Tash Hearts Tolstoyby Kathryn Ormsbee
Published on June 6, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.
Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.
And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.
Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?
When I first started reading Tash Hearts Tolstoy, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about the characters. The story was great, and I loved how it showed the negative side to vlogging (and social media in general). The only problem I really had with it was that I couldn’t decide how I felt about a lot of the characters, but I guess that’s life and it was realistic.
Let’s start with Tash. I liked Tash in the beginning. She was ambitious and head strong and I could relate to her a lot. And then in the middle she got on my nerves a little. She was taking everything way too far, she was worrying about every single detail of Unhappy Families that she started being horrible to her friends and I just couldn’t understand where all of that was coming from. But, in the end, she definitely made up for it.
At first I couldn’t understand why Tash was friends with Jack. I mean, Jack seemed like a great person but in the beginning she just felt so emotionless, and then I started noticing little things about her that just made me start loving her. Jack is such an amazing friend to Tash and an incredible sister to Paul. She may not have showed her emotions like everyone else, but if you knew her, you could tell if she were sad, happy, mad, etc.
And then there is Paul…I loved him. From the very beginning he was my favorite character. He was the best friend, brother, crush, you could ask for. Even though he wasn’t a part of Unhappy Families, he still helped Tash and Jack out with anything they may have needed for shooting. I could relate to Paul in a lot of situations. Especially with his dad being sick. My mom had a tumor, and though it wasn’t cancerous, I still worry that something else will happen to her. So I understood his reasons behind wanting to stay in town for college and why he did what he did for a lot of things.
The relationship Tash had with Thom was cute in the beginning (though I had a feeling it would not end well) but gosh did he piss me off when she finally met him. After making plans with her, he blows her off almost every time. And then when she decided to tell him about her sexuality, which is really fucking hard, he is such an ass to her! Ugh I hated him so much. I’m glad that she ended up with someone she deserved and who was willing to do anything to make their relationship work.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book, even if some things confused and annoyed me a tiny bit. The characters, despite the large number of them, all seemed like they had their own story to tell even if we didn’t get to see it, and I loved that. It was light and sweet which I definitely love in a contemporary. I would absolutely recommend this one!