I don’t know about you, reader, but technology (social media in particular) plays a pretty dang big role in my life…sometimes too big. That’s the main idea in The Bright Side of Going Dark, a new release from Kelly Harms.
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 fiancé, 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 fiancé 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.
I was interested in reading this book because I loved the last book by Kelly Harms, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler (review here). I’m not really a huge girly book reader, but Amy Byler hit all the right notes for me to love it.
So, I expected to be both hit with a little eye-rolling girliness and still find some good substance, and for the most part, that’s what happened. Although I didn’t fall in love with all the characters, a few of them kept me wanting to follow the story.
Paige is pretty hilarious because of her very matter-of-fact way of speaking (and thinking), which I enjoyed. I also loved how much of a tech nerd/genius she was, hacking her way easily into Mia’s account. However, that bit made her being able to “be” Mia on social media somewhat unbelievable. I mean, I’m posting on social media quite a bit, but can I take the gorgeous photos and apply the perfect filters like influencers do? Definitely not. I thought it was a bit of a stretch that Paige would have that photography skill in her back pocket.
Mia….meh, I couldn’t feel sympathetic for her. She does get more likeable after she throws her phone off the cliff, but the life lessons she learns doing it were a little bit cliché. I rooted for her in the end, but it was all a little bit eye rolly for me. Though, after finishing her story, it did make me want to set my phone down more often.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, although not as much as Amy Byler. I feel like I’ve read so many books lately that begin with 2 different seemingly unconnected main characters that end up connecting somewhere in the book. Maybe I’m just tired of that style, but it felt a little predictable in that way. I’m giving this one a 3.5 (rounding to 4).
I never would have guessed how important social media would become to me. During this long time of isolation I turn to it many times a day for information and entertainment. – Margy
I went back and forth about reading this book because it’s not my usual genre, either. Maybe I will just read The Overdue Life of Amy Byler 🙂