ARC Review: The Brightsiders

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35901105Title: The Brightsiders

Author: Jen Wilde

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Rating: 4 Stars

Publication Date: May 22, 2018

Synopsis: A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out, and life in the spotlight after being labeled the latest celebrity trainwreck in Jen Wilde’s quirky and utterly relatable novel.

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital and her girlfriend in jail, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck.

Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing.

Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own?

Review: This one was so hard for me to review and give a rating to! On the one hand, I loved all of the main characters and the writing flowed so well I read this book in less than 24 hours. But it felt like it was just missing something. You know, that certain factor that would bump this up from an enjoyable read to an instant favorite?

I certainly don’t have anything bad to say about this book. Jen Wilde does SUCH AN AMAZING JOB of writing inclusive characters. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, where were these books when I was growing up?? Sure, I’m a straight, white, cis-gender female married to a straight, white, cis-gender male and I grew up reading about those same types of characters, but how boring is that? I wish I could have read about Emmy and Alfie and Chloe and Ryan when I was a teenager. I’m so jealous of young readers today and the fantastic representation that I’ve been seeing more and more of in books. That’s not to say we don’t still have a ton of work ahead of us, because we do. But seeing books like this makes me so happy.

It’s entirely possible that the thing I felt was missing was simply the age-gap between myself and the characters. I read a lot of YA, but most of the time it’s the fantasy genre, not contemporary. And fantasy characters can sometimes feel age-less, especially when they’re going to war or taming dragons. What I’m saying is, don’t let my “missing-something” feeling stop you from reading this book. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for more diverse reads, or if you enjoy YA contemporary, or books about punk/pop bands, or you just want a nice enjoyable read!

Thank you so much to Fierce Reads and Swoon Reads for sending me a copy of The Brightsiders to review!

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