Title: The Brightsiders
Author: Jen Wilde
Genres: YA contemporary
A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out, and life in the spotlight after being labeled the latest celebrity trainwreck in Jen Wilde’s quirky and utterly relatable novel.
As 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?
Thank you to Macmillan for sending me an ARC of this book.
Oh wow, it’s really strange to be back to reviewing after weeks of not being able to because of studying, but it’s really great as well. I was able to read a few books since I started my little hiatus, and I really loved them and can’t wait to share my thoughts on them with you all!
The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde was definitely one of the books I loved a lot. I tried to not go into it with high expectations because I often end up being a bit disappointed when I do, but I 100% failed at doing that because I loved Queens of Geek (Jen Wilde’s previous book) so so much. I’m very happy to say that this book didn’t disappoint me at all, and ended up exceeding my expectations!
The Brightsiders is about Emmy King, who is the drummer of a hit band. The book is incredibly queer (seriously, I think every single character was queer? LOVE), has amazing friendships and a very lovely romance, and explores difficult topics like abuse and alcohol abuse.
I honestly have no idea what words to use so y’all will know how much I actually loved this book, but let me try something; books don’t often leave a very lasting impact on me. Sure, I might love the book and recommend it to basically everyone, but after a few days or weeks my memory of the book starts to fade. I just don’t have the greatest memory, I guess. But with this book it’s different. I think of certain things that happened in the book, or certain characters, and I can’t stop grinning. This book just made me so, so happy.
The thing that made me love this book so much was probably the characters. Not only did I love every single character individually (we also got some cameo’s from the Queens of Geek characters, yay!), I also loved their relationships. It was just such a fun, supportive group of friends.
I also adored the relationship between Emmy and her band mate Alfie. They were such a swoon-worthy and incredibly cute couple. Seeing them grow closer and closer was such a lovely experience, and they’re definitely one of my favorite YA couples.
The book also explores some really difficult topics like abuse and alcohol abuse, and the author approached these topics in a very sensitive and respectful way. Seeing Emmy get out of some very toxic situations, having friends surround her who support her (Chloe was the best!), and seeing her grow was just incredible. I also really appreciated that (spoiler?) the book also showed Emmy have a relapse when she stopped drinking. Oftentimes in YA, when a character has/wants to quit a certain thing it all goes very smoothly and almost makes it seem like an easy thing, while recovery is such a difficult, bumpy road. I’m glad the author didn’t gloss over that.
Overall, I loved this book a whole lot and Jen Wilde has definitely become an auto-buy author for me. Her next book, Going Off-Script, sounds absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on it, because I just know I’m going to adore it too.
Trigger warnings: abuse, gaslighting, queerphobia, slut shaming, alcohol abuse + relapse after going sober, contains sexual content