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The Brightsiders

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  588 ratings  ·  235 reviews
A teen rockstar has to navigate family, love, coming out, and life in the spotlight after being labeled the latest celebrity trainwreck in Jen Wilde's quirky and utterly relatable novel.

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a ni
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Swoon Reads
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Dahlia Neither - he's a genderqueer person who uses he/him pronouns.

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Oh, boy.

I know this is my unending refrain, but I really wanted to like this book. Even though I didn’t expect to.

Unfortunately, I was prevented. By exciting stuff, like drama so unrelenting and pain-inducing that it gave me icepick migraines. You know, those really fun ones that feel like someone is stabbing you above the eye? Yeah.

But let’s talk about good stuff first.

The main main main amazing triumphant life-changing world-turning Good Thing is what Jen Wilde seems to do best (judging by th
Lea (drumsofautumn)
This is the kind of queer book I was waiting for. If you’re still looking for something super diverse to read during Pride Month.. THIS IS IT! Please pick it up 🌈💜

I've been thinking about some more thoughts to write about this for over a week now but I just honestly am so deeply in love with this, that I don't even know what to tell you. Like it's one of those books.
I definitely wanna tell you what diversity is featured in here. I tried to catch as much as possible but I might have missed some!
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Trigger warnings: Emotional manipulation, alcoholism, parental abuse

Jen Wilde does best when she writes wonderfully diverse characters who are the norm - The Brightsiders features characters who are bisexual, gender fluid, lesbian and also biracial. Although Emmy King is a famous teenage rockstar, with an immense talent for the drums and with legions of fans from all over the world, there was an element of her that felt so real. Having had neglectful parents for her whole life, and being in an a
1.5 stars.

✔ The cover
✔ The premise
✔ The diversity- seriously, there's an incredible amount of gender, sexual and racial diversity in these characters
✔ It's short

✖ The writing
✖ No seriously
✖ It was bad
✖ And felt ridiculously amateurish
✖ And immature, like dude, I know they're teenagers bUT COME ON
✖ The way Wilde explained all the diversity and some of Emmy's choices about hair and make up felt... ""preachy""
✖ Like I totally get the message about wanting to look the way you do re: ma
kav (xreadingsolacex)
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my review.


The Brightsiders is a young-adult contemporary novel about a teen drummer, Emmy King, who is branded as the media's latest trainwreck.

Wilde really outdid herself with this novel.

An unapologetically queer novel that tackles a multitude of important subjects,
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I'm not sure if I actually liked this more than Queens of Geek, but it comes pretty close. The Brightsiders is unapologetically queer & if you're looking for great LGBTQIAP+ rep, this has it. The 3 MCs of the band- Emmy (bi), Ryan (bi), Alfie (genderqueer)- are strong characters on their own (though we don't see as much on Ryan's development as Emmy's & Alfie's) & their friendship was lovely to see. Alfie was definitely my favorite character- a sequel for him in the future p
Trigger Warnings: biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, emotional manipulation, abuse, underage drinking, drug mentions


The Brightsiders was another book I picked up on a whim. I didn’t expect a lot since I hadn’t enjoyed Queens of Geek. This book was one that I was definitely enjoying more than the author's debut. I was totally into the world and wanting to get to know the punk rock bad main characters more. It was also beautifully diverse,
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

TW: Emotionally abusive parents, toxic abusive relationship, gaslighting, alcohol abuse, vomiting, car accident, biphobia, transphobia, forced kiss, anxiety attack

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I mean…the issues is tackles so head on (all kinds of abusve relationships) hit me right in the feels, and the way it was done was so honest and Earnest that I couldn't not love it, no matter how many other flaws it has. And to me, it didn't have that many flaw tbh. The MC, Emmy, is a
All I have to say is, don't mess up with the girl wearing purple lipstick.

details about the different representations:
Emmy: she/her, bisexual, drinking problems
Alfie: he/him, genderqueer, pansexual, social anxiety
Ryan: he/him, first generation Korean-American, bisexual
Chloe: they/them, biracial, black, genderqueer

Laura (bbliophile)
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really, really loved this. Not sure if I loved it as much as Queens of Geek, but who cares. It's good, y'all.

Tw: abuse, gaslighting, alcohol abuse, car accident
Kathy - Books & Munches
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it

- way too much drama in barely 300 pages.
Sadly, I didn't enjoy this one as much as Queens of Geek - I think because it was very dramatic and not as feelgood. But boy, does this author write diverse characters flawlessly. Plus, the band storyline was a lot of fun!
The Brightsiders left me in an odd place. Rarely do books leave me in a state of such '??????'.

Before I start this review, Major Content Warning for Emotionally Abusive Parents in The Brightsiders. They appear heavily in the first half and less in the last half, but definitely proceed with caution if that's something you're concerned about. I haven't seen anyone talk about it, so I wanted to make sure to address it first and foremost.

On one hand, I liked aspects of Jen Wilde's latest. The trop
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
While I wasn't expecting to click with this book as much as I did with Queens of Geek, I definitely did enjoy it! However, it did seem to lack some depth, which made it a bit difficult to really stick with the main character throughout the book, and especially the ending felt a little too quickly wrapped up. This was a bit of a shame to me, because I did like the characters and so I would have loved to get to know them better. Both the topic and the main characters reminded me of Alice Oseman's ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Trigger warning: alcohol abuse, abusive parents

The Brightsiders is Jen Wilde’s second novel. I went in with very high expectations! I thought Queens of Geek was absolutely adorable, so I wanted a lot of the same feels from this one. While this was a bit different than Queens of Geek, it was no less amazing.

