Monday, June 1, 2020

Book Review: The Bright Side of Going Dark

By Melissa Amster

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.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

The premise of The Bright Side of Going Dark is interesting and made me want to add this novel to the top of my TBR pile. At first I thought it would be similar to Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland, but aside from someone going off the grid, it was a different story altogether.

I like that this novel focused on mental health. Just like Kelly's previous novel talks about self-care for working mothers, this novel also emphasizes the need for self-care, regardless of whether or not someone is a parent. Paige worked at a job where people were checking on her mental health all the time, as she was dealing with social media comments that could be harsh or even suicidal.

Mia and Paige were both interesting characters and I liked how they contrasted and also how they had some things in common. I really enjoyed both of their storylines and I never knew what to expect from either. This novel speaks volumes about people's reliance on social media influencers these days. Aside from the online drama, I loved the focus on dogs in this story, especially Mia's dog Mike. There were a lot of great characters and descriptions throughout.

The Bright Side was an entertaining and engaging story overall. I recommend adding it to your list of summer reads.

Movie casting suggestions:
Paige: Molly Ephraim
Mia: Justine Lupe
Jessica: Kaitlyn Dever
Tucker: Nathan Parsons
Dewey: Taylor Kitsch
Tim: Khylin Rhambo
Marla: Nancy Travis
Cary: Cary Elwes

Thanks to Lake Union for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Kelly Harms:

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