Clickbait by Evelyn DarClickbait by Evelyn Dar is a New Adult, romantic suspense. It is a wild ride from page one all the way to the epilogue.

Avery Bradley is the adopted daughter of the Attorney General, Teddy Bradley. From the outside, her life looks perfect. She has plenty of Instagram followers, a bedroom bigger than some apartments, and early acceptance to Harvard. The only problem is her mom drinks away her days and her dad only cares what Avery can do for his political career.

Laylah Carter’s middle class lifestyle evaporated two years ago when her mother tried to expose Teddy Bradley’s lies. She went from private school girl on track for Harvard acceptance to waiting tables at Earley’s to help her mom pay the bills.

With the announcement of Avery’s early Harvard acceptance, Laylah’s best friend Maddy decides it’s time to expose Avery and Teddy as the liars they are. All they have to do is get Avery to admit on camera to Maddy’s 500,000 Instagram followers that her SAT scores are a lie. Until the whole plan goes pear shaped and Laylah and Maddy are looking at serious jail time.

The Characters

Avery has the potential to be completely shallow and manipulative. She’s the captain of the cheerleading team, she goes to an elite private school, and her parents only pay attention to her when they want something. Instead of being a spoiled rich kid, Avery craves the love and attention she is missing at home. She brings a sass and confidence to everything she does including her flirtations with Laylah.

Laylah is the kind of teen who goes to math competitions on the weekend. For fun. She works hard, but she definitely doesn’t play hard. Somehow, she winds up in over her head, but watching her try to figure things out is a blast. Laylah has a caring nature that drives everything she does. The entire plot to expose Avery and Teddy is born from a place of love and care for her mother.

The Writing Style

I really love the writing style here. It is perfect for a New Adult book and is easy to read in a day or two.

This book is a total rollercoaster though. Every time I thought I had things figured out they would shift again. Some of these shifts were predictable, others were a total surprise. The suspense ramped up throughout the book though.

Initially, I expected some kind of Mean Girls high school drama with a fun lesbian romance, but Clickbait takes things way further than that with a plot that explores politics and class differences in a novel way.

The Pros

Laylah’s best friend Maddy is a great addition to this story. She is the mastermind behind the initial plan and really pushes Laylah to act. It’s great to see some more trans representation in lesbian literature, especially where the character is more than their trans identity.

The Cons

I really enjoyed this book, but I’m going to add a few content warnings here: use of a date rape drug (don’t worry folks, there is no rape), transphobia (this is coming from characters rather than the author), and mention of drug and alcohol addiction. There may be a few spoilers below, so keep that in mind as you read this section.

The second content warning is for the inclusion of non-consensual drugging. Laylah and Maddy use GHB to drug Avery hoping it will act as a truth serum. It was not clear from the blurb that the story was going to go in this direction as the event really ups the stakes adding an accidental kidnapping that was also not clear from the blurb. Reading the blurb, I assumed this would be a popular cheerleader falls for the nerdy girl type of story not a drugging and accidental kidnapping.

Avery’s mother has drug and alcohol problems. These are mentioned and seen briefly but don’t have a meaningful part in the plot.

I want to make a quick mention of the transphobia directed towards Maddy in the story. While Maddy’s transition is handled beautifully, the supporting characters are not so kind. This includes comments about Maddy not being a real woman.

The Conclusion

Evelyn Dar has brought a truly unique book to us with Clickbait. If you’re tired of the classic popular girl falls for nerdy girl story, but want something with a few more plot twists, give this a read. This book is full of surprises, and Dar’s writing style makes these characters come to life.

However, this book won’t be for everyone. Let me add a little note for those of you who think this book might not be for them. Had I seen these content warnings and read this review, I probably would not have picked it up because it doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy. I would have been wrong.

Clickbait is a rollercoaster from beginning to end, but the romance between Laylah and Avery is adorable and makes the whole ride worthwhile.

Excerpt from Clickbait by Evelyn Dar

“I’m a mathlete,” Layla blurted out.

Avery paused. “A what?”

“A mathlete,” Laylah repeated. “I do math competitions. For fun. On the weekend. When I don’t have to.”

Avery nodded slowly. “That sounds…cool?”

“It’s not,” Maddox said. “It’s the opposite of cool, actually.”

Laylah narrowed her eyes.

“Sorry,” he whispered and made a zipping motion over his mouth.

Laylah continued, “I read¾all the tim. I usually wear glasses, but Maddox hid them after he spent all morning doing my eye makeup.”

Maddox clapped. “Annnd there goes my butch card. Thanks for that, babes.”

“As for makeup?” Laylah gestured to her face. “Reserved only for weddings, bat mitzvahs and”¾her voice faltered¾”funerals.”

“Laylah,” Avery whispered.

“I don’t have an Instagram account, my favorite week of the year is finals week, and I’ve never see an episode of Riverdale.” Laylah shrugged. “I’m the living personification of Kara Zor-El.”

Avery stared blankly.

“You don’t know who that is, do you?” Laylah asked.

Avery crossed her arms. “I’m not an idiot.”

“Are you a cheerleader?” Laylah asked.

“She’s captain of the junior squad,” Maddox answered.

“Maddox,” Laylah and Avery yelled.

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Bits and Bobs

Publisher: Indie author

Evelyn Dar Online

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Note: I received a free review copy of Clickbait by Evelyn Dar. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site.

 

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Caitlin lives in Australia, she hates the sun but loves the beach. With two dogs, three cats, and a wife, there is always someone to snuggle with while reading a great book. There aren't many genres Caitlin doesn't read, though she's usually happiest with a lesbian romance. She spends her days editing fiction and might as well live and breathe words. Any spare time she isn't reading is spent playing tabletop games or catching up on her favorite fandoms.