Tuesday, June 5, 2018

ARC Review: The Brightsiders By Jen Wilde

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
Publisher: Swoon reads
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Format: Egalley, 304 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 
★ 1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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?
This was my first time reading a book by Jen Wilde, but she might be familiar to YA readers if you have read Queens of Geek. I have that book, but I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Her latest installment, The Brightsiders is actually already available for sale, but life got in the way for me and I wasn't able to finish this advanced reader copy until now. I have to admit that I have some complicated feelings about this book, and I really struggled with how I should rate this one. 

On the one hand I think this book does something that a lot of YA books need to strive for, and that's have a diverse group of characters. Our main character Emmy is a bisexual female, Alfie is genderqueer and pansexual, Chole is a black non-binary person that uses they/them pronouns, and Ryan is an Korean-American also in the queer community. There are also some other side characters that are also queer. It was great to read about people not like me, because I really want to read from different perspectives that don't mirror my own. The diversity in this book never felt like it was forced. The way Wilde writes all these different characters made it feel so natural. They were just living their lives being themselves, and that's exactly how it should be. It also was a different experience for me to read about a non-binary person, it took some getting used in the writing, but I think that is just because it's not something I'm familiar with or have read in a book before. 

I did find myself not being able to put this book down because I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next. For me that is an indication that I am really enjoying a book. For me, books don't always get a higher rating because the writing or plot is particular amazing, sometimes if I just have a good experience with a book and really latch onto the characters I give it a higher rating. This is why I'm conflicted, because I did really enjoy it a lot, but I have some issues with the plot that makes me reconsider what type of rating I should give it. 

Here's my issue with the plot...is there one? It seems like a lot of the plot just hinged on drama with Emmy and her god-awful gaslighting parents, and her ex-girlfriend. It just felt like not much else was going on. It felt like some of the plot points were just way too dramatic and it was unrealistic. I even found myself rolling my eyes at some of it, because most of this book is just really about a famous girl getting chased my the paparazzi all the time, and it wasn't all that interesting. But I also have to keep in mind that Emmy is young, and she still is a teenager. Everything is so dramatic when you are 17. I also expected this book to be more about the music since they are in fact a band, but it felt like it focused less on the band making music and more on Emmy's dating life and the downsides of being famous. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, I think I just wanted something a little more out of this one.

Do you recommend this one? ABSOLUTELY! If you are seeking a diverse read, and are okay with reading about someone cutting off contact with emotionally abusive people, I say go for it. It has a happy ending, so I think you will be satisfied when you finish it.

Have you read this book? What do you think? Do you think this is one you will add to your TBR?
*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Happy Reads Everyone!