Review: Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

Note: This ARC was provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ellis gave me that aw-shucks tomboy smile, ever so slightly crooked, and I couldn't help myself. The words were out before they hit me.

"I love you," I said.

We both stared, a little shocked."I love you, too."

We'd said these words a thousand times. But right now it felt like the first.

Vada Bergen and Ellis Carraway have been best friends for five years. They've also been more than friends on and off. They're each other's world, but when an unfortunate car accident takes the life of a teenager and costs Vada the use of her arm she uses to create her art, their worlds drift away from one another. When Vada finally pushes Ellis away, neither believed it would truly be the end of everything they shared.

Months later, Vada is still struggling to move on without Ellis by her side. She's barely holding on to a job that she needs but doesn't necessarily want, and when she's unable to make rent, she's forced to move out of her apartment. Then an unexpected opportunity to earn a more than fair amount of money as a cam girl is presented to her. She doesn't really mind doing what's asked of her, as long as the tips come rolling in. 

Then someone nicknamed Blue begins to make his presence felt. He soon grabs her attention and refuses to share her with anyone else. He's different from her other clients, almost as if he wants the real Vada, not the one performing on-cam. She's falling for the faceless man who makes her feel like almost no other person has before...except for Ellis Carraway. Can she ever give her heart to Blue if it still belongs to Ellis?

I'm going to be completely honest here and admit that I requested to review this book without reading the blurb. I based it all on the fact that it was written by Leah Raeder, whose first novel, Unteachable, was one that I quite enjoyed. I have yet to read her second novel, but trust me when I say that it's firmly entrenched on my to-be-read list. So, when I saw Cam Girl on NetGalley, I requested and actually squeeed happily when I got my approval notification via email. When the release day finally rolled around and I decided it was time to read the book, suffice it to say that whatever expectations I had were blown out of the water. I knew it was going to be written well and that the story was going to be different, but never did I realize just how overwhelming Vada Bergen and Ellis Carraway's story would be and I mean that in a totally good way.

Vada, just like the cam girl she is, is the headliner of this book. She's flawed and can sometimes be frustratingly insensitive and self-centered, but she's also a very confused young woman who isn't sure if what or who she wants is something or someone she can really stand by. There's no denying that she loves Ellis, but does she love her enough to shed herself of the preconceived shame that comes with being in love with another woman? Ellis is ready to fight for what they have, but it's difficult to fight for a relationship that seems to be one-sided most of the time or when one is far more invested in it than the other. This book is about Vada's journey to discovering and accepting who she really is and realizing that conforming to what she thinks is acceptable for everyone else does not necessarily guarantee happiness.

Figuring out who Blue is was easy and my one and only guess remained constant from the very beginning of Blue's appearance. Then there was the whole mystery regarding Max Vandermeer and his son, Ryan, who was involved in the car accident, and I had my two assumptions there as well, both of which were proven true. But even believing I was right about these important factors in the story didn't diminish the anticipation of getting to those points in the story were each one was revealed. There's nothing simple about this tale and there are numerous moments of angst-driven drama, but you empathize with these characters, becoming increasingly emotionally invested. Cam Girl is a top read for 2015 and I'm seriously recommending you read it and make sure you don't skip the author's Acknowledgements. Five-plus stars. ♥

Release Date: 03 November 2015

Date Read: 03 November 2015

Learn more about Leah Raeder.

Purchase Cam Girl on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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