Book Review: Girl Gone Viral

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai


Trigger Warning: Emotionally abusive parent, internet doxxing, PTSD

Reclusive former-model Katrina King’s world goes from low-key lusting after her longterm bodyguard to being the second half of a viral live-tweet relationship—a relationship that was completely made up. Terrified of being outed, Katrina flees into the country with Jas, her bodyguard, and both slowly start to realize they have sparks for each other.

This was hella cute, but before I get into the review itself, this celebrity-gossip hungry nosy neighbor has a PSA:

Please, for the love of whatever you hold holy, do not live tweet other people’s relationships.

If you find yourself tempted, follow these actions:

1. Assess the situation. Do you know, for a fact, what is happening? If no, don’t tweet.
2. Think about how you’d feel? Talk about invasion of privacy.
3. If you absolutely must because you cannot contain your sense of squee, group chat that thing. Don’t spread it on social media.

Also, second PSA: don’t propose in a public place without thoroughly vetting this with the proposee. Just. Don’t.

Okay, with that pesky business out of the way, on to the review!

I’ll be honest, I was underwhelmed with The Right Swipe, and since I had requested this book before reading book 1 (whoops), I felt obligated to give it a try. And it more than delivered!

I definitely wanted to read more about Katrina, and this book was a delight with deeper undertones.

Katrina’s past comes into light, along with her slow creep back into the public sphere after suffering through panic attacks intensified by an emotionally manipulative and abusive stage-father, and Jas’s past is also revealed.

I might have rated this higher because of Jas’s past, which hit on a lot of things that I felt so keenly. Particularly his courage in calling out a war crime, and the massive backlash that he and his fellow soldier received in being the whistleblowers. The sense of isolation and hurt from that incident and its aftermath, in addition to the PTSD he suffered from all of the other things he experienced before that, made my heart ache. There is nothing more painful than being forcefully driven away from the community that claimed it would cherish you for life, particularly when you did something painfully brave.

They used us until we were useless and then tossed us out, even while paying lip service to the ideals we were told we served.

Moral courage is harder than physical courage, and Jas paid that price in spades.

Anywho, after the whole #Cafebae and #CuteCafeGirl go viral, and the douchecanoe Katrina politely rejected reveals his douchecanoery by claiming that they were indeed an item, Jas spirits Katrina to the countryside and coincidentally reveals his own family issues.

In my mind, corn and clowns and farms all go hand-in-hand. And bears. Are there bears?

I loved his family.

Particularly his grandfather, who was fucking hilarious, underhanded and just not ashamed at anything when it came to bringing his family together.

Jas’s family dynamic was awesome, particularly since he was the child who left while his non-heir-to-the-family-fortune stepbrother stayed and ran the show.

I also loved Katrina’s culture shock, going from the glamorous city life to the poor countryside, and then realizing that there is country rich, too. And that there are no bears near Sacramento. Not so sure on the clown side.

The best part of the book was Katrina and Jas’ growing relationship, as they navigated from client-employer to something deeper, and both learned that they had to open up and make themselves vulnerable in order to make their relationships work—and that despite having lived with each other for nine years they still didn’t know everything about each other.

Rai did a fantastic job in subtly calling out the trope of alpha men being so utterly devoted to their heroine’s every need and whim that their own desires become whatever the heroine wants. Jas has lived his entire life devoted to Katrina, and it’s funny (and honest) how quickly his “whatever you want I want” answers become old, fast, despite it being the ideal for men. I liked that Jas slowly grew his own motivations and learned to express what he liked, and how he realized that it’s not healthy to utterly devote yourself to one person’s every whim. It’s good to be a little selfish, too.

I liked their relationship and I liked where it was going, and I also liked the supporting characters. This is definitely a much better entry in the Modern Love series, and I’m intrigued to see where it goes next.

Also, the rep in this book is off the charts!

The only things I wasn’t fond of was the resolution between the initial cause of drama, and how quickly and easily some very complicated situations were wrapped up.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

Girl Gone Viral released April 21, 2020, from Avon.

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