ARC Review: #famous

#famous#famous by Jilly Gagnon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Release date: February 14, 2017

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

#famous is obviously based on the Alex from Target meme that had hit sometime in 2014, with the story dropped into a high school drama. Rachel, a virtual nobody at her school, has a crush on Kyle (her classmate) and one day posts his picture online a la Target style, as in when he was at work and without his knowledge. It blows up, with him becoming an overnight (actually it happened within an hour) Internet sensation. Simulataneously, though, Rachel becomes the target of internet trolls. When a TV show (obviously not Ellen’s) asks him to come on national television, they both go along for the sake of the benefit being famous would have for both of them, academically. It is, besides the origin of the story, pretty much predictable after that.

The book actually shows how Rachel feels about being targeted for her figure, her looks, etc. The cyber-bullying by her classmates is, however, not addressed by the book – it is just assumed to have been misdirected by his showing an interest in her. Because once the focus comes on their romance, the story as well as the secondary characters in the book seem to forget that she was ever bullied. Granted, it was a creepy thing to do – taking someone’s picture without consent and posting it online, where all can sexualize said person (it helps that Kyle is not a minor in this one) but the backlash against her was terrible. It also speaks of our Internet culture that anyone in the world can come out and attack you.

On the other side (because this is a dual POV) it shows how Kyle tires of the instant fame pretty fast. Them continuing the farce of reality TV brings them together in a way, but also brings up a wall between them. Her insecurity about her looks I could get – god knows every girl who isn’t fat is made to feel fat by societal beauty standards, but I didn’t get why she was so insistent on her being ‘weird’. I don’t know if it is me being an adult and not grasping it, but last I checked, having a sarcastic sense of humor (girl had some witty lines) did not classify you as weird. Hell, she wasn’t even emo or goth or anything that I could see other kids considering her weird. She is in fact, quite entertaining and smart, definitely more interesting than he is. But no, she goes on constantly about how she was weird, and he also goes on about how adorably weird she is, how different she is from other girls (*eyeroll*), especially how different she is from his ex, that soon the novel was descending into regular teen drama. The ending was predictable, to say the least – of course the ex is going to try to drive a wedge, he will make a big gesture, etc. and they live happily ever after.

Overall, it is an okay novel, maybe for those who like something light and fluffy, and it is written pretty well. I just wish the story would have been constructed better.

Received a free galley from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.

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