In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?
Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.
Description taken from Goodreads.
A few days ago, I could only think of two or three YA or MG books that incorporated modern-day slang and they didn’t completely disgust me with how badly they blew it. As of today, #famous has joined that small but impressive group. Although there were a lot of great and pleasantly surprising things about this story, that has to stand out the most. #famous used slang and social media in a way that was smart, funny, and realistic. The social media integration was seamless instead of forced, and Gagnon’s writing flowed naturally through it.
Now, if it weren’t for other bloggers, I would’ve never read #famous. On the outside, it seemed like a hapless ploy to appeal to the younger generation. No, thank you. I mean–the title is a hashtag. It doesn’t really get much turn-offish than that title-wise. Even so, thanks to a few great reviews, I decided to try this one, and it was well worth it. Did it still have problems? Yes. But the authentic voices of the characters came through to me, and these seemed like people I knew and events that could really happened. Granted, there was way more drama in this there had to be. Right around the middle, I started to get sick of it, but even the drama was different.
Emma plays the role of the mean girl in this one. She’s the ex of the male MC, Kyle, and she sabotages Kyle and Rachel’s relationship here and there. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. She made the plot pretty cliché and came the closest to being a cardboard cutout. BUT she also had problems with her family and being alone. There were times when I couldn’t tell if she really just needed to be supported or if she was using Kyle or if she genuinely wanted to get back together with him. Even though she was someone I disliked, I was impressed by the peek into a more complex version of the mean girl. If Emma had been fleshed out just a little bit more, I could’ve come to truly enjoy her role in the story and eagerly await where she made things go.
Monique, Rachel’s best friend, was also more intricate than just being the standard best friend. I don’t love abusive best friends, but I do love complex relationships. There were times when I couldn’t tell if Rachel would turn on Monique or if they would stay together and make up or what. Monique isn’t always the best person or even a good friend. To me, it felt like she wanted to use Rachel and didn’t care about her situation at times, and I could see some resentment coming out in Rachel’s narrative. I was hoping that maybe Gagnon would come out with something to surprise me like them coming together and agreeing to be more than their differences and disagreements, but nothing was ever acknowledged.
In those senses, I was disappointed with the novel. I thought it had a ton of potential, and I enjoyed Gagnon’s writing voice immensely. The plot fell short by a long shot, but the characters were compelling and made me want to read on. Overall, I will be recommending this, probably for middle school, but what’s more important is Gagnon’s work to come. I would love to see her develop as a writer, and I’m anticipating what she comes out with next. 2.5 stars.