I’m sure for many of us it’s been years and years since we’ve even step foot in our old high schools, but doesn’t it sometimes feel like you’ve never left? Which is why it was easy for me to dive into the newest book from 90210 and Melrose Place writer Caprice Crane. Confessions of a Hater, which she describes as Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Nerds and is about a teen girl who takes on the popular clique, is out in stores today. I caught up with her for the backstory—read on!
Tell me about the inspiration behind the book!
Caprice Crane: I think there’s so much of that hierarchy stuff that starts at that age and really never stops—it just kind of morphs into different things as we become adults. I thought it was time for an updated version of that story.
Did you pull from your own high school experiences?
Crane: Some things were pulled directly from my high school years. I also did a lot of research: I went to high school, I spoke to students, I had an anonymous email where they could tell me what was going on with the promise that I would not repeat or use their names and that they wouldn’t get in trouble. So, I got legitimate goings-on of what these high school kids are going through. There’s so much bullying. The undercurrent of the book and the ultimate message is really anti-bullying. That’s a really important thing that we need to get out there, and I wanted to do it in a way that empowers the smart kids, the artistic kids, and the different people. I wanted them to be the heroes—really blur the lines between what’s cool.
So, how are your own high school experiences reflected in the book?
Crane: I didn’t have a clique, and I always felt…I would have been one of the “invisibles.” I always got along with people in different groups, but there wasn’t one that I was a part of. I never felt like I belonged to one clique—and that feeling of not having that security, it’s awful.
I think that’s the case for a lot more high schoolers than they might realize.
Crane: I wanted them to feel like they have a character so they could say, “Oh! So it’s not just me.” I think it is common, and it does feel crappy. There are those times when you’re eating your lunch somewhere off to the side or a party that you weren’t invited to—there’s always that not-good-enough feeling. And it happens as you grow up. I’m friends with cool people, but there will still be a situation where I’m excluded and it cuts.
What were some things the teens you talked to were dealing with the most?
Crane: Some kids were bullied, some kids just felt uncool. There’s a lot of bullying in a lot of different ways. [They talked about] some of the things that they do at parties and the different ways they’ll try to get drunk. I wanted the book to be real, so I did include certain things, but I always made sure there were consequences. I wanted to show, “Yeah, this is happening and it’s real, but maybe not-so-smart.”
What’s your advice for people who are bullied—or even people who are the ones bullying?
Crane: Any situation where you are purposefully trying to make someone feel bad is not good. That’s not a positive existence. When someone makes you feel bad and your knee-jerk reaction is to make them feel worse, then it just tends to escalate. When does it stop? It gets dangerous and ugly. Not everybody is going to get along. Not everybody is going to like you or be nice, but you need to have confidence in yourself and know that’s OK. Maybe I don’t like them either, and this person over here likes me. Making sure you have your own self-esteem intact is the most important thing. Building self-esteem from non-aesthetic things is also really important—using your brain or using your creativity, and not what you wear.
The book hit shelves today—pick up a copy!