Alisha Rai has done it again.
If you missed it, last year Alisha Rai wrote The Right Swipe (review for that here) and it kind of took the romance world by storm. A book full of diverse characters set in the modern dating world, and full of tension and humor? It was everything we needed at that time. Now, we get more of it.
Girl Gone Viral focuses on Katrina, Rhiannon’s roommate from the first novel. We briefly meet her as the agoraphobic friend and investor in Rhiannon’s company, now we get to have a closer look at what going on with her. That’s where our love interest slash bodyguard comes in: Jasvinder or Jas. Now I know swoon worthy is overused, but let me tell you, this main is dedicated to making sure Katrina is safe and comfortable, he’s attentive, understanding, anticipates her needs, and he literally is paid to protect her. But that’s not really what makes him so great, what makes him so great is that he is constantly checking in with Katrina. He asks if she’s ok, what she needs, what she wants… that’s every girl’s dream.
There’s a bit of a quarantine feel to this, so just be aware of that heading in. I didn’t find it too upsetting or overwhelming, but given that Katrina suffers from agoraphobia and that they don’t really leave their environment much at all, I wanted to just cover my bases.
Katrina is suffering from PTSD, a topic that I’ve noticed is coming up a lot more in literature and I’m not mad about it. I think that it is wholly necessary to explore PTSD from many different perspectives and causes. Not all trauma is the same, not all trauma survivors are the same, and not all trauma responses are the same so I think having a lot of stories that reflect one of many many aspects of trauma recovery one may have, is a great thing. Katrina’s trauma is linked to a few different things, both explored but given different weight of importance.
I’ve seen reviews that say the trauma that both Katrina and Jas experienced were left too vague or unexplored and while I can see their point in some ways, I honestly feel like this did such a good job of not forgetting about plot points and sensitive topics (as opposed to being used in a way to create sympathy or emotional connection with a character only to be forgotten). Yes, there are multiple traumas, hey guess what? That’s super common and not at all overdoing it. Additionally, I think we do go into them as much as we need to. I think that the relationship with Katrina and her father could have been explored more, but I didn’t find it necessary.
Another thing I enjoyed that is related to what I just said, all of the resolutions didn’t happen at the end. They weren’t shoehorned into the last twenty pages because Rai was trying to wrap up all the loose ends. No, they were given thought, conflict, and recovery time and it allowed the story to ebb and flow more naturally. Just because we know that this will have a Happy Ever After ending, doesn’t mean we should expect all resolutions to be happy or to all be plugged into an epilogue. Basically what I’m getting at was that I think this book was pretty darn well balanced.
As far as the viral part of Girl Gone Viral, that part of the story line was maybe the weakest for me. I wanted more of the aftermath of her final decision, I wanted to see how it would turn out. I felt that that was the only thing where the resolution may have been done more in a way to convey good feelings and less reality.
In the end, I highly recommend this. I’m a big fan of Rai’s writing and I love that all of her books are jam packed with life, character, and heart.