Full disclosure: The author is a close friend, my former roommate, and one of my bridesmaids. I have every reason in the world to be partial and biased in favor of this book but the great news is that I don’t need to be because it is utterly fantastic. I honestly kept forgetting that I had a personal connection to the writer – Tinfoil Crowns so quickly felt like something I would have pulled for myself.
Uuuggghh you guys I’m just so proud-happy-excited. Erin is just stupid talented and deserves every excellent review this book is getting. Let me get all the gushing out of my system so I can maybe add a few words of my own.
Okay. Our main character here is Fit. She’s 17, lives in small-ish town Connecticut, and is a growing YouTube star. She loves connecting with her fans and loves the community she gets to be a part of and holds on to the dream that maybe this is the thing that can get her out of her hometown and onto something bigger and new – and escape the shadow she’s grown up under her whole life. When she was just a toddler, her mother tried to kill her and her baby brother and has been in prison ever since. But River is getting out and coming to live with them and Fit is nowhere near ready to move on or even forgive. When she’s contacted by an actual agent who might be able to represent her, though, this could be the very situation she can leverage to true stardom, if she can bring herself to talk about it (and bear to hurt her family along the way).
While “young adult novel about an emerging YouTube star” is technically an accurate description, it just doesn’t do the book justice. And yes Fit is as frustrating a character as you expect a 17-year-old to be. The inclusion of a couple of chapters from her mother’s perspective really do a lot to balance the book out and help drive the conversation about PPD and mental health. The glimpses inside River’s head bring real depth to a plot that could have read like a Nancy Grace headline, and that’s the point. The dog-eat-dog world of YouTube stardom sounds terrifying for an adult much less a child, but yeah, I completely believe that’s what it’s really like (just look at the recent James Charles/Tati Westbrook feud).
Fit’s family (her brother, grandfather, and mother) feel like the most fully-realized characters here, which makes sense, they are who are at the heart of the story. There’s an unrequited romantic side plot that eventually fizzles because, well, that’s what happens to most of your teenage crushes. It’s a fascinating book about family, fame, and mental health, and what happens when they collide.
Erin, if you catch this on your google alerts, I can’t h*cking wait to see what you write next.