My friend kept sending me photos of this book to me as she read it. I was swayed into buying it with passages about introverts (which I can never get enough of) and midwest food knowledge (impressive!)
I enjoyed the breezy tone. If you read and enjoyed Eliza and Her Monsters I would recommend this book. If you found Eliza from Eliza and her Monsters insufferable, this book might be more what you are looking for. Tash is significantly less emo (stealing my friend's word) than Eliza, and in general, this is a much more lighthearted book. Tash is healthier than Eliza. Her relationships with her parents and friends are healthier. Tash is someone that you would want to know and hang out with.
There was so much in this novel that I wanted to know more about:
- Tash's relationships with Thom and Paul.
- Tash's sister, Klaudie - What's her deal? Was there a whole subplot about her that was written out for space because it sure felt like it.
- Tash's mother is from New Zealand, and the difficulties of living cross-continentally are only slightly touched upon. As someone who is living her life this way, I would have love to see more about that.
- Jack. I have thoughts about Jack. I wish we had gotten more about Jack. My friend who was texting me about her read of the book totally related to Jack. "Jack is my homegirl." I had a harder time with her. There is so much implied backstory, but there was also this "air of mystery" and deliberate unknowableness around her. I kind of want a sequel from Jack's point of view because I want to get to know her better.
All of the friendships in this book are were so realistic and heartwarming. There is a lot to love in this book that the way that Tash and her friends interacted is right at the top of the list.
I have been thinking about it and looking back, and I believe that this is the first book that I have ever read with a cannon ace character. This is kind of ridiculous given exactly how much I read. It also means that I haven't given asexuality much thought before now (heterosexual privilege, it is a thing). I think that the ace representation was pretty impressive (I could be wrong and if I am let me know). Tash was a bit confused about her sexuality, but that seems realistic. If you don't fit into what society finds normal, it is probably disorientating as hell. And if you feel like that it has to be such a relief to find a label that seems to fit you. Her friend's confusion and avoidance of the topic also seemed realistic. "Hey, we support and love you, but we also have no idea what this asexual thing means and if you don't bring it up because you are uncomfortable then we won't either because that seems to be what you want." There is a lot of subtext.
This book also gets the powerful pull and the potential pitfalls of internet fame as well the painful process that is showing something that you have worked hard on to a public audience. The author has experience with making a youtube adaption of a classic, and it shows in how authentically she writes about it. The love story was somewhat predictable. Like, I knew what was going to happen the first time the characters names were mentioned. Have I just read too many books?
Final verdict? MOAR OF THIS PLEASE!
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?