parents and Mr. Chastman; Saleem comes across as underdeveloped, a little too ~perfect cinnamon roll~, but liked him too. And there was definitely enough drama to keep the pages turning.

On the other hand! For a book ostensibly about one disaster teen's romantic drama, This Is Why They Hate Us had a Lot going on. There's Enrique's crush on Saleem, his relationships with Manny, Ziggy, Tyler and budding friendships with Arturo and Mr. Chastman, Fabiola and her own plethora of romantic drama, Enrique's fear that he's hiding some part of himself from literally all of these people, his struggles with mental health and therapy, all sprinkled with observations about racism and homo/biphobia and religion and stigma around mental illness...and there are absolutely other plot threads I've forgotten because there were just too many. Astonishingly, a lot of these things were at least fleshed out to the point where I still cared, but I feel like if the author had just focused on a handful instead of throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, the book would've been stronger.

A huge chunk of the plot is about sex, obviously. One thread I liked a lot was seeing Enrique slowly gain more self-respect through his different sexual relationships; he tries casual sex and ultimately realizes it's not what he wants, which is a character arc I haven't seen before in teen lit and I enjoyed. At the same time, it started to feel like these characters were obsessed with sex - which, yeah, they're teenagers, but come on. Examples include: Enrique goes to a theme park with his two best friends and literally cannot focus on anything except how hot the two of them are (one excerpt: "I get slightly aroused watching them eat"); Fabiola makes several totally supportive and not at all objectifying comments about Enrique being with other boys (from "I am so going to beat off to that tonight" to "I got hot watching that" - such a normal way to talk about your friends!); Enrique gets over the embarrassment of Grindr matching with his teacher immediately and makes inappropriate jokes to the point where said teacher threatens, multiple times, to throw him out ("Something tells me you don't have a sensitive gag reflex" among many others, because that's a great way to interact with a grown man who's already pointed out that this situation makes him Super Uncomfortable)...yeah, so maybe the bisexual representation (TM) here isn't as great as it could be. (To be clear, I'm not talking about desiring sex; I'm talking about these characters being fucking weirdos about it.)

I think the above comments help illustrate my biggest issue here: this book has a very skewed (to my eyes) view of which words/actions/microaggressions are considered okay, even justifiable, and which aren't. Like, Fabiola repeatedly calls her ex "crazy" and Enrique calls her out because the word makes him, a mentally ill person, uncomfortable, but her repeated fetishizing of his same-sex relationships doesn't merit a mention. Enrique spends many pages dissecting his fraught relationship to his bisexuality re: society, his religion, etc., and incidentally has no problem treating his sexual "prospects" as boxes to check off, but when Tyler is an ass about reciprocating, Enrique bitterly decides that it's because Tyler is in denial about his sexuality and wants to "ignore his reality" and "bypass oppression" - none of which is backed up by the narrative, and none of which ever comes up again because Tyler disappears from the story. This all comes hand in hand with comments putting "MLM and WLW" on a pedestal as "the best of friends", as evidenced by Enrique and Fabiola (despite the lying, the jealousy, the weird sexual comments, and her getting it on with a guy she knew Enrique wanted), or this incredible exchange that almost made me put the book down at page 39:

[She says] "But you have to stop being a pussy."
I snort. "You're right [...] But isn't saying it that way internalized misogyny? Even though a vagina does not a woman make?"
"We both know it is. Which is why I feel comfortable saying it."
"Like how I call things gay in a derogatory way because we both know that queer stuff is better?"

I am not exaggerating when I say I stalled on the above dialogue for a full minute. Just staring and trying to make sense of how this got published. It's such a perfect encapsulation of No One Talks Like This, combined with flat-out saying that "gay" as an insult is totally fine as long as it's cool "queer" people doing it. The vibe I've been getting from certain teen lit lately is that "gay" is no longer a sufficiently oppressed identity to merit any consideration, so maybe I shouldn't be shocked that our protagonists say this shit - and yet this book also has bisexual Enrique remark on how hurtful specifically anti-gay slurs are, includes Arturo as a gay character who was assaulted for his sexuality, and Mr. Chastman as a gay man observing things are both "better and worse" than they were when he was a teen, so I'm forced to conclude that this author knows better. So are "gay" and "queer" interchangeable here? Like, "gay stuff is better so I'm being sarcastic"?? I will literally add another star to my rating if that turns out to be the case! Clumsily written solidarity is 1000% better than outright homophobia, which - I cannot emphasize this enough - is what this sounds like.

