Review Blog

Sep 20 2013

Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein

cover image

Penguin (Australia), 2013. (First published in 1994). ISBN: 9780670076833.
Highly recommended. Robin Klein's novel Hating Alison Ashley is a fun contemporary classic aimed at younger readers but enjoyable for all. Using short concise sentences the author weaves a believable story for the reader of hope and jealousy. Only nineteen years since its first publication, this novel has achieved classic status.
Erica Yurken, the school hypochondriac, is ashamed of her pitiful excuse for a family and her town's reputation for producing dole bludgers and criminals; a vain middle child, Erica (also known as Yuk) becomes jealous when new girl, Alison Ashley starts at Barringa East. Alison is perfect. More perfect even than Yuk herself. What's more everyone knows it. Yuk is no longer the centre of attention, no longer the star student or cleverest kid in school. She decides to hate Alison Ashley for being perfect and rich. Alison is lucky, she has everything: the big house, the nice manners and even money for school trips. She is posh and sophisticated and a threat to Yuk's self esteem. However it is only at school camp that Yuk learns that money isn't everything. Alison isn't as lucky as her appearance suggests, she has a mother who doesn't want her and no squabbling family or friends to play with. Yuk begins to recognise the value of family life and realises that Alison may not be as snobbish as Yuk had first thought.
Using a simple story and incorporating the trials and problems of children the author creates believable and relatable characters, while reminding the reader of the mischievousness of youth. I would highly recommend this novel for all readers as it makes a nice change from the grim, serious-faced novels of today.
Kayla Gaskell (Student)

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