Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount is a novella about forgiveness and loss. Fourteen-year-old Mae lost her father and is struggling to cope with the aspects of his death. Her father died saving Mae's best friend, Heidi Foster, from a burning house. Heidi survived and Mae's dad didn't, a fact that causes Mae to resent Heidi. Mae can't help but ask, "Why?" Why did her father risk his life? Why didn't he wait for the firemen to come? Why is everyone consoling Heidi when it was Mae who lost her father?
Her father's death causes Mae to pull away from her friends and afterschool activities as she learns to grieve and come to terms with life without her father. She has the help of her grandparents and her mother as well as a collection of home videos that her father filmed. Watching these helps her remember her father and learn more about the kind of man he was.
The only thing I didn't like so much about this book was Mae's character. It was pretty obvious that this 14-year-old girl was being written by a middle-aged man. Some of the dialogue didn't ring true, and I'm pretty sure that teenagers today have no idea what AOL instant messenger is. That's from back in MY day! So I'm not sure how easy it will be for today's teens to latch onto this character and relate to her from that standpoint, but this is a short book that I think would be great for kids who are going through a similar situation as Mae: losing a loved one. The book demonstrates that everyone needs to grieve in their own way at their own pace. It's also a lesson in forgiveness and accepting the cards life has dealt you.
Hating Heidi Foster is available to purchase now. It is published by Alluvion Press. I received a free review copy in exchange for my honest review.