I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Just For Clicks by Kara McDowell
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Amberjack on February 19, 2019
Format: eARC (250 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.
Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they're expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as "just Claire"? And what should Claire do about Mom's old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don't sound like Mom's perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .
Initial Excitement & Summary
I was sold on the premise of this one right from the beginning because it’s weirdly something I think about a lot. Let me first say that people can make their own decisions and this is just MY opinion – but I can’t imagine sharing so much about my children online without their consent. I can see posting some pictures or talking about a few things, but having them reach a certain level of fame before they’re old enough to make their own decisions? That’s hard for me to figure out. One of my favorite YouTubers has said that she won’t feature her children on her channel until they’re old enough to understand and decide for themselves, which is probably what I’d do (aside from some pictures here and there). But I digress! The storyline fascinated me because it’s definitely going to be an area of contention going forward, as more and more people live SO much of their lives online. This book focused on twin daughters of a famous fashion blogger and how they were essentially pressured into creating their own vlog channel and following in their mother’s footsteps.
Story & Characters
I like that this story was both fluffy and young while also having some more serious topics involved. Claire is struggling with her identity because her life has been shaped by her mom’s blog. She’s famous because she’s a twin and is forced to participate in vlogs and Instagram posts all the time… even though she doesn’t like it. I don’t want to get too into spoilers but the synopsis implies that there’s a big secret she uncovers. The book got heavy in those places because it causes Claire to second-guess everything. I liked her as a character for the most part, but she made some very stupid decisions by lying and creating misunderstandings. I can cut her slack because she’s a teenager, but I wanted to slam my head against a wall every time she did it. Some things were very common sense “don’t lie about that” situations.
Poppy and their mother, Ashley, were also frustrating. I think I started to feel for them more toward the end but it was really hard to read most of the book because of them. They were both very into the online presence, signing up for more sponsorship opportunities, etc. and seemed to completely ignore Claire’s lack of interest in them. It was abundantly clear that she didn’t want any part of this lifestyle and they didn’t seem to care about that. Reading the book from Claire’s POV definitely made you want to protect her and sympathize with her, but the end of the story explained things better for everyone else. I was left very satisfied with the ending.
I should mention the romance because Rafael was so cute. He was a little too much (i.e. annoying) at the beginning but I warmed to him very quickly. He was a breath of fresh air in this otherwise-kinda-sad story. He and Claire were a good pair and I definitely added him to my book boyfriend list. I wish there was a bit more about his life in general but I think the author did a good job of including HIS thoughts on parenting and family because of his situation.
This was a really wonderful debut novel that covered a topic that is personally fascinating to me. Should mommy bloggers post a million pictures of their kids growing up without their consent, before they even know what the internet is? How will this affect those kids later in life? I loved pondering these questions while reading because I’ve always been curious about this topic. If you’re looking for a 2019 debut that manages to balance sweet, fluffy moments of first love with heavier topics of finding out who you are and what you want to be, give this one a read.
Thoughts in a Gif
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