** I received an e-Arc of "Off The Record" by Camry Garrett from Knopf Books for Young Readers for the TBR and Beyond Tours. All reviews are my own and unbiased.**
Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Anxiety
About the book:
The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.
Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.
One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?
From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.
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First of all, this was one of my anticipated releases of the year. I read "Full Disclosure" last year and it floored me and I absolutely loved it!
Now, getting into the book itself: I'm still in a hangover for how beautifully haunting yet hopeful this book is. The writing is a little bit of mixed media, and I love how each chapter starts with a relatable tweet from our protagonist Josie. (P.S. Some of them are now on my inspirational board)!
The plot very easily flows through different stages of Josie's journey seamlessly. From her introducing herself, to winning the contest, to falling for Marius, to discovering the dark truth behind it all. It all seems so natural, something that could happen to anyone, yet it feels so surreal. Not once did any of the transitions feel jumpy or forced, and I really liked that. It was like watching it unfold with my own two eyes as it's unfolding as if I'm living through Josie and that was AMAZING!
The author's subtle commentary on dealing with being chubby through Josie's thought hit close to home for me and I could relate to everything she said. Her take on anxiety was really well done, capturing the moments and struggle: so realistic, yet picture-perfect. The moments when panic attacks hit her were described really well, and the distinction between how it feels inside and how it looks outside was done really well. I loved the fact that Josie, with all her past trauma and anxiety, handled it so well and never once stayed down when she fell.
The whole story was put together very well, the pacing was excellent and I loved the sister-banter, it all feels too real to me (and that's super awesome!).
Some major reasons that I would recommend this book to the end and beyond:
Bad-ass black lead, curvy and dealing with anxiety and still living it up with all she has and more.
Discussion about many important topics through and through, the book starting with an article about movies and black suffering.
An accurate rep for all the bigger girls out there (me included, and I LOVED how it was done).
The sister banter was to die for.
Proof of how powerful #MeToo can be when victims unite and stick to their truth.
I lived for Josie's interviews and her questions because they were really thought-provoking and interesting. (I think investigative journalism is really my thing)
Bisexual rep, normalized and yet celebrated and discussed.
Self-love is a big part of the book and its importance is well portrayed.
Overall, I really loved the book though the ending did throw me off a little, but not enough to stop me from raving about this book for ages to come now!
(Scroll till the end for the rating, although it is quite obvious what's it gonna be. Right? Right.)
Here are some of my favorite quotes and /or dialogues from the books:
"Do you ever look back on things that happen to you and realize they weren't okay and then, like, have an existential crisis?"
Like, uh, all the time?
"I can't stop looking at him. This isn't how getting rid of crushes works. If anything, this is the hardest I've ever fallen."
Oh yeah, that does feel heavenly when you just know.
"She's always been like this; bonding with people after a three-minute conversation, while I struggle to even keep a conversation going for three minutes, I kind of hate her for it."
Same, sis, SAME. I can barely hold a conversation going for a minute before I become over conscious of everything snd hope I was at home just not socializing ever.
"Since I'm fat, I should probably take whatever I can get, but I don't want to date a jerk who thinks racism is over or who doesn't read."
Oh yeah, absolutely. No one should ever settle for someone not good enough for them and their soul.
"I can accept whatever happened with MLK and Frederick Douglass because they were freedom fighters. They did so much good that I can deal with the bad. But I don't know if I can do the same with someone like Woody Allen. And why should I? MLK was MLK. Woody Allen only makes movies with white people in them."
About the author:
Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released on May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Today was my stop for the book tour arranged by TBR and Beyond Books. Please do go check all these wonderful bloggers' posts and show some love!
That's all for today, besties. Don't forget to show some love to all the other wonderful bloggers and bookstagrammers on the tour.