Twin sisters Claire and Poppy are rising Internet stars thanks to their Mum blogging about their lives since they were born. Imagine all those cute but so embarrassing details open to strangers’ scrutiny just a click away.
One day their Mum sets up a Youtube channel for them and off they go making their own name and building up their own brand. While Poppy loves it and sees the fame as a way of gaining power, Claire, the geeky web designer part of the duo, hates the pervasive lack of privacy brought by their stardom.
When she meets a new boy during the school lunch hour, she can’t believe he doesn’t know who she is. For the first time in her life Claire has a clean slate and can finally satisfy her ‘craving for freedom and anonymity’.
I loved the way this book touches on many issues relevant to teenagers.
First, there is the issue of identity. People who read the blog think they know who Poppy and Claire are, but Claire is conscious of the fact that the image, the brand, is carefully constructed. So, she rightfully questions ‘If I am not that, then who am I?’
We are so much more than a mere sum of other people’s opinions and images of us.
Then, there is the issue of privacy and consent. Claire’s mother chose to tell her story in her blog because it was her life, but she also involved her children and imposed her choice on them.
Thirdly, the issue of family: how do I stand out? How do I fit in? Does my Mum prefer my sibling to me? and if yes, should I feel resentful? Am I being selfish if helping my sister achieve her dream makes me feel miserable? Is family more about shared genetics or years of shared life? Despite the dark secret and evident lack of communication, family relationships in this book do ring true.
There were quite a few twists in the story which made this book so gripping.
I loved the slow-burn romance: the getting-to-know-you-as-well-as-myself’ part opening oneself up to rejection and the sweetest delight of being really listened to and understood.
Although I did feel the ending was a bit rushed, and some of the secondary characters were flat and sketchy, this did not take away from my enjoyment of the book.
I found this book refreshing and original and would definitely recommend it.
Thank you to NetGalley and Amberjack publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
How do you feel about parenting blogs and parents sharing their children’s lives on social media?