I pre-ordered Danika Stone's Internet Famous (published June 2017) when I read a preview review by a fellow Bookstagrammer, Erin aka @Booksinthewild on her blog. I'm also a member of Swoon Reads so I've been curious about their books that go on to be published. Add to the fact that the book's main character, Madi, is a teen blogger and I was SOLD.
It's entirely possible that I'm in the wrong generation for a book like Internet Famous. But I don't think so. I did enjoy the blog posts and the premise. Where it fell flat for me is the texting and the snapchats.
What do I mean by that? I'm on my phone entirely too much. I already read a lot on my phone, and I only joined Instagram when I started this blog. I rarely go on FB because I'll get sucked in. So when I read a novel, I don't want to feel like I'm just on my phone again. However, there are many teen and non-teens who may really enjoy this format.
I'm torn. Because I have enjoyed 'newer' type of writings, like Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything, which incorporates blog posts (though brief) as well as illustrations, diagrams, and hospital-type charting. So it's possible that I just didn't feel the spark or connection between Laurent and Madi.
Having said all that, I'm a child of the 80s and a huge fan of a lot of the movies that Maddie reviewed, no matter how ridiculous they may be. John Hughes FTW! And I have a special place in my heart for Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty In Pink as well as Back to the Future, which I remember going to see at the drive-in with my family. So I did enjoy her blog posts and the fandom situation, especially Madi's initial encounter with her readers at the theater.
I just wanted something MORE to happen in the middle. Or maybe I wanted things to happen more quickly. Or maybe it's just that I didn't see Madi and Laurent's connection so some of that was not believable for me. (It's one thing for Madi to wonder why Laurent is interested in her, it's another for me as the reader to question it too.)
I think my main issue was how neatly everything wrapped up and connected to each other. I won't spoil it, but that felt a bit contrived to me.
Overall, though Internet Famous is a good summer read, and a great introduction into a Fandom. Truth be told, my favorite part of the novel was the 'extra' at the end in which Madi reviews The Force Awakens as part of her MadLibs blog. I read that whole section out loud to my family and we were in stitches. There's nothing quite so heartwarming to me as hearing the bookworm girls' laughter.
Ages: Well, Mini Me started to read it so maybe 11 and up, but beware that there are some scenes that you may prefer for 13-14 and up instead.
Readability: A great summer beach read--engaging but not too complicated. Easy to pick up again after you've gone for a dip in the water.
Diversity side note: I'm not sure why Madi's last name is Nakama because the fact that she's Japanese (or hapa maybe? Hapa means mixed Japanese or mixed-Asian ) doesn't really come into play in the novel. Now I don't think that every main character has to have something to do with their background/ethnicity/race, but I also do believe that names are usually chosen for a reason. Here, it doesn't serve a purpose, even with regards to her father or mother or in passing, as in something to have ties to her Japanese ancestry in her house. Or if there was, I missed it. Mr. Bookworm disagrees with me and thinks that sometimes a name is just a name. While we're on that track, I'm not sure why Laurent is French either, but maybe just because we know he has limited time left in the U.S. and also for the name confusion on Madi's part.
On the other hand, Stone depicts Madi's sister, Sarah, as someone with high-functioning autism very well. What do I mean by that? Well, I've had many patients of various neuro-capabilities and definitely a have seen a lot of kids with autism or what used to be known as Asperger's and is now known as high-functioning autism or 'on the spectrum' as some of my families like to say. And a huge part of a family with a child with autism is ROUTINE. Stone writes about her own personal story in the afterword and I can see why she handled it so beautifully and realistically.
Now the big question is this: do I introduce Some Kind of Wonderful to the girls first or Pretty in Pink? They're familiar with both soundtracks already. Though Mini Me loves time travel so it may be Marty McFly time. [A big fat NO to Sixteen Candles because I just can't sit through the terrible racist part with the exchange student. I typed out his name but it's so awful that I deleted it.]
Pretty in Pink may have been the first film-made-into-a-novel (not the other way around) that I've read. And the first time that I wanted to throw a book across the room. Young teen me couldn't understand WHY the ending was different from the movie. Why does it end with Andie dancing with Duckie? Why? What does it mean? I was SO confused. Now Blane was kind of a coward and underwhelming, but still he was her choice. Either way, it was an interesting experience for young me. I wonder if I can still find that book in my book boxes from my childhood home or if I actually threw/gave it away....
*** Picture above featuring Mini Me's new phone (AKA my old phone), hence the Slytherin wallpaper.
Tell Dr. Bookworm:
Is there a film version of something that you prefer to the book? What's the first (or last) book you've thrown across the room and why? Which 80s film would you suggest I start the Bookworm girls on? Tell me in the comments.