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Thank you to ECW Press for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya is a unique portrayal of artists navigating their way through the Canadian music industry. Neela Devaki is a performing jazz singer. When Rukmini (written as RUK-MINI for the ease of the industry and internet fans) covers one of Neela’s songs, her video goes viral, causing the two artists to meet and an intense friendship to begin.
What follows is a tumultuous roller-coaster relationship ride. RUK-MINI’s star begins to rise and Neela’s popularity drops as she blends into the background of the music scene. Then throw in a high level of social media consumption with a single tweet written in haste, and these women find themselves battling it out in a media controversy.
This book is one that you have to read in only one or two sittings. That’s mostly because the writing is so detailed that you might miss out on nuggets of information. And then it’s partly because you’re so intrigued you won’t want to put it down anyways!
The author captures the nuances and complexities of close female friendships very well with the themes of jealousy, self-doubt, and mental sabotage that can be present. It’s unique and authentic and I can’t say I’ve ever read anything quite like it.
I could relate to the feelings of jealousy you experience from the sidelines of a relationship. How many times have I scrolled through Instagram and been stung by friends having fun and making memories without me? How many times have I read a tweet or Facebook post over and over trying to determine the underlying message of it? Fear of missing out is a very real feeling and you can begin to wonder why you weren’t included. Is it because you’re not as good? Talented? Fun? Open and Honest? Cue the mental tailspin. I’ve never read a book that has captured this aspect of female friendship before. Never.
This book covers themes of representation in the arts, specifically the music industry, and the whiteness of audiences. Sometimes the artists who came before are forgotten once a new artist is in the spotlight. It’s a culturally diverse read that should be included in any #ownvoices list of books set in the entertainment industry. I think there is so much a reader can unpack and dissect after reading this book. So read it, share it, and talk about it.
My Rating: (4 / 5)
The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya comes out on April 7, 2020.