She's Faking It by Kristin Rockaway
Bree Bozeman is, to put it bluntly, a flake. A college dropout who’s scraping by in the gig economy, making food deliveries in a junk old car and living in an apartment that’s definitely not up to code, she has no plan and no direction… but what makes her different from a lot of twentysomethings is that she’s aware she has a problem. One which is brought into sharp focus when her car dies, leaving her jobless and desperate.
Bree’s sister Natasha comes to her rescue. Natasha’s a professional organiser and obviously doesn’t understand Bree at all, but she tries to help; giving her a self-help book by influencer Demi DiPalma to try and encourage Bree to find what she’s passionate about. Bree starts an Instagram trying to figure things out - posting images of what she wants her life to be like in an attempt to actualize it - and ends up becoming a ‘nano-influencer’. She soon realises the shallowness of it, though, shilling products she’d never spend money on just because they’re free. And then there’s the new man in her life, former pro surfer Trey, whose ex-girlfriend is not only a major Instagram influencer but used social media to trash his reputation.
This is, at its heart, a coming of age story, and one of the things I really liked about it was both Bree and Natasha finding their paths forward weren’t quite what they thought they’d be. There’s some subtle (and not so subtle) commentary about self-help gurus and influencers and how you really shouldn’t buy into the glossy images you see on social media, or put people you don’t know on any kind of pedestal. The romance is really something of a side plot to Bree’s own journey to figuring out who she is and what she wants. Trey’s already been through the process and they’re not really a match until Bree gets out the other side, so realistically he’s actually another source of conflict for Bree for much of the book. The author didn’t fall into the trap of making Bree use her desire to be with Trey as her reasons for change, which I really liked.
Overall, this is a nice and quite light-hearted read, with a bit of searing social commentary about the perils of lusting after a picture-perfect life and getting sucked into the heavily curated world of social media. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to give it five stars.
HOWEVER. When I went to look up the link for this book, I discovered that the ebook is $9.99 on Amazon US and a completely bonkers $24.43 on Amazon AU. Do you WANT to sell ebooks? Because this is not how you sell ebooks. This is a great read, but don’t buy it at that price. Ask your library for it or something.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.