I’m PSYCHED about this month’s reading challenge prompt – faux celebrity fiction or influencer books! Who doesn’t love a peak behind the curtain of the rich and famous?
We met Katie at a local bookstore where we all went to see Kiley Reid speak about her book, Such a Fun Age. When the event was done, we wandered down to a local restaurant for drinks and desserts.
While we haven’t been able to meet-up again because of the pandemic, she’s high on our list of people to see post-Covid. She’s as sweet in person as she is online and she reads more books in a year than Jackie and I combined!
We knew that she needed to write one of the lists for the reading challenge this year and we are so thrilled she agreed to do the faux celebrity and influencer
We divided the list below by types of celebrities. You will see faux influencer books, books featuring podcasters and reality tv stars, and more traditional fictional athletes and musicians.
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Faux Influencer Books
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd *Katie Recommends
Emmy aka @the_mamabare is the hottest momfluenster around. With over a million followers, Emmy has everything, including her two children that she uses to her advantage to gain followers.
While her husband Dan doesn’t love what Emmy does for work, there is no doubt it pays the bills while he works on his second novel. Unfortunately, there is someone that doesn’t believe Emmy deserves her success, and she is determined that Emmy lose everything she has lost.
This book definitely kept me guessing, and it is 100% a love to hate the main character situation. Either way, I think this book was fantastic and definitely made me think twice about “influencers” I follow and what I believe from them.
Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez *Katie Recommends
This was my favorite book in this series by the fabulous Abby Jimenez! Adrian, Vanessa, Grace, and their entire cast of characters won my heart over immediately and left me in tears.
Vanessa is a YouTube star whose sarcasm was a true gem and had me laughing throughout the entire story. Well….until she had me crying!
Followers by Megan Angelo *Katie Recommends
This book covers Orla and Floss in 2016 and also follows Marlow in 2051. The time periods are incredibly different, and technology has changed in massive ways.
While Orla and Floss are living it up as influencers in 2016, Marlow is living her life 100% on screen in 2051. Every second of her day except for bathroom breaks and doctor’s appointments are on screen for the world to see and her life is run by the production company.
I went into this one pretty blind and I’m glad I did so I didn’t want to give too much away! Think of the Truman show. That is Marlow’s life. Meanwhile, Floss is basically the girl that just came back from being on the bachelor and is selling you skinny tea.
This book was so great but also incredibly scary. I think this book did a great job showing the good and not-so-good sides of the digital world, and I truly enjoyed it. Its definitely one of the more thought-provoking influencer books.
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai *Katie Recommends
Dev is incredibly confused when Jia finally tells him that they have been talking and falling for each other for months. Jia is mortified when she realizes she has been catfished, and even more so when she starts to fall for the real man.
I completely fell for both Jia and Dev, as well as the cast of characters in their lives! They were so real and just genuinely great characters!
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner *Katie Recommends
Daphne and Drue had a very “mean girls” high school friendship. Drue had it all, and Daphne loved being in her friend group, except for when Drue pushed her to the outside. After a night out, Daphne decides this friendship is not a good one for her.
Six years later, Due tracks Daphne down, with a huge request. To be her maid of honor. Daphne gives in, but when a tragedy strikes the night before the wedding, Daphne isn’t sure what to do.
I thought the look at social media and influencers (Daphne is one) was very timely and fascinating. I also enjoyed that Weiner dove into some difficult topics such as body image, expectations of women, and especially social media and the trolls that can live there.
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid *Katie Recommends
Alix is your stereotypical rich white woman and fledgling influencer. Her babysitter, Emira, is minding her own business, doing her
Alix is shocked and horrified that this confrontation happened and makes it her goal to make sure Emira knows that she is truly loved and considered part of their family. Meanwhile, Kelley who witnessed the altercation with the guard is making his way into
Sweet little Briar was the epitome of a perfect character, I absolutely loved her and Emira, and especially their relationship. This is one of those books that makes you question who you should be rooting for and wondering who is truly in the wrong/right.
