Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
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?
*ARC received as a part of a blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Trigger Warnings : Abusive Parents
The Brightsiders, follows the story of teen rock band The Brightsiders and it’s three members – Emmy, Alfie and Ryan, but mostly Emmy. The book starts with Emmy and her girlfriend, Jessie, getting in trouble for underage drinking when they drunk drive and get into an accident. Circumstances are such that Emmy doesn’t have any option but to move into her parents’ house again – the one place she swore she’d never step foot in again. Her friends are worried about her, the press is hounding her, her manager is unhappy with her, she breaks up with her girlfriend and her parents are still the same – high on alcohol and drugs and living their glory days. So, in short, Emmy’s life sucks. She just needs the press attention to fizzle out so that she can move out, but that ain’t happening any time soon. But, when her parents get too much and take one too many things fir granted, she moves in with her friend, Chloe. Life starts looking up after that with her friends surprising her with a cruise in Hawaii and then there’s this new thing she’s got going on with Alfie, her best friend since forever. But, will things keep looking up?
What I loved about this book was the sheer amount of queer characters it had. I mean, I can’t remember one person from Emmy and her friends who’s straight. I think the only straight people in this book are Emmy’s parents, and maybe Sal, the band manager. I mean, there’s so much diversity, I can’t even. And, none of these sexual identities are used as plot points, so that’s a bonus. I loved that.
Emmy, the lead, is a great character. She’s only 17, which means she’s making a ton of mistakes, but the good thing is that she’s learning from them and growing as a person with each hurdle. She faces. I mean, gods, she messed up so very many times in the book, but I love that she did, cause, hello! She’s a teenager. She doesn’t know everything. But, she’s a good person. She’s got her heart in the right place and she always tries to do her best in everything and that’s what matters most. She does her best to be a supportive friend and she listens when someone needs to talk. She tries to find joy in everything around her. She absolutely loves her fans. So, yes. She’s a very good character.
Then, there’s Alfie. His portrayal really awed me. This was the first time I read about a musician who was dealing with anxiety and it was so awesome. I mean, we all think that these rockstars are such confident people with all their swag, but that wasn’t the case here. Alfie was dealing with severe anxiety and performing used to give him panic attacks when the band first started. But, therapy helped him. So, yes. It was nice to see that. I loved him as a friend. So kind and accommodating and comforting and understanding. He was there with Emmy through everything and helped her and supported her.
There was also a lot of drama. Emmy’s parents were straight up a**holes. They didn’t care for her one bit and weren’t above selling personal details of her life to the press. They found faults in everything she did and their sense of entitlement really had me so mad I wanted to hit them at one point. Ughhhhhh. But, I wish their characters were more fleshed out. Like, we understood their motivations for behaving that way with their daughter, but nothing of the sort of was explained in the book.
Also, a lot of drama between Emmy and Alfie could have been avoided if they’d just been honest about their feelings and talked to each other. I mean, I get that they were both scared, but they’d been the best of friends for a very long time and they shouldn’t have had such communication issues.
However, this was a fun read and entirely too addicting because I was unable to put it down once I started reading. Definitely recommend it!
Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller. Her next book, THE BRIGHTSIDERS, comes out May 2018, and GOING OFF-SCRIPT releases Summer 2019.
When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away places and going to conventions in Marty McFly cosplay.