Rating: 5 Cups of CoffeeGoodreads Book Description:
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...
Leah Raeder is an artist with her words. I’m completely convinced that she painted the pages of this book with her verses. I remember jokingly saying how much I needed to read this ASAP, but it never felt as true as it did once I actually finished reading the story.
“Simplify what you see until it’s only bones, essence, soul. That’s the only way to understand what something really is.”
CAM GIRL is complex, with characters that are hurting—deeply hurting— because of an accident that ruined each of their lives for completely different reasons. Their stories are lyrically told through Vada’s POV and poetic in a way that is entirely Leah Raeder.
“I felt perpetually unready for my life. Maybe that was the trick: accepting that readiness wasn’t real, wasn’t ever going to happen, and living anyway.”
A car accident set off a series of events that shaped all of the characters differently. For some, it sparked life into their lives; for others, it diminished the spark of life. How the characters let the accident define them is also equally different. Vada can't seem to forget or escape that one night; Ellis won't talk about it at all.
Vada is vulnerable, yet strong. She is fierce, yet can easily be crumbled. Love is her weakness. Ellis is her weakness. After the accident, things change between the two of them. They grow distant and lose sight of what they truly want. Their friendship/relationship was staggering in its toxicity.
“You can miss someone without missing the way they hurt you.”
I could feel the way they built each other up just as easily as they could tear each other down. I didn’t know if I wanted to root for them because of their manic love. It was wicked and secretive; the way they loved with abandon was frightening in its honesty.
“You can fall in love again with someone you’re already in love with. It’s like waking from a dream within a dream and finding another layer, the colors more vivid, the light more lucid, the fantasy more real. Being in love is an endless loop of waking to reverie.”
Vada becomes a cam girl because it’s easy money–something she is desperately lacking—and because she finds the control in it heady. She finds comfort in this sense of empowerment and she appreciates the attention she receives. Then she meets a man who goes by the name of Blue, and he just somehow understands her completely – he sees through her loneliness and isn’t afraid to call her out on it. She finds solace in camming with him because sometimes not having all the answers to a person makes them all the more intriguing.
“The words hung in the air between us. I felt so light now. The truth is a heavy thing, and you can’t fight the undertow forever.”
The feeling of utter aloneness that some of these characters feel is deeply jarring. Leah writes with honesty and passion. Her words are enthralling and tell a story unlike any I’ve ever read. This story holds secrets that will have you feeling like maybe if you could just read a bit faster, flip the pages a bit quicker, you'll be closer to figuring them all out.
CAM GIRL takes apart the idea of gender and will help you better understand gender and sexuality, especially because the two aren't mutually exclusive. CAM GIRL is gritty, addictive, and about accepting a person at their very core. It's about accepting a person's soul.
“All art comes from pain.”a Rafflecopter giveaway
Atria Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501114991 | On sale: | 432 pages | US $16.00eBook: Atria Books | ISBN: 9781501115004 | On sale: | 432 pages | US $5.99
About the Author
Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. She is also the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at www.leahraeder.com.