Today I’m going to be talking about a few things I loved about the queerest book I’ve ever laid my greedy queer hands upon, Jen Wilde’s THE BRIGHTSIDERS. There are so, so many things to love about this book. It’s about Emmy, the drummer for her band The Brightsiders, a bisexual girl who hasn’t come out to her fans yet. She’s been in the spotlight a lot lately at the start of the book because of her bad habits, including drinking and being a general mess. THE BRIGHTSIDERS deals with other topics too, like toxic relationships from romantic ones to toxic parents, romance, and generally being very, very queer. Without further ado, here are three things I loved most about this fantastic book:
- Teen rockstar book with a twist. I’ve read my fair share of celebrity YA books, but they tend to run on the fluffier side of things. THE BRIGHTSIDERS has some fluff, but also has a dark, gritty side. This includes Emmy’s aforementioned drinking problems, as well as her relationship with her super toxic parents, which effects even the people around her as the book goes on. The queerness is also part of the twist, though definitely not used for that purpose, and helps make this a very unique teen rockstar story.
- Amazing queer rep. It’s been a long, LONG time since I read a book with such great queer representation. Emmy is bisexual, one of her bandmates is masculine pronoun nonbinary, another friend is femme nonbinary, and another later comes out as bisexual. It also includes intersectionality since some of the queer characters are also black, which doesn’t play into the story a ton, but comes up and is dealt with with finesse. I was super stoked that one of the characters is pansexual nonbinary, because I’ve never seen myself so fully represented in a book. Honestly, all the discussion of various queer identities made me want to cry because it was so perfect and spot-on, though without being preachy or unnatural to the story.
- The relationships. There are many complex relationships in THE BRIGHTSIDERS, from romantic ones to friendships to Emmy’s parents, who are extremely awful and seriously do not deserve the time of day from her. I liked how every relationship had so many layers, and you could see why Emmy wanted some of them, even the toxic ones. I also thought it was great how the author explored the toxicity of some of Emmy’s relationships, including a discussion of gaslighting, which I haven’t seen in a YA book before. I also LOVED the friendships, and loved seeing a group of queer friends, because it is so true that queer people tend to travel in packs.
All in all, this book was simply magical and amazing. It was very unique, diverse, and dealt with a lot of really important issues in a genuine, natural way that can sometimes be hard to achieve. I adored Emmy and all of her friends and bandmates, completely shipped the romance, and thought it was just a perfect book. I have already started recommending this book to everyone I know, and I will continue to do so because this book deserves so. Much. Hype. All the hype should go to THE BRIGHTSIDERS this year, and if you haven’t read it yet, GET ON IT!!