20 Oct 2021

#Review: THE BRIGHTSIDERS by Jen WIlde


Author: Jen Wilde
Series: N/A
Source: Downloaded from Audible Plus
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Content Warnings: emotional manipulation, alcoholism, parental abuse, gaslighting, car accident, biphobia, transphobia, anxiety attack, vomitting

Honestly, this sucked. I barely made it through and the second star is only because the representation was so well done and integrated into the story. The story doesn't read or feel realistic at all. When I was copying over the summary for this review I laughed at the line "utterly relateable" because nothing in this is relatable in the slightest.

But I would have liked way more to be done in terms of the plot (which was laughable and basically self-insert fanfiction...) and to develop the relationships. Sometimes with large casts like this in a contemporary setting, there isn't as much development for each character.

I think there was a start to a good representation and tackling of the abusive relationship aspect (both romantic and parental). But because there were so many other things going on and other characters to introduce, it got a bit lost in its way. My expectations were way higher for this one because lot of people I trust raved about it in their reviews. But it just didn't land with me. 

To be honest, most of the characters I could only identify by their "identity" rather than what drives them or what they want to do. Which also isn't great, but it's at least better than completely forgetting them. 

And since this book was supposed to be about music, there wasn't a whole lot of that either. Sure, we heard some snippets of songs, but it definitely wasn't about a "teen rockstar" in the way that I wanted it to be - or as it was advertised. I would have liked more time spent on getting ready for touring, coming up with set lists, etc. and not as much time on "Is TMZ going to get a picture of this."

TLDR: I had such high hopes for this one. I loved Queens of Geek and thought that this would be a nice follow-up, but it was just... not great. The only good part of it was the representation which was amazing. But the rest left a lot to be desired. Overall, I don't recommend this one.

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick it up?


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