Title: Not Your #LoveStory
Author: Sonia Hartl
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Thank you to Page Street Kids for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
#PlaneBae meets Gilmore Girls in this hilarious and heartfelt story about the addictiveness of Internet fame and the harsh realities of going viral.
Macy Evans dreams of earning enough income from her YouTube channel, R3ntal Wor1d, to leave her small, Midwestern town. But when she meets a boy named Eric at a baseball game, and accidently dumps her hotdog in his lap, her disastrous “meet-cute” becomes the topic of a viral thread. Now it’s not loyal subscribers flocking to her channel, it’s Internet trolls. And they aren’t interested in her reviews of VHS tapes—they only care about her relationship with Eric.
Eric is overly eager to stretch out his fifteen minutes of fame, but Macy fears this unwanted attention could sabotage her “real-life” relationships—namely with the shy boy-next-door, Paxton, who she’s actually developing feelings for. Macy knows she should shut the lie down, though she can’t ignore the advertising money, or the spark she gets in her chest whenever someone clicks on her videos. Eric shouldn’t be the only one allowed to reap the viral benefits. But is faking a relationship for clicks and subscribers worth hurting actual people?
What if you woke up one morning to find out the you were the next internet sensation? Macy Evans knows exactly what that’s like. All it took was a baseball game, a hottie, a trip to the restroom with him escorting her, a fly ball and a stranger documenting the whole ordeal on Twitter do her life to be flipped upside down.
Not Your #LoveStory is her second novel with Hartl’s debut being Have A Little Faith in Me, a book about female empowerment, sex positivity, and consent. While these themes are still prevailing in her newest book, Macy has to deal with another form of consent; having her life shared online without her permission.
Macy is dragged hard by the haters who think she banged a guy at a Braves baseball game. I mean even if she did who cares and whose business is it beyond hers? A stranger shares all of this online and the boy in question jumps aboard the internet sensation train without even consulting Macy or shutting down the lie that he had sex with her. While she may dream of being a real YouTuber who can make money for her poor family and this sounds like the perfect opportunity, in reality it starts to affect who she is as a person and the relationships she has in her life.
Macy herself was such a complex character and I loved that the Evans women used movies to broach tough subjects such as classism, sex and feminism. The relationship between the three women was one of the many highlights of this book. While they might bicker they obviously loved each other and would skin anyone alive who ever hurt one of them. Grandma was hilarious, stubborn and sassy as hell while her mom was a sweetheart and such a hard worker. Together they survived and did the best with the hand life had dealt them.
There was definitely some romance happening, both a fake one and something a lot more real. The fake boyfriend was truly awful but Paxton, our true love interest, was such a sweet baby angel that deserved to be protected at all costs. He lives with his grandma and her life partner who has shown him how to raise rabbits and show them at the local county fair. He adores his baby rabbits and his grandmas which is just so heartwarming and endearing. He was super patient with Macy even though he had his own feelings about what she was going through due to some past demons. Together they were hilarious and their moments together were realistically perfect.
While sex might not be one of the main plot points like it was in Have A Little Faith in Me, it’s still very present. Macy is dragged for supposedly having sex at the game while the golden baseball boy gets no such slack. Macy also uses her favorite movies to promote feminist forward thinking along with female sex positivity. It wasn’t ever shoved in your face but more lightly touched on in these scenarios to show this is 2020 and girls can do whatever they want with their bodies.