Review: The Brightsiders

The Brightsiders

 

This was my first Jen Wilde book and I’m here to say that it will not be the last. I cannot say exactly what it was that urged me to use one of my precious Audible credits on this story but I’m ever so glad I did. I went into this blind and I felt that was the best thing.

Short recap: Emmy is a teenage sensation – the drummer for the wildly popular group, The Brightsiders. She is getting used to being in the spotlight but she still struggles with the trashy tabloids and rumors that are always swarming her. Not to mention her toxic relationship with her girlfriend and her even more horrible parents. When an audio is leaked of her breaking up with her girlfriend, Emmy decides she needs to get out of the spotlight for a short time. During this time away, she starts to develop feelings for someone she never knew she had feelings for. Can this fling turn into something more? Can Emmy really pull herself out of her destructive ways and realize that she really is someone worthy of love?

I have nothing but positive and amazing things to say about this story and characters. Everything about this story made me stop and take notice of the author. Not only was the story itself amazing on so many levels, but the writing style was brilliant. I’ll go into more detail on both – let’s start with characters.

Emmy is the protagonist and this poor girl was given one of the crappiest hands of life I have ever witnessed. Her parents completely blame her for their musical careers dying off. Her mother became pregnant and clearly didn’t want a child because that would force her to grow up. Her dad was just as nasty. He was still living in his 15 minutes of fame he had decades ago. In order to still appear youthful and relevant, they threw parties at all times of day regardless of what was going on with their daughter. Those people were horrid and I wish I could have called CPS on them just to have them thrown in jail. They were repulsive. Emmy could have turned out so much worse than she was but thankfully had a somewhat decent head on her shoulders. Not to mention (!!!) she was struggling with how to come out as a bisexual. She struggled because she wanted nothing more than people to like her so she carried fear, guilt, and anxiety that she might let someone down. She was afraid that people would label her as a terrible bi. Could you imagine?! This girl was hiding who she truly was because she was raised to believe that people would always be disappointed in her, always thinking that she wasn’t good enough. My heart shattered for her. I connected with her immediately and on a deep level. I wanted to be friends with her so bad in real life. I wanted to text her, call her, email or Tweet her just to let her know that she was not alone and she was enough… that she would always be enough.

Emmy had the most amazing supporting group of friends, who also happened to be her band mates. They were her rock when she needed, her Jimmy Cricket as well. While her parents were being steaming piles of shit, her friends were there to pick her up, dust her off, and get her back on her feet. My goodness they were a wonderful breath of fresh air. I loved them for how fiercely they loved Emmy. Now as for Emmy’s ex-girlfriend? That waste of space needed a good hard slap of reality and possibly a high five in the face with a chair. She was abusive and manipulative, so naturally I wanted to drop a house on her.

The characters aside, the story itself was marvelous. A story about a girl who was trying to find her place even though she had everything a girl could want – fame, money, and fans. This was a story to remind people that those three things are not always enough for someone to feel accepted and wanted. Emmy fought tooth and nail to find her footing in a crumbing heap that was supposed to be her life. With the amazing and unwavering support of her friends, she eventually found it. This was a quick read of a story and I was sad to see it end. I loved this world and cast of characters. The story was gut wrenching, heart shattering, tear inducing, and swoon worthy.

I am not going to be able to say enough good things about this story. I’m really sorry I didn’t check it out sooner. This blew me away and now I want everyone to read it. Give it a chance, please.

 

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