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Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

Cam Girl

by Leah Raeder

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*Thank you for the ARC via netgalley*

I am all kinds of torn with this review... On one hand I want to give it 4 stars because the writing was exquisite, but on another, I have to give it 3 because as a whole I just never really enjoyed/connected to the story. Now before I go on I want to make a note... My dislike did not stem from the subject matter, but more the characters, storyline, and overall outcome. I was pissed when the mystery was revealed and I still kind of am. I was all in with Blue. Something about his character was itrigueing, sexy and mysterious. It was basically my whole reason for continuing to read. When I got to that reveal though my jaw hit the floor, my forehead scrunched, my resting bitch face became a full on bitch face. For me that twist just ruined the story. I had high hopes and they were shot down with hollow point bullets.

With all of that being said... I did enjoy Vada. I liked her confusion, complexity, personailty, and struggles. I loved the "cam girl" parts and her flashbacks to the accident. I think The Author really showed us how a vulnerable character can turn into a fierce heroine.

Overall, I think many will enjoy this story and many will have issues. The theme is pushing the norm and teaching us to open our eyes to something we don't see everyday. It's about judging and bullying... About the trans world and how suicide comes into play. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but Leah knows how to write. The words are poetic and the vivid descriptions of the paintings add a subtle classic side to this unconventional story. I can't say I recommend it to all readers, but if you have an open mind and give it a try... I hope you enjoy it. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & MoreThoughts on Cam Girl
This is going to be pretty damn scatter-brained. Raeder always leaves me thinking and hopeful. It's one thing I can always count on with one of her books, and Cam Girl is no different.

Vada and Ellis are amazing characters. Both are afraid to some extent of what others think of them. Vada is definitely the one who worries more. She has some of her own phobias she has to work through into find herself. Ellis is struggling on a different level, but the struggle is very much real.

There is so much emotion, and learning to be happy with yourself. It's hard to do when you are always fighting prejudices and a world that doesn't accept easily.

I still can't even form logical thoughts. Raeder has written a book that will touch many, and will bring hope to those out their struggling with their own battles.

I loved every word of Cam Girl. From the wonderfully written characters to the beautiful writing. It's definitely a must read!

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  BookishThings | Mar 23, 2016 |
‘We fell apart. Broke each other’s hearts and screwed up our friendship. Now I’m adrift, unmoored without her. I keep treading water, looking for land. All I can see is endless blue.’

After Vada Bergen and her best friend Ellis Carraway are in a car accident, Vada slips into a depression after being injured and left with the inability to do the art which gave her life. Vada and Ellis aren’t just best friends, their relationship goes beyond that, but Vada has always struggled to accept her feelings of love towards Ellis. Even so, their bond still can’t withstand the after effects of the crash either and they drift apart. Unable to go back to school since her injury will barely allow her to hold a pencil, Vada chances upon meeting a couple that introduces her to the world of being a cam-girl; performing sexual acts on camera for anonymous strangers for money. She renames herself Morgan and becomes the companies highest earner with her signature move: a silk tie wrapped around her neck.

Morgan performs for strangers with an unwavering emotional detachment, but then one of her clients begins asking for personal one-on-one chats and then finally to meet in real-life. Ellis comes back into her life as well only jumbling her thoughts and feelings further. Vada has to make the decision to take the chance on a man she knows nothing about, or to re-attempt to accept her perplexing feelings for Ellis.

‘This world is so thick with ghosts it’s a wonder anyone can breathe.’

Leah Raeder continues to amaze me with her powerful novels that tackle those difficult subjects that are too often just easier to ignore. In Cam Girl, she tackles depression, gender-identity, same-sex relationships, and she tackles the sex trade. At first glance, you would probably say that that’s likely to be a bit overwhelming, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Raeder manages to handle these various different topics and their multiple facets with ease though. Her lyrical writing style is once again present in all its glory, transforming an ugly subject matter into something beautiful.

The focus on not just same-sex relationships but the confusion Vada felt due to her mother’s insistence she wasn’t really feeling what she knew she was feeling was a tough pill to swallow. Also, the way the sex trade was presented is definitely a hot topic for conversation. It may be because I just read Tricks and Traffick so I struggle to see the sex trade in anything but a negative light, but Vada used her role as a cam girl as a way to regain her confidence in life. It can be argued that this is healthy or not, but I appreciated having a new spin on that topic.

For those who have yet to experience one of Raeder’s books, you should know they get quite dark and extremely graphic. Her characters all possess their own unique darkness which they spill across the pages for you to experience. It doesn’t make her novels easy to read, but they are honest, full of passion, and brings to light those dormant topics that we should all be discussing.

