book review

Internet Famous by Danika Stone

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High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

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*Thank you to the publisher, Swoon Reads, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Look at that cover. Isn’t it cute? It is mainly the reason why I checked out Internet Famous. Reading the blurb, it looks like it is something light and fun to read. And it sure is. Madison Nakama is the main character who is the creator of a popular blog, MadLibs, that talks about anything pop culture. She has a massive following on her blog, which she is planning to submit as her final project for school. Everything is doing okay until it isn’t. Her mom decided to fly to another country for a few months of fellowship that she’s been dreaming of. It won’t be a problem if it’s up to Madi, but her sister Sarah is on the autism spectrum and relies heavily on routine. Even a slight change in schedule can set her on edge and their mom leaving will surely make a big impact. It is then now up to Madi to placate her sister since Sarah depend on her more than their parents anyway. Madi turns to blogging and to her online friends for support. And there she made a quite special connection with Laurent, a French exchange student who also happens to be a big follower of her blog. But as her friendship with Laurent develops into something more, an anonymous commenter also keeps trolling around on her blog and she can’t shake him/her off. Things escalated quickly as the commenter takes trolling to the next level as he/she started messing with Madi’s life, determined to drag her down. She then has to take the matter into her own hands to expose the internet troll before he/she completely ruin her life.

This one here is such a relevant piece that I’m sure everyone on the Internet and social media can relate to even if you are not a blogger. Especially those times where you have to deal with keyboard warriors. They are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere, ready to suck the fun out of other people. Anyway, I can totally relate to Madi in a lot of ways. The joy of having a community where you feel safe to share your ideas and opinions, the pressure of blogging and connecting with people whether it be online or in real, dealing with an internet troll which will affect your morale, and the uncertainty of having met someone special that started online. They all felt so familiar.

Madi is a pretty good blogger and she is handling her fame on the online world coolly. She is smart and she represents most people on the internet who’s into blogging as well as those who are part of fandoms. That would be one reason to like her, of course. I also admire her relationship with her sister and how she stepped up when her parents can’t be bothered with Sarah’s needs. She has her flaws, and that makes her more relatable. I get how she’s more comfortable talking to people online than in real life. But it irked me how she reacted to people who disagrees with her. One example is how she loses her cool every time she talks to their vice principal. I know the old lady can be annoying but I am pretty sure they can settle things without Madi’s temper on the rise. And it’s just one example. Believe me, there’s more of them. Also, that one instance where she feels jealous when she had to have some temporary guest bloggers, with her permission, on her blog. It just seems a little selfish on her part, in my opinion. Because of that, I find it hard to completely like Madi. Her constant dramatics can be quite tiresome.

I like the format of the storytelling. Aside from Madi’s narrative, it also uses blog posts from Madi’s blog, Tumblr posts, series of text messages, and photos, that make the story more realistic. I am not surprised upon learning who the troll is since I have a pretty good guess about it early on. It is nice how it deals with cyber bullying which is rampant in the online world and in some cases even extend in real life. How some people can have so much negativity is just beyond me.

Anyway, I don’t buy the romance between Madi and Laurent. Things just happened too fast. Plus, Laurent was depicted as a perfect guy (if there is such a guy like that) which made me doubt him than like him. It doesn’t help that he use French words that French people don’t commonly use. (My husband, who’s French, confirmed it!) The adults in the story are all frustrating, save from Madi’s dad who redeemed himself halfway, since they are not supportive in any way. I am a bit dismayed that Sarah didn’t play much of a big role to the story than what I expected and it showed a different side of her too little, too late.

Overall, I’d say it’s a cute story with a solid plot. An over-reacting main character Madi might be but relatable in some ways. People who’re into cute YA contemporary romance will definitely appreciate Internet Famous.

RATING: 3.5/5

3andhalfhearts

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(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Amazon.com: Internet Famous

Purchase it on Amazon.co.uk: Internet Famous

Purchase it on Amazon.fr: Internet Famous

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