It’s not a secret that I’m an Alisha Rai fangirl and so it’s not really surprising that when I got an ARC of Girl Gone Viral, I almost screamed despite being in court at the time. (Yes, I check my email while I’m in the courtroom, but listen, there’s a shocking amount of downtime for me in that room.) Anyway, after Avon/Netgalley made my whole day, I told myself I would wait until I survived 2019 to actually read the book, but lol, that was actually definitely not happening. I think I did make it a month though, so kudos to me for that. And then I read it and… I absolutely adored it. I think I may even have liked Girl Gone Viral more than The Right Swipe, which is high praise given that The Right Swipe was one of my top ten 2019 releases. So let’s break it down, shall we?
To set the scene: Katrina King is a former model with a heavy past who doesn’t really like to leave her safe spaces for fear of having a debilitating panic attack while in public. But one day she is at her favorite local coffee shop that is much too crowded and a random man asks to share her table because of the crowd. A potential meet cute? Well, that’s certainly what the random woman at the table beside her decides and she starts live tweeting their interaction, full of exaggerations and embellishments, including a happy ending. When Katrina finds out, she freaks out and Jas Singh, her gorgeous bodyguard suggests they go hide out in a cabin he owns. The two of them both have feelings for the other they are convinced they can’t act on, but, um… Things happen.
Why I loved it: I mean, first of all, did you know mutual pining could be done this well?? I think I’m just so accustomed to it being one person pining for a long time and the other person just discovering the other person as a romantic partner that this mutual pining thing kind of caught me off guard and I loved it. Secondly, no one does family angst the way Alisha Rai does family angst and Jas has family angst to spare. It’s incredible and I especially adored how his relationship with his brother is handled. Third, the friendships in this book are so great. I loved seeing Samson head out to talk to Jas and make an effort to pull Jas into his group of bros. And Katrina’s friendship with Rhi and Jia is really great. Fourth, I just really liked this slow burn realization that they (Jas and Katrina) could go for what they want (each other) and it would be okay. I loved seeing Jas be there for Katrina when she was having a panic attack. I loved seeing Katrina grapple with her mental health and always try again.
My Quick Squabbles: I do think, like with The Right Swipe, that the end feels a little rushed. There are quite a few narrative threads that feel open in this book and that’s not necessarily bad, but it’s an interesting choice.
Overall: But honestly, I loved this book. I think Katrina and Jas are great characters and I really liked them together. I want to re-read the book again because of how much I enjoyed my time with it the first time around. So I definitely can’t wait to have my own finished copy!