ARC Review – Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

18599687Title:  Don’t Call Me Baby

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog. Imogene’s mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene’s crush saw her “before and after” orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online…until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

Huge thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for this ARC.

River’s Review:

This book was cute, fun, fluffy, but a bit young and immature at times for me. I did finish it thought because I genuinely enjoyed it and liked the subject matter.

Imogene is fifteen and grew up being showcased online through her mom’s blog. This was interesting for me because I was trying to fit this into my head. For me, someone who spent her teen years learning how to use the internet (I started using it when I was in 10th grade, in the late 1990’s) and was trying to figure out Imogene’s mom. What kind of blogger is she? Did she grow up using the internet like I did? Well…. I figured that her mom is probably in her mid-30’s (I am not) and that she started using the internet in her late 20’s. This means that her mom is not really that ‘old’ but she doesn’t really have claim to the internet. Ah, this might not make that much sense… but I feel that those of us who started using the internet in it’s prime, who got our facebook accounts back when you still needed a .edu email to get one (I got mine as soon as my school was available for sing up), I kinda feel like the internet belongs to US. Those of us who graduated high school in the early 2000’s. Those of us who used it when we were actually in our TEENS. So Imogene’s mom felt a bit off to me because she probably didn’t grow up using it (unless she had Imogene really young… which I didn’t get the feeling that she did…).

I guess the feeling that Imogene’s mom was kinda an original internet user and that Imogene is more entitled to understanding the ways of the internet (because despite being an original user of the internet myself, I still feel that if you’re over the age of 18 most people think you’re ‘tool old’ for social networks and blogs) bothered me. And because of this everyone felt really young. I feel like anyone older than myself (and Imogene’s mom would be) should kinda know better? Her mother was acting so immature. And Imogene was super naive and her best friend, Sage, was rather young-sounding as well.

Anyways, I’m not saying that if you’re in your 30s that you shouldn’t blog, or if you’re younger than 20 that you shouldn’t be online. It just felt a little weird to me, that’s all. It might not to others. Anyways… I did like the message behind getting offline (something I KNOW I need to do more), and putting yourself online. I liked thinking about my internet identity and my offline self. I liked thinking about why people blog (why I blog even) and what makes a good blog (the ‘mommy’ blogs in this book were hilariously awful and I just wondered why people read them).

The themes of family, forgiveness, and friendship were very wholesome feeling. I read A LOT of contemporary with pretty-ugly people who do awful things so this was really different and kinda fun to just let the fluff carry me away. I was rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue, and good lord was there a lot of product placement… but like I said, it was cute.

If you are interested in something a bit more gritty and ‘real’ but similar to this, check out Heather Demetrios’ book Something Real. That one is about reality TV but seemed to hit a lot of the same notes as this book… albeit a bit deeper.

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