Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell: Falling in Love Under the Spotlight

3 stars

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to their mommy blogging mother. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand.

Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “Just Claire”? And when Claire discovers her Mom’s old journals, she discovers hidden secrets about her Mom’s perfect blog persona and what role she herself plays in their family.

🌸 12+! I think it’s cute, but it can be a little deceiving as it deals with some darker topics with the secret Claire discovers that might be a little daunting to middle-school readers.

add to goodreads here

I have mixed feelings about this one, and there’s a lot of pros and cons to the different elements.

For a romantic contemporary, it wasn’t bad, but it also felt like it was stuck somewhere between romance and coming-of-age novel and couldn’t decided what it wanted to be. I think conceptually it is really cute–I love the idea of a romance and someone who is the daughter of a Mommy Blogger having to deal with that certain brand of fame.

But, I also think parts of this book had its flaws. First off,

The romance was cute!

I think my favorite part of this whole book was definitely Rafael–I loved Rafael as a character and love interest and he was so fun and cute and a very sweet love interest!

Plus, I do think he complemented Claire well and provided a good contrast against her, although I’m not entirely sure how well Claire complemented him.

There were some miscommunication issues on Claire’s side that were kinda confusing and I’m not really sure why she couldn’t clear it up? Sometimes I just felt like her decisions were a little too unrealistic, and that she should have just talked things out.

So yeah. LOVED Rafael and I think he’s a character that’s sweet enough to complement anyone, but I’m not 100% sure how much I enjoy him and Poppy together.

Claire and Poppy had an interesting sister dynamic.

Claire is the “I don’t like fame” twin, and Poppy is the “YAY FAME” twin, and I think this was a really interesting contrast–especially with the way the book focused on things from Claire’s perspective.

I think in the last fourth of the book, we really got to see more of the Claire and Poppy dynamic in this portion and this is where I would say the relationship bloomed the most. I can’t say to the accuracy (I am–alas–an only child.), but I think this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book! The way they worked things out and really solidified that they were not just sisters, but friends was really sweet to me.

And I think they were a really big contrast against each other, and I’m not necessarily sure how much I liked Poppy. I know the book was more about Claire, but Poppy felt kind of underdeveloped for a big part of the book.

Mommy blogging: a more dangerous profession than you might imagine.

I really liked how this book shined the light on how blogging/internet fame can get dangerous. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it does delve a little deeper into the Kathleen Hale side of things, if you know what I mean.

I think the spotlight comes with a lot of different struggles, and although McDowell highlighted the struggles (creepers, people thinking they know you, etc.), something just…didn’t sit right with me?

I’m not very good at pinpointing this, but if I had to describe it, it would be that Claire and Poppy are still very very privileged. And I’m not saying this negates any experiences famous/popular people have, but sometimes things they said or the way they acted came of as a little…bratty.

Like their social media rules: notably, “don’t post photos of people with double chins.” Idk, this came off as like kinda harmful to me? I’m definitely not the best judge of this, but it seems off that your standard of beauty + social media fame doesn’t involve fat people?

And just in general I wish they did just . . . a little more with their fame in a positive way. Donating to charity. Doing something nice for someone because of your fame. Etc. I felt like we didn’t really get to know why they kept blogging etc. except for the fact that they wanted a comfortable life when they . . . already had a comfortable life?

I don’t know–their motivations for doing this wasn’t really clear, especially for Poppy who felt shallow for a large portion of the book.

So although I like it conceptually, a lot of the privilege associated with blogging felt unaddressed to me.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read.

It just wasn’t my favorite, either, and I think there were some places that could have used a little more. And there were a few plotlines (Erica and her other friend) that I wish were wrapped up more.

Overall, I think that if you’re attracted to the concept, you should definitely pick Just for Clicks up! It is cute and a light read, so good for when you’re in that kind of mood!

Thank you so much to Amberjack for sending me an advance reader’s copy n exchange for an honest review!

Are you interested in reading Just for Clicks?

11 thoughts on “Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell: Falling in Love Under the Spotlight

  1. This is a lovely review, Vicky! I’m happy to hear you found things to like in this book, but I have to agree with you about Poppy feeling a little shallow at first. I appreciated the sister relationship a lot and how the dynamic showed a bit better towards the last part of the book, it made me a little sad that Poppy wasn’t entirely developed before though. Still, I loved this book a lot! 🙂 Happy you still would recommend it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Marie!!! And yeah, even though there were things I wasn’t into, I did think it still had a decent number of redeeming qualities ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I forgot the social media posting rules! Those things were SO OBNOXIOUS. that’s all 😂 I mean, this was a fun book, but sometimes, I was just a little annoyed with them and I couldn’t pinpoint, but you nailed it! It was the real privilege that was making me grit my teeth. It just permeated everything?

    Anyway, Rafael was just adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes! I had to take a shower to pinpoint what exactly didn’t click with me on that, and I think some of the privilege was a bit uncomfy.



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