The Brightsiders Review || A Lighthearted Diverse Contemporary

35901105As 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? 

 

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Okay it has to be said–Jen Wilde is officially the QUEEN of diversity, and that’s amazing!! Tbh I just picked up this book based on the author alone without knowing anything about this book and I was pleasantly surprised over and over again by all the amazing amounts of diversity I kept seeing!

Every single one of the main characters (I think…don’t quote me on this) is lgbtq+. There are two bisexual characters, one of them who is Asian, one pansexual genderqueer character with social anxiety who was biologically female and now uses he/him/his, and one half black non binary character who uses they/them/their. There are some other queer side characters, including my favorite Charlie and Alyssa from Queens of Geek aka the best people ever and I love them and now I want to reread Queens of Geek haha.

I will say though, that sometimes the way the diversity and other things such as makeup were discussed were a bit…annoying? It kind of felt like I was being lectured. Emmy sometimes started ranting about oh, this is what people think of me (ex: they think I’m a bad bisexual or they think I’m vain because I use colorful makeup) and this is why they’re wrong. Idk how to say this but it really felt rather blunt and preachy, and I hate to say it because I love love LOVE the message it’s conveying but it felt really repetitive and annoying after a while, and made Emmy seem condescending. Idk, maybe that’s just me. I really really did love the message she was conveying, but I think Jen Wilde could have conveyed it better–maybe more along the lines of show not tell and definitely not bash us over the head with it repetitively.

This whole book was very lighthearted and fun overall. There were some really fun scenes that made me want to hang out with the crew. For example, the lipsync battle complete with recreation of the iconic Dirty Dancing lift, and the Leo(nardo DiCaprio) themed party on a yacht complete with obligatory recreation of the iconic I’m the king of the world! moment between Rose and Jack. There were some fandom references like discussion of Harry Potter (bae <3) and overall this was such a really fun book!

There were a lot of references to internet culture, social media, and technology and I think this was sort of a you’ll love it or you won’t type thing and a case of it’s me not you. It seemed like literally every think Emmy does she has to snapchat, tweet, instagram, post to her story, etc, etc. It was like I saw the cake and I wanted to eat it but first we all had to photograph it for social media! Or: the food arrangement looked delicious so I went off in search of my phone to snapchat it. Or: this person’s behavior was so funny so I whipped out my phone to post it to my story and I know my followers will love it!

If you’re really into social media, you’ll probably really love this portrayal of how people live on the internet. But personally, I got a bit sick of it and started feeling like, hello, can you ever do anything in the moment or is your entire life online? That’s not to say this part of the book is bad, I just didn’t personally enjoy it.

Finally the romance…idk guys, I just wasn’t feeling it! I’m sorry! Ahh I wanted to love this ship so badly after I adored and I do mean ADORED the two ships in Queens of Geek but I just couldn’t. I just wasn’t feeling it. I think maybe I wasn’t feeling it because it was between two out of three people in a band and happens immediately after a messy breakup from another relationship (this isn’t a spoiler it’s in the synopsis/first chapter). I just feel terrible for the third person who would be always third wheeling lol.

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3.5 stars

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