Thank you to Emily Bleeker, Lake Union Publishing, and Books Forward for my Advanced Reader’s Copy of What It Seems!
You guys know that I love the opportunity to read books, especially new books or emerging authors. I was not familiar with Emily Bleeker when I was presented the opportunity to read What It Seems. It turns out that another of her novels is being turned into a television show! You go girl!
After reading What It Seems, Emily Bleeker has definitely made it to my list of authors I’ll be watching.
About Emily Bleeker
Emily Bleeker is a former educator who discovered her passion for writing after introducing a writer’s workshop to her students. She soon found a whole world of characters and stories living inside of her mind. It took a battle with a rare form of cancer to give her the courage to share that amazing world with others. Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her family. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running.
What It Seems
The novel follows a young girl named Tara. She was adopted by a controlling foster mother at the age of eight. Due to the foster mother’s control, she has seen very little of the world outside their small apartment. Interactions with strangers are limited. In fact,
Mother’s rule number two of leaving the house: never make eye contact with anyone, especially in the fancy stores.What It Seems, Page 1
We come to learn that Mother uses Tara to steal from fancy stores, to turn around and sell items on the internet. This is their only form of income. We also learn that Mother is both physically and emotionally abusive, berating Tara so far into submission that her life is full of fear.
Tara’s only respite from this life comes from a YouTube family. They post fun videos, showing a perfect family, and Tara believes it’s her dream. One day, the family posts a video that they’re looking for a summer intern. Before she can think twice, Tara applies and gains an interview.
Fast forward to when Tara has reached her breaking point with Mother, she is out and on her way to work for AllTheFeels.
As a young adult, she’s trying to navigate how to be an adult, the behind the scenes of this YouTube family, and how she can officially break free from Mother.
Then, a whole bunch of other things happen, and I can’t get too deep into them without giving too much away.
To put it simply, everything is not always what it seems.
Overall, I gave What It Seems three stars. Emily wrote well, but certain parts of it were just a bit predictable and unnecessary. For example, I don’t feel that it was helpful to the storyline that the father of the YouTube family physically assaulted Tara. With everything else in the book, it felt like something that was just tossed in.
For me, the “AllTheFeels” family was a little too close to The Holderness Family (in real life. It’s possible they were somewhat of an inspiration for the family.) for my liking. However, I did appreciate that the novel takes the life of “social media influencers” and exposes it just a bit.
Like I said, Emily Bleeker is an author to watch, and I’m so excited to see what she comes up with next. What It Seems published March 17, 2020.
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