Teresa's Reviews > Beneath the Glitter

Beneath the Glitter by Elle Fowler
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Sep 05, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: contemporary
Read in September, 2012

Warning: Harsh.

Let me preface this review by saying that I don’t fit into Elle and Blair’s target demographic, and I don’t typically read chick lit. I’m a senior in college who watches Elle and Blair’s videos if I’m looking for some light, brainless entertainment. In terms of books, I read a lot of YA, but I tend to choose books with depth and a larger, overarching meaning. I think that YA can be done really well, and that a lot of good quality books can come out of the teen genre. I don’t think Beneath the Glitter is one of those books. Also, I’m really hard on this book because generally, Elle tends to read quality books. It disappoints me that she might think her book is on par with hits such as Harry Potter because it so clearly is not.

On a technical level, this book has a lot of mistakes. I really wonder who their editor is, because they let a book go to print that was filled with basic sentence structure issues. Sentences are not supposed to be connected by “and’s”, and they are not supposed to be a paragraph long. I would bet money that neither Elle nor Blair has taken a creative writing class in their lives. And that’s disappointing, because who the hell gives a book deal to someone who doesn’t even deserve it? Ugh. This book also lacks a building plot. You know that arc of action that you learn about in creative writing classes? Yeah. This book completely disregards that. They jam the ~twist~ into the last few pages, and they don’t even explain it well, so you’re left with a “WTF just happened?” face.

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with Sophia’s character, after you got below the “I’m a perfect girl who has everything she’s ever wanted” superficiality. I liked that she didn’t trust boys (although it was annoying that every boy she made eye contact with thought she was gorgeous). Ava’s character was a little more annoying; she lacked common sense and didn’t seem self-aware. I mean, a celebrity she’s been in love with for years all of a sudden wants to date her, and she’s not suspicious AT ALL.

I think this book will have a whole lot of appeal to Elle and Blair’s main fanbase: girls in middle- and high-school who are trying to escape from the reality of their mundane lives. Girls who are drawn towards older, prettier, more charismatic girls. Girls who are looking for idols. Girls who don’t know what quality literature is. I get that. I used to be like that. But I outgrew that phase of my life, and so this book doesn’t really appeal to me. I gave it a shot because I like Elle and Blair as entertainers, and I figured I had nothing to lose.

Beneath the Glitter would work a lot better as a memoir than a novel. I feel like it’s a cop out to write about their own lives. I mean, really? You didn’t have any more imagination than to glitz up your current lives and sell them? It’s actually laughable how it’s supposedly “loosely based on their lives”, yet Sophia, the older sister, has a deaf white cat that she can’t choose a name for. Ava, the younger sister, is bubbly and tends to think in all caps. On their list of “LonDOs and LonDON’Ts” at the end of each chapter, there are mentions of JustFab.com, MAC All That Glitters eyeshadow, and Elle and Blair’s Cellairis cell phone line. At one point, Ava and Sophia promote a shaving cream line; if I remember correctly, Elle and Blair took part in a similar event in real life.

My point is that if Elle and Blair are going to choose to write about real events, I don’t understand why they had to do it under the guise of fiction. This is probably the book snob in me speaking, but there are a lot more important and interesting stories that are out there, and it feels like Elle and Blair stole a book deal from a more deserving story. It’s like when you hear an auto-tuned song that is widely popular because of its catchiness, and then you compare it to an a capella, original arrangement of the same song. The former version just feels empty, compared to the real talent exhibited in the a capella version. That’s what reading Beneath the Glitter feels like; filling my brain with empty words and a meaningless story that, in all honesty, just doesn’t matter. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys matters. Delirium by Lauren Oliver matters. Hell, even Divergent or Harry Potter matter more than Beneath the Glitter does.

