Second in the Modern Love series by Alisha Rai is GIRL GONE VIRAL, a wonderful amalgam of positivity of all kinds with a slow burn romance. Katrina King is a former model turned angel investor, using her very wealthy deceased husband's money to do good in the world. After Kat was kidnapped and cut with a knife 10 years ago, she has had a constant security presence in her life, including her bodyguard, the redoubtable Jasvinder Singh. Kat and Jas are both such admirable characters, but they each definitely have their foibles, so they are fully-fleshed out characters with all their glorious inconsistencies and doubts. Kat shares a table with a good-looking man one afternoon. He asks Kat out and she tells the stranger no, but a woman at a nearby table tweets about the whole thing and lies to her many followers that Kat and her supposed love interest hooked up in the bathroom. Grrrrr.
The "ripped from the headlines" meet-cute that didn't happen the way it was misrepresented by a creeper in the heroine's favorite cafe closely mirrors the true-life disaster of the #PlaneBae story. The dude that Kat shares a table with and the creeper who live-tweeted and twisted the interaction are both accurate representations of the real-life nitwits who behaved this way in 2018, making this book very topical. What makes it worse in GIRL GONE VIRAL is that the heroine is almost agoraphobic, and the cafe is one of her 10 "safe spaces" that she is successfully able to go to without having a panic attack. I love the cautionary tale that this provides, and that the author explores how screwed up our no-privacy society is acting. Invasive people suck, man.
Hooray for supportive friends, body positivity, and the positive portrayal of therapy. Both main characters have mental health issues and the discussions around their diagnoses are frank and honey. There is PTSD in both Jas (from his time as a soldier in Iraq) and in Kat, as well as panic attacks for Kat, and these are sensitively explored. Rai continues to surround her heroines with supportive and fantastic girlfriends, which is something I adore. Although Jas and Kat each have what they think is unrequited love for the other, this is a very leisurely trip into a relationship, and it is just meltingly swoony.
Despite the many upbeat and fun parts of the book, GIRL GONE VIRAL does a great job tackling difficult topics. These include mental illness, the lack of privacy in our digital age, and parental abuse. These are delicately handled, and serve to anchor this read. Rai gives us yet another scrumptious hero and heroine who fight through the trials that life sends them and emerge together with a steady love that can only make the world a better place. Huzzah for Rai's GIRL GONE VIRAL, a fairy tale for the modern age.
In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.
OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???
I don’t see any wedding rings <eyes emoji>
Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!
One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for...
He’s got a <peach emoji> to die for.
With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…