On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.
Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.
When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Leanna and Pablo turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.
The interaction with a celebrity and ‘commoner’ has long been the source of story lines going way back to Cinderella. The author in this case has taken that strand and brought it right up to date. This time the celebrity is an mega pop star whose image and brand is all over social media. The boy,a college dropout, who works in a health food shop in New York. From there the couple fall in love with each other, an unlikely friendship, yet it works.
Mary HK Choi has written a really good account of their subsequent friendship. It has all the ingredients for a good story and the author doesn’t disappoint with her telling. It’s told with a lot of panache, the chatty way May Choi writes is perfect for the story and you’re soon engrossed in story, not wanting to let go until the end. The twists come thick and fast. The ending is satisfying.
Through out the novel the author questions the impact the social media has on us, how people and their image is not what it always seems. The way people go out of their way to discredit others and bring them down. The online trolls that make lives a misery at times. Yet essentially this is a teen love story set in the times we live in.
I really enjoyed this book, would readily recommend it to teenagers who want a fresh read. The story is fast paced and the characters encourage us to have empathy with them. By the end I really did care what happened to Lee and Pab, not often that happens in YA romance books for me.
This ARC book was sent for a fair and honest review by the author via NetGallery . The resulting review is my honest thoughts after reading the book.