Book review: The Brightsiders
Book reviews

The Brightsiders – Jen Wilde

Release date: 22 May 2018
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4 stars

The Brightsiders blurb:

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 the hospital, 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 story is set in the same world as Queens of Geek, Jen Wilde’s debut contemporary novel. And… as much as I try not to compare books, it was really hard not to. (Because there are crossover characters and I feel like I should have connected with the protagonist more, but maybe, and I mean MAYBE, I just had too. Many. EXPECTATIONS.)

OK, so we when we begin we meet Emmy (our protagonist) who is the drummer in a band that has hit it pretty big. You get to see a lot of pitfalls of being famous (mostly being taken advantage of, the paparazzi and media, extreme fans, etc.) and while I absolutely felt sorry for this girl who has been thrust on the world’s stage at such a young age, some of the decisions she makes are just so irritating!! And I get it, that’s totally her character, and she’s young and confused, but, I mean, I kind if just wanted to talk some sense into her (or throttle her) in some scenes.

The characters are beautiful and brilliant and so diverse that I felt kind of proud while reading this. I know that sounds weird because I don’t know Jen Wilde at all (except that she’s Aussie), but YAY for having such strong and bold LGBTQIA+ characters that teens can actually look up to! I’m only gonna give you a super quick rundown on the types of diverse reps, otherwise I’ll be here all day talking about them. There are bisexual, lesbian, gay, trans, and non-binary characters.

Jen Wilde has a pretty easy to read writing style. The book is written in first person, and it’s definitely YA. Despite the constant second guessing of the MC, it was a fun read, perfect for anyone who has an upcoming summer.

Now, I don’t usually post trigger warnings (not because I don’t care, but because so many other people so, and they don’t usually deter me anyway), but I will with this one. There is underage drinking, alcohol abuse, parental neglect, gender and sexual shaming, and emotional and verbal abuse (family and domestic). And while I still would have read this anyway, I feel like this is something that others may not. The other thing I will say about this is that as the characters are all celebrities, there is quite a bit of cash flashing around. (No one is poor, ok?)

I liked this book, although not as much as I thought I would. It’s got some angsty-teen stuff going on, but I guess that makes it more realistic (because let’s face it, if Emmy knew how to deal with life and was self-aware then it would be a pretty boring story, and she wouldn’t be a very relatable teen). The week on the boat was my fave part, but Chloe’s list of rules was pretty phenomenal too. With all of the drama going on though, the story is actually pretty uplifting. While there are absolutely a lot of ‘bad’ things happening, it’s nice to see the character’s journey of self throughout the story, and I hope that these guys can be role models to anyone who might be struggling to identify who they are out there.

Until next time, happy reading! ??


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