This follows teen drummer Emmy King who is spiraling a bit. She’s about to turn 18, and gets caught for underage drinking, and her girlfriend for driving under the influence. Branded as a trai
Trigger warnings: Abusive parents, abusive relationship, gaslighting, alcohol abuse, slut shaming.

I was excited about this book from basically the moment it was announced, mostly because of how much I adored Queens of Geek. And then when this hit my Kindle, I put off reading it for inexplicable reasons. I have to say, I didn't love it as much as I loved Queens of Geek, and for at least 50% of the book, it was looking like being a 3 star book for me.

What I loved most about this is the diversity.
Nicole Field
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I liked the way that it tied in to the main characters--Charlie and Alyssa--from Queens of Geek. But I didn't love this book.

The Brightsiders is the name of a young rock band made up of Ryan, Emmy and Alfie. They are queer icons because Alfie is out as being nonbinary. And Emmy comes out as bisexual shortly after the start of the story where we see her dating a girl called Jesse.

I wasn't a fan of Jesse. In fact, I wasn't fan of the first 16 odd chapters in the novel that mo
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. I loved every aspect of it from the fun and colorful cover to the main character, to the diversity, to the toxic relationships, to the ending. I'd go back and read this all over again except I want to share my love for this book with the world - so instead I'm writing this review.

full review:
Morgane Moncomble
« Surrounded by assholes, and people pleasing. You know what happens when you combine the two? You get taken advantage of. You try to save people. »

Thank you Jen Wilde for writing two amazing books that made me understand how much I’m valid, and loved, and different, but somehow fucking amazing. Last year I read Queens of Geek and it was definitely one of my favorite contemporary of 2017. So let’s say I was super excited to read this new book, especially with such a badass cover. Jen Wilde is
Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paper

This was such an adorable and cute story.

I have a weak spot when it comes to books about music or rock stars, so I had a feeling I would enjoy this novel. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was an incredible diverse novel, and overall I had a great time reading it.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the friendship between our main character and her band and friends. They were incredibly supportive with her, and they took c
Jun 07, 2018 marked it as dnf
Before y'all start yelling at me hear me out. I love how unapologetically queer and diverse this book is. And as far as I have seen in other reviews, it's hella accurate, which is really cool. We need more books like this book. My main two reasons for DNFing this book are: 1) The story isn't compelling me, as of yet and since I have a limited amount of reading time, I'm trying to only finish books I am invested in and 2) the opening scene contained my huge trigger (one which isn't normally liste ...more
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Can we talk about a how cool this book was?
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 out of 5. This just became my favorite read of 2018 so far. I just connected with Em so much and i might be biased but i don't even care. I love seeing bi and queer characters in books especially my bi/queer girls. This book is literally a must read. If i say anymore i might spoil the book! But to convince you, bi girl, gender fluid character, non-binary character, a cute romance, fame, music, pride, a character that's literally trying to put her life together and be the best she can be whil ...more
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
Even though I have it, I haven't read Queens of Geek, so this was my first Jen Wilde book and I loved it.

I really connected to Emmy.  Not the bisexual rock star part, but her insecurity and need to please people.  That desire to want everyone to like you.  That is very much me to the point that I do things I don't want to do pretty often.

"I don't know why, maybe I'm just super insecure, but I have this intense need to be liked.  If someone doesn't like me-or even expresses a different opinion th
Austine (NovelKnight)
This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Of the YA contemporaries I've read over the years, The Brightsiders definitely wasn't the worst but it also wasn't really for me.

Our protagonist, Emmy, is a teenage rockstar trying to find her place in the world. From dealing with parental abuse and neglect, to relationship woes, she sees it all. . . and that was just a bit too much drama for me.

BUT let's start off with the good s
This arrived today and i read it in one sitting - it was amazing!

Some quick, chaotic thoughts because actual reviews that take time and energy aren't working for me at the moment:

SO QUEER. Genderqueer pansexual love interest with social anxiety. Bi main character. Several bi/gay/lesbian/queer supporting characters, amongst who Ryan, the Korean-American bisexual third band member. Non-binary black femme best friend with they/them pronouns.
Honestly, this was so refreshing to read. The discussion o
evelyn hugo’s #1 fan
jen wilde's books are SO popular in the book community, but this just didn't work for me at all and it was downright boring. i didn't see the chemistry between emmy and alfie, there was too much telling and not enough showing, and if i'm going to be entirely honest jen wilde's writing style is clunky, annoying and not my thing. every time she makes a character talk about an important topic it sounds like they're spouting it from a wikipedia definition. that being said, i still enjoyed this to an ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Absolutely love the diversity of this cast—there may not be a cishet person in the bunch, and the world really could use that right now imo. I wish there'd been more of the banter that featured in Queens of Geek; The Brightsiders runs more to the dramatic side of famous-people contemporary novels. Though that's obviously less my thing than flufftastic, bantery romance, I think Wilde did a great job with the coverage of toxic relationships (both romantic and not) and the mental health rep. The sh ...more
⚔ Silvia ⚓
WAIT where was I when this was announced??? Bi drummer girl HECK YEAH
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Jen Wilde is a writer, geek and fangirl with a penchant for coffee, books and pugs. She writes YA stories about zombies (AS THEY RISE), witches (ECHO OF THE WITCH) and fangirls (QUEENS OF GEEK). Her debut series reached over three million reads online and became an Amazon bestseller.

When she’s not writing, Jen loves binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, eating pizza, traveling to far away