So, tl;dr? There were a lot of things to enjoy about this book, and teenage me probably would have adored it. But as an adult, the things that perplexed/pissed me off overshadowed them.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Pan.
4 reviews
October 13, 2022
Didn't finish at probably 80%.

This book has many problems including the oversexualization of bisexual people as well as sexism and some fairly explicit sex scenes that do not belong in a YA novel. But what finally made me give up on it was the main character Quique's answer to his dad asking why he's going for guys over girls (because bi people wanting to have sex equally with every attractive guy and girl is leaned into very hard in this book). This was his response:

"I think I've always been subconsciously aware that in the future, when I'm older, when it comes time for me to take relationships more seriously, to maybe start a family, I'll probably seek out a woman. Because that'll be easier. On my family and on myself. I guess I'm focused on guys at this point in my life because I know any relationship that begins now or in the next few years most likely won't be permanent."

He does go on to acknowledge that he shouldn't be treating women as a backup plan; however, the fact that it's still his motivation because he cares more about conforming to social and religious norms, and that the author chose to write it that way is not okay.

It is so deeply wrong and harmful. It implies that same-sex relationships are purely sexual and that queer families are less valid and not worth having. It's biphobic. It's very homophobic. And treating women like they're baby making factories once he's done sowing his oats with men is absolutely sexist.

Furthermore, why would anyone invest their time in reading in order to root for the endgame romance of the novel (Quique/Saleem) after learning that he's already planning an apple pie life with a random woman in the future to make his parents and other bigots happy?

Honestly, the book probably has some of the worst bisexual representation I have ever read and is a massive disappointment.
Profile Image for dovesnook.
468 reviews101 followers
January 4, 2023
4.5 ⭐️ Please check TWs/CWs before reading because Aceves addresses several tough topics.

This Is Why They Hate Us is so much more than a book about the fluffy romantic life of a bisexual Mexican-American high schooler. Starting with the fact that’s it’s not very fluffy and much more messy and complicated. It opens up a line of conversation between so many cross sectional topics like religion and homophobia, sexuality and mental health, dating apps and grooming, racism and machismo, parenthood and societal expectations, etc etc etc. All with naturally occurring conversations, even if they made me go 😩 from time to time. Quique is a well written character with a clear but also developing personality and I truly believed he was a teen. Nothing took away from this beautiful story but a looot of things happened in this book!

I’m left having to pick up the tissues from the floor and it’ll definitely take some time to gather my scattered thoughts. Definitely worth a read and so absolutely valuable to today’s teens.

Aaron H. Aceves produced a stunning debut novel.

