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