by Leah Raeder
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: November 3, 2015 by Atria Books
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Source: Publisher via Mail
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...
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Leah Raeder always introduces a New Adult story that’s not cliche, not normal, very complex and filled with metaphorical prose from start to finish. Cam Girl is no exception and I found it to be even more impacting seeing as just before I read this book, Leah had posted in the Facebook group her story or at least pieces of it. It opened my eyes to her as a person and while I was reading Cam Girl, I felt like I was taking some glimpses into Leah’s life, which made it all more real for me.
Now Cam Girl makes you question what you believe in, who you are as a person and what you are doing with your life. It also forces the questions about gender identity and incorporates a new term for me: genderfluid. I had heard about genderfluid but never really paid much attention until this story.
“It’s when the gender you identify as changes.”
Vada is an extremely complex character. There where times where I wasn’t sure if I hated her or not. In the end, I realized that I didn’t because she is struggling through life, trying to figure out who she is. What I don’t agree with is using Elle in the process without fully realizing it but Vada and Elle have a toxic friendship. I had never met such characters with a major toxic friendship yet it somehow worked for them while at the same time separating them. While reading Vada’s story, I could see a little bit of Leah in her and that had me even more intrigued to continue reading, knowing that this story is very special to the author seeing as she’s kind of opening herself to the reader. Not only that but I think, if the reader is ready to admit it, each one of us can find some or various characteristics in Vada that we have. Don’t glare at me. I know it isn’t easy to believe this but it’s true. Vada is trying to find herself amidst all the chaos in her life while dealing with depression at the same time.
You fall in love with it a little. Depression. It’s an abusive romance. It hurts like hell but you don’t want it to stop, because at least hurt is a feeling. At least it reminds you you’re still alive.
I was taken aback by the sex-trade. Leah portrayed it so vividly that it was hard to grasp at times and I struggled with it. However, Leah ended up showing this as a way to accept your identity, the reason why some people could do it for besides the money. I think she did a good job in portraying this view of camming, even though it is not something I’m comfortable with.
The sub-plot in this story was something that had me intrigued and left me on edge but at the same time, it got to a point where it was too much. Now when it came to this other character, Blue, I was beyond skeptical. I had various suspicions and this certain character crossed my mind and for some unknown reason I never paid attention to it and once it was revealed, part of me was screaming “I told you” and the other part was torn and broken and shocked! Leah’s writing has a way of weaving character’s life with one another right before our eyes and yet, sometimes we lose sight of it. Not saying this is a bad thing because I loved what she did with it even though I couldn’t even begin to understand what was happening.
This story was powerful in more ways than one. Only if you read it and keep an open-mind will you really understand what I’m talking about. This story isn’t just about Vada. It’s about Elle, Blue, Max and even us. Each character holds something that the reader will hold on to as well, that the reader will identify or relate to. Leah can worm her way into your heart and mind with her beautiful prose and it will glue to your soul. It has a certain darkness that we need to shy away from but the reality is that the darkness is constantly present and I love how Leah always finds a way to pick that darkness or secret inside each of us and make us question many things we believe in. When an author succeeds in doing so, then you know this is an author that you can’t turn your back on and you need to always read their stories. Leah is one of those brilliant authors that I will always support and will always read her stories and treasure them dearly.
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