I do wish that the issue with the teacher was addressed better.
Profile Image for Nora.
341 reviews13 followers
September 27, 2022
i kept seeing people say this is awesome and like i was intrigued, i took my time to start it because i was watching a show and i wanted to give this my full attention. Anyway, IT DIDN'T DISAPPOINT OH MY GOD. THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I'VE READ IN A WHILE. top 5 this year i think.
Let's talk about quique my beloved, who felt so close, so ridiculously close to me, his struggles and his desires. I too was the English Teacher's pet (bi people things i guess?) AND I LOVED HIS DAD that whole i noticed thing just made me AAAAAAAA God bless that man and his coronas. And the therapy, god knows i get him, what he's going through (the suicide ideation of it all, yea same quique)
And Saleem? My love? THE FIRST ARAB character I've read about, arab like me, insane actually, smart smart boy, nice, nice boy. I just? ik I'd befriend him, he seems great. My babies i didn't think it would happen, i thought this would be a tale of friendship but they've proven me wrong (just as I'd hoped)
Fab and Molly my loves, THIS BOOK NEEDED WOMEN and i thank God that they were this charming.
i don't like ziggy and tyler (but props for not outing my boy i guess)
MANNY, vato, i say it with love, you're so so great? Their relationship was actually essential for Que's character arc i just know!
And Arturo? Baby, deserves all the love in the world in ucla hopefully <3
Mr chastman, who is definitely chaste, points for the guru-fication of English teachers, because again, i get it.
And ALL THE GREAT LITERATURE(&MEDIA) IN THIS BOOK and how it absolutely dragged cmbyn
I loved every part of this book and i hope everyone who picks it up enjoys it as much as i did<3
Profile Image for LGBT Representation in Books.
276 reviews70 followers
August 20, 2022
Trigger Warnings: Church, homophobia, skinny dipping, cursing, bullying, therapy, past mental breakdown, mental illness, masturbation, alcohol, gambling, past off page hate crime, weed, racism, micro aggressions, coming out, biphobia, nudity, sex, suicidal ideation, underage drinking, mentions of mass shootings, Islamophobia, violence, religion

Representation: Bisexual, Mexican, Muslim, Palestinians, Mental Health, Biracial, Gay

This is Why They Hate Us is a young adult contemporary romance about Enrique (Quique)’s summer break before senior year. Quique is trying to get over his crush on his friend, Saleem, who he is not out to. While Saleem heads to LA for the summer, Quique pursues other romantic interests to help forget him. Soon he realizes this plan may not be as fool-proof as he thought.

This ALC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have never related to a book more than this one. It honestly felt like the author went into my soul and put all of my feelings into words for me. This story was so enjoyable and Quique is probably one of the most realistic characters I have ever met.

Not only is Quique an amazing character, but his side characters are awesome too. I loved Fabiola and Saleem, and his parents were awesome too! I also loved his teacher! I knew it would be him! But I genuinely loved their interactions and I loved the gender swapped version of the stereotypical lesbian crushing on their English teacher!

This book is funny and sex positive, but it is also a huge spotlight on mental health. The author writes about Quique’s struggles in such an honest manner. Quique’s suicidal ideations are authentic and handled in a very caring manner. The author includes these, as well as therapy in such an important way and shows how these can be very hard, they are also not solo experiences. I truly commend Aaron for his writing and can only imagine what his next book will be. There’s only up from here and he has already smashed this one out of the park!
Profile Image for Alyssa.
104 reviews4 followers
December 8, 2020
im super interested in this book, but a little apprehensive at the same time. as a bi person i just hope this book doesn't fall into the bi-person-only-shows-attraction-to-one-gender trope i see literally all the time in the few pieces of media that include bi people. i have hope though.
Profile Image for sol✯.
739 reviews111 followers
Shelved as 'mehhhh-maybe'
June 18, 2021
it is gay and that is reason enough for it to be on my radar
Profile Image for Mariko -.
206 reviews13 followers
September 22, 2022
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an audio ALC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

This was a roller coaster ride of a book and I think the ride was so worth it. It’s a perfect example of why queer contemporary YA is so important and why representation and #OwnVoices is so necessary.

As a bi person, this book felt so real and relatable and did such a wonderful job of unpacking biphobia, internalized and external, as well as showing the joy and fun that comes with being bisexual as well— and to get so many bi characters in one book! I loved it. As a person who has also dealt with chronic mental illness since adolescence, Quique’s journey with his mental health also felt properly and sensitively executed. I adored his conversations with Luciana and loved the perspective that she brought to the novel.

There were some moments where I found myself cringing or feeling like the writing was a bit TMI (I didn’t love the internal monologues re: penis size, masturbation, and bodily functions) but I also think a teenage guy reading this might find it really relatable, which is who this book is for, so this is obviously more of a personal preference thing.

Overall, a great novel with beautifully rendered characters and a lasting message. Funny, heartfelt, and a stellar audiobook narrator performance. Plus the cover is gorgeous!
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