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The Brightsiders

Review

The Brightsiders

Emmy King is a teenage rockstar. As one of three faces and the drummer of the hit band The Brightsiders, she has a reputation to uphold. When that goal becomes increasingly difficult to maintain with personal issues, family drama and her intimate relationships all being scrutinized by the media, Emmy has to get her life back on track. In order to do so, she relies on one of her fellow band members, Alfie. Things between them start to get closer than Emmy would have ever expected, leading Emmy to question whether she has introduced yet another scandal into her life.

I’ve been incredibly excited about Jen Wilde’s sophomore novel, THE BRIGHTSIDERS, since the moment I first heard it was announced. After falling in love with QUEENS OF GEEK, her debut, I could not wait to read more from Wilde.

"With her dynamic cast of characters and edgy writing style, Wilde creates a truly meaningful story that explores the hardships of being a teenager in the spotlight."

After reading both books, I can say that there are many similar aspects between the two stories. For one, Wilde maintains her reputation for creating an incredibly diverse cast of characters within her two novels. Every single main character in this book is openly a part of the LGBTQIAP+ community, in some way, shape or form. There is a character that struggles intensely with anxiety. There are characters of different races that are prominently displayed throughout the novel. The beautiful thing about all of this representation is that none of it is sidelined to make room for anything else. Each and every single diverse element that is featured within the story through the characters is given proper care and acknowledgement. When reading QUEENS OF GEEK, this concept completely blew me away. For an author to properly include so many diverse elements within her story, a short contemporary at that, seemed almost impossible. Wilde managed to not once, but twice pull off this penchant. If you as a reader want well-represented diverse stories, Wilde’s books would be the first I would recommend.

The writing style within both books is incredibly similar. The stories feel like they are directly flowing out of the point of view of a teenager. There is a sort of immaturity that the writing displays. It is by no means comparable to that of John Green or Stephen Chbosky, but it is not supposed to be so. The characters Wilde creates are imperfect. They make mistakes, have fatal flaws and are in a time period in their life where they are growing and changing. As much as I love John Green novels, the writing style rarely represents the thoughts and statements of a traditional teenager. Wilde makes her characters feel like teenagers. They are going through teenage issues and have thoughts and responses like many teenagers would in today’s society. The simplicity and easy going nature of the writing style so deeply reflects this idea. Emmy makes a lot of mistakes throughout the entirety of this novel. She is by no means a role model figure, but throughout the novel she works on redeveloping her image and learning from her past, as many teenagers, famous or not, do so as well. If you are looking for a novel that truly represents the heart and mind of a teenager, THE BRIGHTSIDERS is the perfect place to start.

Another fun aspect of this novel that makes it worth a read for fans of QUEENS of GEEK is that the main characters of the story make cameos in THE BRIGHTSIDERS. I loved getting to catch up with Charlie, Alyssa, Taylor, and Jamie. When I noticed their appearance in the story, I could not have been more excited. It is always fun for an author to merge the worlds of their two novels, especially if it can be done in a purposeful manner. It provides a treat to the readers that have supported Wilde before her release of THE BRIGHTSIDERS.

With her dynamic cast of characters and edgy writing style, Wilde creates a truly meaningful story that explores the hardships of being a teenager in the spotlight. With commentary on several meaningful issues, such as underage drinking, self-confidence, parental issues, anxiety and more, Wilde crafts a narrative that is perfect for any teenager looking to delve into a diverse, summer-y contemporary.

Reviewed by on June 13, 2018

The Brightsiders
by Jen Wilde

  • Publication Date: May 22, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Swoon Reads
  • ISBN-10: 1250189713
  • ISBN-13: 9781250189714