Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

Cam Girl by Leah Raeder
Series: Standalone
Published: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Atria
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

{Read my review of Black Iris}

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she's been running from—those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself..

Cam Girl is the second book I’ve read by Leah Raeder. After reading and loving Black Iris and hearing a few early things about Cam Girl, I was prepared for another mindfuck of a book, and that’s exactly what this was. A mindfuck, an emotional roller coaster, a story with themes that make you think, make you question, and for a lot of people, myself included, make you feel not so alone. Cam Girl is intense, it’s emotional, it’s sexy, and it deals with gender and sexuality and identity in a way I haven’t seen before, but that’s so important and necessary. In a lot of ways, it’s a story about blurred lines - between friendship, between identity, between the person you are the person the world thinks you are.

In a lot of ways, I identified with and understood Vada. Many of her thoughts about sexuality and orientation rang very true for me. In the last year or so, I’ve only really started to realize the assumptions people make about others. I’ve been guilty of it myself. This book talks about inherent misogyny and homophobia - it’s how a lot of us grew up, the ideas we were taught about right and wrong, about sex and gender and identity. For a lot of us, sex was a taboo thing that wasn’t discussed, so of course there weren’t discussions about gender beyond things like blue being for boys and pink being for girls, and assigned/stereotypical gender roles, the things 'only women do' and 'only men do', and god forbid a boy wants to play with a doll or a girl is into trucks or sports or superheros. Gender is decided at birth, and you’d better stick within the confines of that gender. It’s an amazing thing to have your eyes and mind opened, how ever it happens. For many people, being comfortable in their skin and knowing who they are is a luxury. If you’ve never questioned it, if you’ve never struggled, been afraid, wished you were different, you’re lucky. These are just some of the many things Cam Girl deals with.

It’s hard to say too much about this book without getting into plot details and spoilers, but I will say the writing was beautiful, the characters were complex, the setting was incredibly vivid, and there was plenty of suspense that kept me wondering, questioning, and also kept me on the edge of my seat.

Cam Girl
is raw, emotional, powerful, and beautiful. It’s an unforgettable story that has the power to open your mind in a lot of ways, make you think and question and see things you might not have seen before.

"The older we get, the more shadows we let in. There was nothing left in me that shone. If I could still do a self-portrait, all I’d draw would be a silhouette." ~ 13%

Have you read Cam Girl? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

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