Friday, September 18, 2020

Literary Friday: The Bright Side of Going Dark




Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!

Today I am sharing with you The Bright Side of Going Dark by Kelly Harms.  It exceeded my expectations, and they were pretty high because I loved Harms' The Overdue Life of Amy Byler.  



You may read my review of The Overdue Life of my Byler HERE.


According to Goodreads:

From the bestselling author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler comes a fresh, funny, and thoughtful story about going off the grid in order to truly live.

As one of the most popular influencers on social media, Mia Bell has lived her life online for years. With her celebrity dog and gorgeous fiancĂ©, she is planning the ultimate virtual wedding—expensive, elaborate, and entirely paid for by sponsors. But off-camera, her world is far from picture perfect. After being jilted by her fiancĂ© and faking her nuptials to please her sponsors, Mia finally has had enough. She heaves her phone off a cliff, ready to live—and maybe find love—offline for a change.

Mia’s sudden absence doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by techie loner Paige Miller, who hacks Mia’s account and begins impersonating the internet celebrity. Paige has her reasons. Her half sister, Jessica, idolizes Mia and desperately needs something to believe in. If taking over Mia’s online persona is Paige’s only means of connecting to her sister, so be it.

Creating a like-worthy life is more fun than Paige expected. But when she grows too bold and is caught in the act, a fiasco ensues that could forever change Mia, Paige, and the people who love them. Because somewhere amid the chaos is an invaluable lesson—one that only real life can teach.






My Review:

Other than the blurb from Goodreads, I really didn't know what to expect from this book.  At first I was noticing how Mia's character reminded me of Adriene Mishler because both are yoga instructors, social media influencers, and both have amazing dogs that fans adore.  Full disclosure:  I love Adriene.  I love her YouTube Channel, and I subscribe monthly to her Find What Feels Good exclusives.  So at first I was a little miffed, but then I realized that Mia is definitely NOT based on Adriene, which is a very good thing.

Mia's character is vapid.  I found it difficult to like her in the beginning because she was actually willing to marry a man she didn't even love because he could "make a heart with his hands encircling a sunset."  You know what I mean; that trope has been posted a million times on social media.

Paige is the character who makes the book.  She is very complicated, and she is a brilliant programmer.  But when she gets a job with the social media start-up Pictey, instead of using her talents, she chooses to work in the Safety and Standards department.   An unusual misstep at work triggers an anxiety attack in the resiliency manager's office.  The manager's name is Karrin (perfect!) and Karrin requires Paige to take two weeks off.  During her furlough Paige hacks Mia's account because Mia has gone dark, and Paige doesn't want to disappoint her college-age sister, Jessica.  (There is a backstory as to why she doesn't want to disappoint Jessica.)  What Paige does is she posts on Mia's Pictey account as Mia.  She learns Mia's voice rather quickly, which isn't that hard.  Kelly Harms literally nails the shallow, self-absorbed social media influencer parlance throughout the book.  Honestly, it makes me embarrassed that I've ever even posted on social media (tiny following duly noted).

After she throws her phone off the cliff, Mia does begin to enjoy life and actually look around her and not just for the perfect photo opp.  I see potential in Mia.  Paige grows quite a bit, too.  All the characters in the book begin to recognize what should be important in life, what should be nurtured.  The whole hacking fiasco finally comes to a head, and the resolution is surprisingly satisfying.  I think we can all learn from the premise of the book: take the time to go dark on social media and live your life without digital distractions.  I'm sure there is more than one bright side to going dark.


Below is an IndieBound affiliate link for purchasing the softcover edition of the book.


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NOTE:  This is the third book in a row I've read where one of the main characters suffers from severe anxiety:

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Mr. Flood's Last Resort
and
The Bright Side of Going Dark.

I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something...


Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


5 comments

  1. I have this one on hold at our library, should be in next week. At this time I am reading The Huntress.

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  2. This book and the other by the same author that you recommend sound fun to read.

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  3. Lpl, I love your commentary at the end.

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