This book tackles race in the most perfect of ways and is beautifully written. It’s another of the influencer books with more meaning.
This is a Jane Austen retelling featuring a souther home decor influencer! Told by both the second wife and through the diary entries of the first, this domestic thriller is perfect for year-round reading.
Kirsten was shocked, Jackie guessed a lot of it, but we Bothe enjoyed it a great deal. Who would have thought that so many influencer books would be thrillers!
Radio Personality and Podcasters Books
If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier *Katie Recommends
This was a different take on the podcaster idea that I feel has been popular recently. I really liked that the podcaster was the missing person, and a fan was the one doing the investigating this time.
While I did have a pretty good idea of who the “bad guy” was, this book still kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next.
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin *Katie Recommends
After the first season of her true-crime podcast, and setting an innocent man free, Rachel is quickly the newest sensation! She has gone to lengths to keep her identity a secret, but on her way to the trial for the newest season, Rachel finds a note under the windshield of her car.
Hannah is convinced her sister didn’t just drown but was murdered 25 years ago. While investigating for the new season, the letters keep showing up. Can Rachel help solve a new crime and an old one this time?
This one had me flipping pages trying to figure out what happened. I loved the podcast element of the story, and Rachel was such a badass throughout the book.
I picked up The Ex-Talk because I wanted to read a romance by a Jewish author. I loved that this one featured a biracial, interfaith couple.
The concept was cute – two radio show hosts fake a relationship to try to get ratings. Except they are pretending they already dated and broke up… which eventually leads to them actually dating. It was a cute, easy read.
Pretend Musicians Novels
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid *Katie Recommends
Within the first few pages I wasn’t sure how I felt about the layout and how the story was told in small bits from different perspectives, but once I got used to it I loved it.
Rock bands have never really been a huge interest to me so I was curious how I would feel about a book focused completely on that. It did not matter. The story of Daisy Jones and the Six, but mainly the story of Daisy and Billy was so compelling right from the start.
I couldn’t wait to find out how the story progressed and how they found their successes, failures, love, loss
Bel Canto’s story about a months-long hostage situation was lovely. It was so interesting to see the relationship between the hostages and their captures develop.
One of the main people is a famous Opera singer and the reason everyone was at the venue on the night of the capture. The movie adaptation was great too.
Faux Celebrity Fiction Books
The Comeback by Ella Berman *Katie Recommends
Grace Turner was Hollywood’s “it” girl. She had it all, so why on the night of her first Golden Globe nomination did she disappear? It’s a year later, and Grace is finally ready to come back to LA. Will she be able to get past all the trauma her director Able put her through?
Wow. This book dives into what it truly costs to be a child star. Through Bermans writing, we get a look into the grooming that goes into making a teen girl a star and the way Able made her reliant on him and his affections, leaving her unable to say no when he made his advances.
My heart just broke for Grace, and at times I had to remind myself that even in the current day narrative she was only 22 and facing some challenges that were well beyond her years.
People always seem to make it a joke that child actors get caught up in drinking, drugs, and being taken advantage of, but my goodness is it sad to think about what they have been through and how they got to that point. This was a bit of a slower burn, and a rough, but incredible read!
A cute, engrossing story about 3 friends who set out to conquer Hollywood during its golden era. Their tale of homophobia, racism, and sexism was balanced by the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle.
This was definitely a gritty tale that looked at Hollywood’s underbelly with a frankness that took away some of the sparkle.
Cormoran Strike is a private investigator on the verge of failure when a client walks through the door with an amazing story.
He is the brother of the recently deceased Lulu Landry, a famous supermodel.
A tell-all about a fictional Elizabeth Taylor-
Evelyn Hugo has asked an unknown reporter, Monique Grant, to write her life story in a no-holds-barred book. There is a bit of mystery around why Monique was chosen and Evelyn certainly has her fair share of hardships as she claws her way to the top.
The drama and suffering add dimension to the story that makes it so much more than fluff, though the inner workings of Hollywood were fun to read too. The story seems so candid that I honestly forgot that Evelyn Hugo was not a real celebrity. Taylor Jenkins Reid slays with this story finding the perfect balance of glamour and grit.
