ARC Review: The Brightsiders

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: YA contemporary
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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?

Trigger warning: alcohol abuse, abusive parents

The Brightsiders is Jen Wilde’s second novel. I went in with very high expectations! I thought Queens of Geek was absolutely adorable, so I wanted a lot of the same feels from this one. While this was a bit different than Queens of Geek, it was no less amazing.

This follows teen drummer Emmy King who is spiraling a bit. She’s about to turn 18, and gets caught for underage drinking, and her girlfriend for driving under the influence. Branded as a trainwreck by the media, she finds herself moving back into her emotionally abusive parents home. I’ll admit, it took me a while to fully get into this, hence the four stars. But around 30% into the book I found that I couldn’t put it down.

This has one of my favorite romance tropes, friends-to-lovers. The romance was so well done. It was swoony and steamy, and I hope they’re happy together forever.

This book was unapologetically queer and diverse. Emmy is bisexual. We have Alfie who is genderqueer, uses he/him pronouns, and is pansexual. Then there’s Chloe, a black nonbinary femme vlogger who uses they/them pronouns. And finally, Ryan, who is Korean-American and queer. All these characters were so well-rounded and brought something unique to the story.

There were a few discussions on biphobia, misgendering, and just stereotypes they have to deal with that really stood out to me. Alfie also had social anxiety, which isn’t a part of the main plot, but it’s handled so well. There were a few passages dedicated to slut-shaming and body-shaming as well.

Considering this follows a famous teen, Wilde really handled both the “famous” aspects and the normal teen issues well. On one side, you have Emmy’s story of breaking out from her abusive parents’ life, her new romance with her bandmate, and her found family in her friends. Then there was the famous side, where we saw insensitive paparazzi’s and talk show hosts, and biphobia from outsiders. All of this created a very

Emmy experiences so much growth throughout the novel. She struggles a lot with the toxic relationships in her life, and seeing her confidence and self-worth grow made my heart happy. I definitely recommend this! We even see some cameos from Queens of Geek in here.

Thank you to Netgalley for sending me an ARC.

four stars

15 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Brightsiders

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