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Why I Loathe Sterling Lane

Review

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane

From Ingrid Paulson comes a new contemporary young adult novel, WHY I LOATHE STERLING LANE.

Meet Harper Campbell. Harper is a quirky, unusual girl who has a list of 537 rules that she lives, eats and breathes by. Harper has the whole student handbook memorized, and is very quick to tattle on any student who breaks one of its rules. Subsequently, this has led to Harper being an outcast and not too well liked, except by her twin brother, Cole. He is the captain of their boarding school’s lacrosse team and is admired by the student body. Harper’s most important rule is to take care of her brother, which is a promise she made to their mother after she passed away when they were young. So when Cole finds himself in a tough financial situation after making a promise he could not keep, Harper tries comes to his aid.

Enter Sterling Lane. Expelled from every school he has been to, Sterling is the new transfer student and a classified rule-breaker. Walking into class late, he is immediately on Harper’s bad side after breaking Rule 10: Never be tardy to class. Seeing how much he gets under her skin, Sterling makes Harper the main target of his scheming. While showing his charismatic and charming side to everyone else, he is conniving and threatening to Harper. Harper sees right through his facade and plans to avoid him at all costs, until she finds out that he is also Cole’s new roommate.

"WHY I LOATHE STERLING LANE is an eventful book full of devilishly funny prank wars, back and forth drama and a twin sibling love that is strong."

Seeing Sterling is unavoidable and they go back and forth plotting against each other. Harper notices Sterling has his reins on Cole, just like he does everyone else. With Cole unable to see her side of the story, Harper feels further from her brother than ever and she knows something is up. Even the headmaster and teachers are under Sterling’s spell. With Cole getting into more trouble at the hand of Sterling, Harper is infuriated and vows to get rid of Sterling and save her brother, even if it means breaking some of her precious rules. What Harper doesn’t know is that Sterling is trying to help her brother, but she ends up digging herself deeper into his bad side. Through all the back and forth banter, the reader will find themselves infuriated one second and laughing the next. Of course, the hint of romance lingers throughout the book, but it isn’t the main factor, which is refreshing.

WHY I LOATHE STERLING LANE has a multitude of great components. Through character development, we see growth between the characters and within themselves. Harper, who is closed off and follows the rules, slowly opens up and make friends while still staying true to herself. She realizes that while sometimes it’s okay to always have a plan and follow the rules, it’s also okay to be spontaneous. The plot was interesting and engaging throughout the whole book. It is rare for a character to stir an emotion within me, but Paulson had me feeling many emotions while reading, and that really resonated with me. This book also has a balance of dark and light. Paulson includes important topics such as bullying, but always manages to keep her tone light instead of brooding and dark. I also really enjoyed the minor characters and while their roles were minute, their purpose was major in the growth of Harper and the story.

Being so different than the main character, I often found it hard to relate to her, but I think that is one reason that the book so entertaining. While there is nothing wrong with a good cliché romance, this novel brought a fresh and fun take on a contemporary love story. The progression between Harper and Sterling is enjoyable, seeing the obvious turn from hate to love. WHY I LOATHE STERLING LANE is an eventful book full of devilishly funny prank wars, back and forth drama and a twin sibling love that is strong. This book is a wonderful read that I recommend to anyone who loves a unique young adult novel.

Reviewed by Natalia Olivera on July 27, 2017

Why I Loathe Sterling Lane
by Ingrid Paulson