A fictionalized account of the TomKat relationship that was the talk of the town for quite a few years.
Told from the perspective of the wife, Lizzie Pepper, we get a faux look at the world of Scientology and Hollywood. It’s over the top in the best way possible.
The book takes place over the Memorial Day weekend after famed comedian, Hugo Best, retires from his late-night comedy show. June, a former writer’s assistant on the show (and a stranger) is invited by Hugo to stay with him for the weekend.
The book is told entirely from June’s perspective as she spends the weekend with the man she’s idolized since childhood. Despite the 30 year age difference, June is prepared to spend the weekend enjoying Hugo’s splendid mansion as well as his bed. But all doesn’t go to plan.
What could have been simply a fluff read, turned into a commentary on what the pursuit of fame does to a person, his family, and his values. Instead of a riotously fun weekend, June is at the epicenter of Hugo’s downfall.
This book is fun but complicated, the characters are richly drawn, and the writing kept me flipping the pages and laughing out loud numerous times.
Books Featuring Faux Athletes
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams *Katie Recommends
The first rule of book club? You don’t talk about book club. Especially when book club consists of some of the areas top male athletes reading romance novels.
Gavin’s marriage is ending. Both he and his wife have made some big mistakes, and he doesn’t know how to fix what is broken. That’s where book club comes in. But how will reading romance with his friends help him save his marriage?
This book was so good. I went in with some skepticism, I mean a book about a guy’s book club? It definitely proved me wrong. I loved watching the breaking and remaking of Gavin and Thea’s relationship and adored watching Gavin grow throughout the book.
When Evvie’s husband dies unexpectedly in a car crash, she is still staying in her house a year later. Everyone in her small town thinks that she is overcome with grief but in actuality, it is guilt.
Dean is a retired major league baseball pitcher who woke up one day and was unable to throw the ball over the plate. When he moves into the apartment in the back of Evvie’s house the two become friends and agree to never talk about baseball or the dead husband.
This YA novel is all about Olympic Gymnasts. It follows a fictional gymnast’s quest to make the Olympic team while trying to juggle friendships, family, rivalry, and chronic pain.
The book also heavily discusses sexual abuse from a Team USA coach. I think the balance was handled well for a book geared at young adults.
It balances the fun of the games with the seriousness of the assault scandal quite well.
Pretend Reality TV Stars
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London *Katie Recommends
Bea is a well-known plus-size fashion blogger, but quickly becomes more well known when she calls out everyone’s favorite tv show “Main squeeze” for having no diversity in the size of their cast members.
She has recently had her heart broken by her long-time best friend, so when the show reached out to her to be the next Main Squeeze, she is hesitant but ultimately decides to take the risk. This is just for her career though, she will NOT fall in love with any of these men.
This book was just so much fun and if you are a Bachelor fan, you should definitely read it!! This one could have gone in the influencer books section too.
This was an enjoyable family drama based around two sisters competing in a fictional reality tv food competition. As the competition turns to tricks and sabotaging, the sisters’ war with each other turns ugly.
Family secrets just keep getting exposed and the hijinx get better and better. This was the perfect light read to end 2020 with.
This one is for all you Chip and Joanna Gaines fans. Imagine if behind-the-scenes a beloved TV decorating couple actually hated each other’s guts.
Then imagine that they have decided to put out a book about their marriage and are heading out on tour. How to keep the trouble in paradise under wraps? Bring along a longtime female assistant and new handsome quasi-assistant to monitor the situation.
Let’s just hope the assistants can stay out of each other’s pants long enough to keep their bosses out of trouble.
It’s a thriller and chick-lit and feminist literature all in one! You start off knowing there is a murder and then traveling back to find out what happened and why she was killed.
But here is the kicker – the victim is a REALITY TV STAR. So the whole thing is like watching a behind-the-scenes look at Desperate Housewives.
It was seriously amazing guys. It’s truly the perfect beach read.