So subtle yet so emotionally layered, this book is Alessandra Torre at her best!
Reviewed in the United States on 5 May 2020
"𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙… 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙤𝙪𝙨. 𝙏𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙣, 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙣, 𝙨𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙖𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧."
With countless young people around the world broadcasting their personal lives each day in hopes of acquiring internet fame, and countless others pursuing fame as a profession, this story couldn’t be more relevant or rousing. A thoughtful yet provocative portrayal of celebrity culture, social media influencers, and what it takes to become ‘internet-famous’, Alessandra Torre’s latest novel is simply unputdownable. Part tell-all memoir, part exposé, part slow-burning romance between two celebrity nemeses, this is the story of one young woman’s rise from shy, insecure wallflower to overnight internet sensation with millions of followers tracking her every step. But it is also so much more than that. It’s an unflinching and honest reflection on life as a modern-day internet celebrity, showing real insight into the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the fake of living life in the public spotlight. Torre dazzles with her writing style, her writing taut and crisp as always, and at a time when I can’t even read a recipe without my mind drifting off half way through, I devoured this book in a single sitting, smiling cover to cover.
"𝙁𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧, 𝙄 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙤𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨. 𝙀𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣. 𝙄 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙧. 𝙄 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙧𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛. 𝙄 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚, 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙."
For Emma Blanton it all began with a fortuitous lottery ticket that changed the course of her young life forever. After a childhood spent wishing she could be someone different, someone interesting and worthy of the attention she never got from her parents, she uses her new fortune to reinvent herself and become the girl everyone wants to be. For the next two years, and with a whole team of people paid to help her amass more and more online followers, Emma works tirelessly to become ‘famous’. And because no publicity is bad publicity, nothing gives Emma’s fame a boost like her many displays of animosity towards Cash Mitchell, the golden boy of social media and her greatest nemesis.
"𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙙. 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙."
Son of a famous TV star, Cash Mitchell has spent his entire life in the public eye, but has never shied away from trying to make a name for himself in the entertainment business. Adored by the press and sponsors alike, and with eighty million people following him on social media, Cash Mitchell seems to have only one thorn in his side—Emma Blanton. But no matter how much he wants to hate her, he’s never been able to forget another version of her, from years before, when a timid young girl stole his heart at a college party.
"𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙬𝙖𝙨𝙣’𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙜𝙞𝙧𝙡 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙮. 𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙝𝙚𝙧. 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙥𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙤𝙣𝙜𝙪𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙮𝙬𝙤𝙤𝙙, 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙭𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙖 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖 𝙜𝙖𝙛𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙢𝙮 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 2016."
So when a popular television network decides to put six internet celebrities under one roof and film their every interaction over two months, it doesn’t take long for Emma and Cash to join the cast, their antagonism providing perfect fodder for a scripted reality show. But for two people who have convinced the whole world that they hate one another, convincing themselves not to fall in love off-camera proves to be easier said than done.
“𝘿𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙮,” 𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩 𝙢𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙞𝙧. “𝙄 𝙬𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚.”
“𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩?”
“𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙞𝙘𝙮 𝙚𝙭𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙧 𝙢𝙚𝙡𝙩𝙨.”
While to me this is a love story first and foremost, every scene designed to bring us closer and closer to a genuine, deeply affecting emotional moment between the leads, where this novel truly shines is in its characterisation and in its unadorned depiction of internet fame. Emma’s brittle layers are gently unpeeled to reveal a woman who, while her life continues to look perfect through the lens of a camera, is a lot more insecure than she appears, yearning for affection above all else. The author does a stellar job at breaking down the very process of the construction of a celebrity persona, and it is in that very process that we come to recognise what is real and what is constructed in the media. So subtle yet so emotionally layered, this book is Alessandra Torre at her best.
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