I first heard of this book as a movie coming out staring (Delta Goodrem) as Alison Ashley in her debut film role. I thought that Delta's performance was fantastic but I'd never read the book. I'd suggest reading the book first -- not that the film isn't very good but I think the book has a lot more in it that the movie didn't cover due to time constraints etc.
Hating Alison Ashley is a comedy portraying the agonies of being a teenager, school-girl rivalries, constantly embarrassing family and painful and often brutally funny awkwardness and insecurities.
Our heroine is Erica Yurken (Saskia Burmeister), commonly known as "Yuk" or "Erk". The grown-up Erica looks back to 1975, to the time when she was 14 and living in Barringa East with her family. There's Mum, a bingo addict, Mum's boyfriend Lennie, whom Yuk loathes, her older sister Valjoy who is boy-crazy, her younger sister Jedda who is horse-mad and her big brother Harley who's an unemployed drop-kick dope head.
Yuk is forever embarrassed by this ensemble, so escapes into her own private world where she fuels her dreams of being a famous actress. She gets through life with this dream, along with the innate conviction that she is cleverer and more superior to the riff-raff in her class at school, and keeps herself to her aloof self.
Consequently she's shattered when a new girl, Alison Ashley (Delta Goodrem) enrols in the school. Alison has everything Yuk wants: beauty, brains, and her mum drives a BMW. And Yuk instantly loathes her. And Alison is not taken in by Yuk's fantastical stories about her life, made up on the spot to impress her, and this infuriates her even more.
But Alison, it turns out, has a miserable home life, with a mother who ignores her.