So no, I don’t think this is quality literature. I think that it accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to provide vapid entertainment to a younger crowd that’s looking for older girls to look up to. It’s not a meaningful story. It doesn’t have character development, strong writing, or a complex plot. And I think that’s my issue; I take it personally when books are a waste of words. It’s totally fine for me to have two sisters making money off of YouTube videos, because it’s not like you can get a whole lot of depth from a ten minute video, anyway. But I hate it when people mess with books. I hate it when there are really shitty books out there that get published because they’re going to sell, while there are really GOOD books out there that aren’t getting published, because maybe there’s less demand for them. It makes me sad. Books are supposed to be about stories that demand to be told. And Elle and Blair’s story (or Ava and Sophia’s, since this is ~fiction~) just doesn’t need to be told. It’s nothing special. It gets depicted on E! all the time. It just doesn’t matter.
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02/14/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Denise (new)

Denise I completely agree with your review. I have not read the book and do not plan on reading it though. I also am in a senior in college and have been watching elle and blair for a long time.


Kelsey I agree there are many people out there that deserve their book published..but not these girls


Marie I agree with your review 100% especially the part about never taking a creative writing class. It's sad that publishers are only in it for the profit sometimes. And the whole time I was wondering who the hell their editor was as well. Did you see those all caps paragraphs? Why. Just why? Can I suggest that you post this review on Amazon as well? (:


message 4: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Amen, sister.


Teresa oh wow. i totally was expecting to get a lot of shit for this review, haha. i'm glad to see that i'm not alone!

i'll think about posting this review on amazon, but i'm not really trying to convince anyone to not read this book, because a large chunk of their fan base will flock to whatever product they put out. i get that. i guess i'm trying to speak to like minded individuals who aren't just blind minions. buut yeah! thanks for not tearing me apart, haha. :]


message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris I agree. There are so many great manuscripts out there that are probably collecting dust because some company doesn't want to risk it. All these girls have is a fan base. That's why they get a book. Unacceptable! I enjoy their videos but no way should they have even considered writing a book.


Marie Chrissy wrote: "I agree. There are so many great manuscripts out there that are probably collecting dust because some company doesn't want to risk it. All these girls have is a fan base. That's why they get a book..."

I completely agree! My husband was actually the one that pointed out to me that maybe they got the deal because they already have a fan base and the publishers really didn't do a lot of promo for it either...


message 8: by Tessa (new)

Tessa Teresa your review was very informative on this one b/c I, myself, am not what you'd call a die-hard fan of the girls, however, they are quite interesting for those moments when i simply want to pass the time. Your review helped me in deciciding on whether or not to buy or check it out at the locallibrary when it's available. Think I'm gonna just put it in-hold at the library lol -Tessa


message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily I am a teen in high school and after reading just the first simple pages I have no desire of reading this book. As YouTube entertainers, yes, I enjoy them. As authors? No way. This is a perfect review and this comment is not coming from a student in college and/or out of college. It is coming from a freshman in high school.


message 10: by Sarah-Charlotte (new)

Sarah-Charlotte I want to be an author and I completely agree with your views on books that like this with stories that do not need to told. I feel like sometimes books like these do take away from other books waiting to be published. Although I did not read this book, I think that your review is perfect for any of these types of books. Perfect review because of that, and I really agree.


message 11: by Ines (new) - rated it 1 star

Ines I totally agree. Even though I am 13 I like to read proper books with good story lines rather then 400 pages about make, boys and business meeting. Great review. :)


Rebecca This review is stunning. My thoughts exactly. I love Elle and Blair as Youtubers and I wanted to enjoy this book so much... I honestly did, but writing just isn't their calling.


message 13: by Butterfly (new)

Butterfly Amazing review. Pretty much sums up all my thoughts. Thanks for writing!


message 14: by Zoe (new)

Zoe liane i'm 12 and disliked this book with a passion, it was very long winded and pointless, in the video that she is basically self promoting (witch is understandable)she talk about how she loves this story line and im like WHAT STORY LINE


message 15: by Kaity (new)

Kaity Butts This book made my stomach turn!


message 16: by Audrey (new)

Audrey I wonder what you would think about Zoella's book, Girl Online. I guess publishing houses wants to get a piece of money out of Youtuber's popularity.


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