I’ve been an unabashed “Raeder Reader” since her first novel, Unteachable, and I’ve been lucky enough to snag her second and third novels as ARCs so I can share my reviews with you. (Thank you, Atria and NetGalley!)
Read more about the book below, along with my review, and then follow the link for a chance to win one of five signed copies of Cam Girl!
ABOUT CAM GIRL:
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 will bring back a ghost from her past.
Now Vada must confront what she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others and those she’s been keeping from herself…
Like Raeder’s previous heroines, Maise and Laney, I may not have been able to relate to Vada Bergen at first glance. Our circumstances are different, and I’m lucky to have never experienced the kind of suffering Vada has experienced. The narrative voice in Cam Girl is so clear; I found myself falling into Vada’s mindset with ease. Her feelings are beautifully described in stark images and vibrant colors (she is an artist, even at her most broken), and with Raeder’s expert attention to detail, I found myself thinking like Vada, too. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. The juxtaposition of darkness and light is awe-inspiring. Even pain, for all its hellish-ness, is beautiful in Vada’s voice.
Unlike the more conventional romance plot of Unteachable, Cam Girl‘s plot focuses on Vada’s personal journey as well as her relationships with the important figures in her life.
At the center of Vada’s world is Ellis, her best friend and sometimes-lover, a partner that Vada cannot commit to because she’s always imagined herself ending up with a man.
There is Max: a broken man who entangled himself in Vada’s life after the accident. What they mean to each other is unclear. Their relationship is precarious, balancing on the edge of a cliff.
Finally, there is Blue: a stranger that Vada begins chatting with during her cam girl sessions. There is something that the mysterious Blue awakens in Vada, and she cannot deny the attraction she feels for him. But how can she be in love with someone whose face she’s never seen? How can she fall in love with a screen name, when there are flesh-and-blood people in her life?
Cam Girl is a book that forces you to think about things that have not often been explored in new adult books. The camming industry is presented in raw, unapologetic terms, but all of the workers are strong and completely in control of their situations. They are not victims of their occupations, which is incredibly refreshing. Cam Girl raises many questions about gender, gender identity, and sexuality which I haven’t seen addressed in many other new adult books.
At its core, Cam Girl is a book about relationships, identity, and finding strength even in the most dire of circumstances. It is not a book about miraculous healing. The characters feel pain that is real, and raw, and it cannot be fixed easily – if at all. But Cam Girl is a book about fighting, and a book about love. Readers of new adult books will not be disappointed with this complex, emotionally-charged novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. She is also the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable andBlack 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.
CAM GIRL by Leah Raeder
Atria Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501114991 | On sale: November 3, 2015 | 432 pages | US $16.00 |
eBook: Atria Books | ISBN: 9781501115004 | On sale: November 3, 2015 | 432 pages | US $5.99