Thanks to Macmillan International for sending me a review copy of The Brightsiders, this hadn’t influenced my review or rating in any way.
The Brightsiders marks my second buddy-read with the amazing Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books and it was a lovely experience as always.
I had some issues getting into this, but I slowly got to love all the characters and root for them to be happy. This book is amazingly diverse, Emmy (our protagonist) is bisexual, Alfie (the love interest) is pansexual, genderqueer and suffers from social anxiety, Ryan (their bandmate) is also bisexual and Korean-American and Emmy’s best friend, Chloe is black and non-binary (uses they/them pronouns).
This book focuses on Emmy as she struggles with being a rock-star and a role-model for many teens, handling the paparazzi and not-so-good headlines, not a very healthy relationship and also awful parents.
I think one of the reasons why it was kind of hard for me to get into this book at first was Emmy’s personality. She’s very impulsive and jumping to decisions without even thinking about the consequences (or thinking about them way too late after everything was already consumed). After her parents got into the picture, it got easier to understand why she was like that.
Her relationship with Alfie (it’s not a spoiler, it’s in the synopsis) was also very impulsive and while I felt some foreshadowing, it felt quite sudden. There wasn’t much backstory on the band, on the friendships between them, we knew that they were friends and that Alfie was very important for Emmy, her greatest support, and that was kind of it. I wanted to see more of their friendships before the ‘benefits’ came into the picture.
But the characters were so lovable, especially Alfie and Chloe and Ryan (so sad that he didn’t appear more) that it was hard not to get past those things. Alfie and Emmy were very sweet and I grew on them as their relationship progressed and reached more depth. They were adorable in some scenes, I especially loved their snaps, they were so silly and yet so suggestive.
I ADORED THE GANG SO MUCH. All their interactions were magical, they had this hugely supportive group and it was literary goals. I want friends like that, who would do anything for me, who believe me and support me and would stand by me. Amazing.
Also, a huge aspect of this book that I absolutely loved were their songs, I loved how Wilde created those characters that weren’t only unapologetically who they were, but they also tried to inspire others to feel comfortable with their sexualities and identities as well. The songs were very powerful and I adored Emmy’s progress in the band, I loved how she earned it in a way.
I loved how it was discussed that we’re not our parents, that we can do better than them, that their mistakes don’t have to be ours as well. Thank God for no freudian shit on here.
And the discussions about bisexuality were amazing, Emmy was super-aware of everything that could make her ‘a bad bisexual’ in the press – especially the stigma about bisexuals sleeping with everyone – I think that’s the worst thing created ever. I never understood what’s the logical reasoning for this stereotype, but it’s bad and everyone should stop thinking this.
The book send some very positive messages about make-up and self-love as well, I loved how self-confidence was a huge part of this and Emmy liked using make-up as a way of feeling more confident, but she didn’t shame people who didn’t wear make-up either.
I would recommend this book to people who like books about celebrities, bands, friendship-to-love and lots of friendship feels in general.
Did you read The Brightsiders? If you did, what were your thoughts about it?
If you didn’t, what are you most excited about from my review?