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All booksContemporary fictionThe Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan
Contemporary fiction

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Elissa R. Sloan, on your first book!
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Elissa R. Sloan

Quick take

A journey through the dark side of pop music that illustrates the dangers and tragedies that come with celebrity.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


Illustrated icon, Icon_Challenging_Indicator


Content warning: This book includes descriptions of assault, depression, and self-harm.

Why I love it

Amanda Eyre Ward
Author, The Jetsetters

As always, but especially now, I love my evening escape: me, cozy in a nest of bedding with a bowl of ice cream, opening a great novel. From page one, I knew I was in for a treat with The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes, a fun story which reminded me of another favorite, Daisy Jones & The Six, and also brought to mind the tragic, relentless gossip-mag coverage of Britney Spears's meltdown.

The price of fame and fortune, especially for young women, is the theme at the heart of Elissa R. Sloan’s vibrant debut. Cassidy is a vulnerable young woman from Houston, Texas, who first finds stardom on a TV show vaguely reminiscent of American Idol. Overnight, she goes from talented nobody to A-list frontwoman of the internationally famous band Gloss in the blink of an eye. But she isn’t prepared for the costs of such rapid success: utter isolation and loneliness. Readers trace the pop group’s rise and fall through the eyes of Cassidy and her bandmates Rose, Merry, and Yumi. The novel leaps forward and backward in time, always keeping a taut narrative thread.

This story is witty, satirical, and insightful, but take heed: Its portrayal of the unsightly undertones of the music industry is devastatingly realistic. The author’s content warning states that this book’s contents include suicide, eating disorders, and physical and sexual assault. Yes, this novel is a heartbreaker, but it’s also a fantastic read. And I think we could all use that right now.

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Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity.

She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn't get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her.

But now she's dead. Suicide.

The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done?

Told in multiple perspectives—including Cassidy herself—and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes.

Member thoughts

All (12569)
All (12569)
Love (4169)
Like (7016)
Dislike (1384)
12839 ratings
  • 32% Love
  • 55% Like
  • 11% Dislike
  • Grovetown , GA

    While I thought this would be similar to Daisy Jones I was a little disappointed, so I didn’t fully appreciate it until I was finished. Shows the dark side to fame & “friendships” formed. I loved it!

  • Hazel Green, AL

    This book hit me in my soul! I was a teen during the time “Gloss” was famous, so this book was very nostalgic for me. Very timely with all we see coming to light in the entertainment industry. Loved!!

  • Hudson, NH

    This book heavily reminded me of a Daisy Jones and Six vibe. Very “Behind the Music.” I really enjoyed it and found that Elissa managed to really capture that late 90s/early 2000 era that I remember

  • Dallas, TX

    The way that Cassidy’s pain and emotions were written had me gut wrenched. The narrative of going back and forth from everyone’s perspective really put you in their shoes and made yearning to finish!

  • Gettysburg, PA

    “Daisy Jones and The Six” meets “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” Dealt with sensitive subjects of depression and anorexia in sensitive and realistic ways. Compelling read by a fresh new voice.

  • Highland Village, TX

    This was a really good book and difficult read at times. Sometimes it felt like i was driving by an accident. I wanted to look away from the pain but i couldn’t stop looking and couldn’t stop to help.

  • Winder , GA

    This book is a lot more than I imagined it to be. It’s more than just a book about a pop group. It’s about depression and many forms of toxicity. It opened my eyes to what Hollywood can do to someone

  • Lynnwood, WA

    Couldn’t put it down! I wanted to know more about Cassidy’s life leading up to her death as well as how things played out with the men who had hurt them. The author tied things up well, I wanted more!

  • Sunnyvale, CA

    Wow... I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were all so great and I felt like I was there watching the whole thing happening! It was so emotional, beautiful yet heartbreaking to read. ????

  • New York, NY

    I couldn’t put this down - it was so well-written and engrossing. Like Daisy Jones & The Six, but tragic. The author dealt with heartbreaking topics without being heavy handed. This will stay with me.

  • Virginia Beach, VA

    An interesting look at a tragic end to a young life. All of the characters are compelling & there are a variety of social issues addressed in this book. I was very invested in everyone’s back stories!

  • Altadena, CA

    There is a lot to love here—strong characters, important and timely topics, glitzy glamour, and soapy drama. Not the best thing I’ve read this year (or even this month) but definitely a great debut!

  • Fort Worth, TX

    I loved the way Elissa Sloan fluidly jumped from the past to now, all while telling the story from each member of Gloss’ perspective! Each character was believable, well thought out, and full of depth

  • Rochester, MN

    I couldn’t stop reading this book! It was a great story and had many viewpoints which kept me intrigued. Ending was slightly sad and I wished there had been a little more depth on certain situations.

  • Roswell, GA

    While I usually don’t like books with open endings, I really love this one. The story had me captivated the characters were complex and seemed real. It definitely made me nostalgic for the early 2000s

  • Franklin, TN

    Quick easy read. It reminded me a bit of those 90’s bands and groups like Spice Girls or Britney Spears. It was a bit like watching E True Hollywood Story.I kept reading to see what would happen next.

  • New York, NY

    Cassidy gains fame after joining a girl group that shoots to the top! But it’s not all glamor! Told from different viewpoints and timelines, it examines what they are willing to sacrifice for stardom!

  • Tyler, TX

    I LOVED this book! I finished this in two days. It was amazing. Loved the characters and the story. I want another Gloss book! Elissa R. Sloan is an amazing writer. Can’t wait to see more from her!

  • Shady Side, MD

    Reminded me of a mix between Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo, 2 of my favorite books. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. Lots of emotions reading this.

  • Mingo Junction , OH

    This book was so amazing! It was told by different people so you can get the picture from different point of views! I was able to understand everything that was going on! The author’s book was great!

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