by Danika Stone
Published on June 6, 2017 by Swoon Reads
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.
Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.
This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Talk. About. Relevant.
So, as a blogger, I feel like I had a particular connection to this book and some of the things Madi dealt with both as a blogger and internet presence. When I first finished Internet Famous I remember thinking that fame is truly bittersweet. We, the ones integrated into the online community of our various fandoms and industries, have this chance to become more than just a blog post or Twitter handle. It’s not only exhilarating but also terrifying putting yourself out there and from that perspective, I couldn’t have related to Madi more.
But this book isn’t just about her blog’s success. Madi deals with boy troubles, family drama, and caring for her sister who is on the autism spectrum. On that last note, I wanted to say that I wanted to like how their relationship was represented. I think Sarah’s character growth was beautiful and amazing, but the way that Madi acted in some situations contradicted how she described living with Sarah and the need to stay on a schedule. I loved Sarah’s character and was so happy she played such a large role in this book.
As for the family drama, I really hated Madi’s mom. She was selfish and never got called out on it by anyone but Madi, and maybe that’s the lens we’re supposed to read through because this is Madi’s story but I found it hard to believe that her dad would just let her mom keep leaving like that and the way they handled telling Sarah wasn’t great.
Then there’s the romance. Okay, so this book is pretty fluffy. The romance between Madi and one of her fans kind of freaked me out a little bit. Probably a personal thing but I find the idea of meeting a bunch of random strangers, one of which you start dating pretty directly after, shocked me a bit. Then again, I’m not a people person so my reading experience took it in a different direction than likely intended. Also, Laurent felt like a dream. Too perfect. Everything he said or did was super swoon-worthy to the point of being TOO swoony.
But I did enjoy the book. I liked that it talked about cyberbullying and took the plot through how it can start from nothing and turn into something horribly toxic. Which probably sounds weird that I liked that, but I mean in the way that it was all handled. The troll didn’t win the day.
And yet I come back to Madi and I have to say that I don’t know if I really liked her. I thought the way the author told the story through both regular prose but also private messages and media postings was really interesting and gave the book a different life than it would have had with just the plain text. But Madi’s character was a bit over the top. Every reaction is leading to an explosion which pushed the plot forward and I wonder if there would have been a story if she hadn’t done certain things (*casually avoiding spoilers*).
So… I enjoyed Internet Famous. It was light and fluffy and fun, but it wasn’t super great. I’d definitely read more by this author, though, and look forward to what she has in store for us next!