‘This is what they don’t tell you about losing someone: It doesn’t happen once. It happens every day, every moment they’re missing from. You lose them a hundred times between waking and sleep, and even sleep is no respite, because you lose them in your dreams, too.’ ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Dec 3, 2015 |
This wasn't my favorite of Leah's books. It definitely was a good book, but I felt like it was missing something.

This story should have wowed me. I expected to have my jaw hanging on the ground in this one. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Although the book is well written, it has very little attention grabbers in it. It seemed to move extremely slow. I had a very hard time keeping myself on the book. I had to put it down and come back to it a couple of times.

The story itself is very intriguing. It's full of twists and turns. I will admit, I saw many of them coming. That may be more because I read so many books with twists, I pick up on the more subtle clues others might not pick up on. I am not sure though. They seemed a bit obvious to me.

I wasn't really a fan of any of the characters. They really didn't have any qualities that wooed me like in past books. I don't mean to be a downer on this book. I just expected more than what I received. Overall, the book is a good one. It just wasn't a book that I can really jump up and down over.

About the Author

Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. She is also the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. ( )
  UANBookAddict | Dec 3, 2015 |
Leah Raeder always introduces a New Adult story that’s not cliche, not normal, very complex and filled with metaphorical prose from start to finish. Cam Girl is no exceptation and I found it to be even more impacting seeing as just before I read this book, Leah had posted in the Facebook group her story or at least pieces of it. It opened my eyes to her as a person and while I was reading Cam Girl, I felt like I was taking some glimpses into Leah’s life, which made it all more real for me.

Now Cam Girl makes you question what you believe in, who you are as a person and what you are doing with your life. It also forces the questions about gender identity and incorporates a new term for me: genderfluid. I had heard about genderfluid but never really paid much attention until this story and it’s when the gender you identify as changes.

Vada is an extremely complex character. There where times where I wasn’t sure if I hated her or not. In the end, I realized that I didn’t because she is struggling through life, trying to figure out who she is. What I don’t agree with is using Elle in the process without fully realizing it but Vada and Elle have a toxic friendship. I had never met such characters with a major toxic friendship yet it somehow worked for them while at the same time separating them. While reading Vada’s story, I could see a little bit of Leah in her and that had me even more intrigued to continue reading, knowing that this story is very special to the author seeing as she’s kind of opening herself to the reader. Not only that but I think, if the reader is ready to admit it, each one of us can find some or various characteristics in Vada that we have. Don’t glare at me. I know it isn’t easy to believe this but it’s true. Vada is trying to find herself amidst all the chaos in her life while dealing with depression at the same time.

I was taken aback by the sex-trade. Leah portrayed it so vividly that it was hard to grasp at times and I struggled with it. However, Leah ended up showing this as a way to accept your identity, the reason why some people could do it for besides the money. I think she did a good job in portraying this view of camming, even though it is not something I’m comfortable with.

The sub-plot in this story was something that had me intrigued and left me on edge but at the same time, it got to a point where it was too much. Now when it came to this other character, Blue, I was beyond skeptical. I had various suspicions and this certain character crossed my mind and for some unknown reason I never paid attention to it and once it was revealed, part of me was screaming “I told you” and the other part was torn and broken and shocked! Leah’s writing has a way of weaving character’s life with one another right before our eyes and yet, sometimes we lose sight of it. Not saying this is a bad thing because I loved what she did with it even though I couldn’t even begin to understand what was happening.

This story was powerful in more ways than one. Only if you read it and keep an open-mind will you really understand what I’m talking about. This story isn’t just about Vada. It’s about Elle, Blue, Max and even us. Each character holds something that the reader will hold on to as well, that the reader will identify or relate to. Leah can worm her way into your heart and mind with her beautiful prose and it will glue to your soul. It has a certain darkness that we need to shy away from but the reality is that the darkness is constantly present and I love how Leah always finds a way to pick that darkness or secret inside each of us and make us question many things we believe in. When an author succeeds in doing so, then you know this is an author that you can’t turn your back on and you need to always read their stories. Leah is one of those brilliant authors that I will always support and will always read her stories and treasure them dearly. ( )
  GenGenBookBlog | Nov 5, 2015 |
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"From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris comes a new, sexy romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident and the secrets left behind. Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she's got the two things she loves most: her art, and her best friend and soulmate, Ellis Carraway. Elle and Vada have a friendship so consuming it's hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It's intense. It's a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart. Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything. Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone. She's got nothing left to lose. So when she meets a smooth-talking lothario who offers to set her up as a cam girl, she can't say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night taking off her clothes on webcam, and the "tips" come pouring in. It's all just kinky fun till a client gets serious. "Blue" is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada's life than her body. Online, they open up to each other intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. She agrees, because she's starting to fall for him. And when he asks to meet, she says yes. Because she's dying to know the real man behind the keyboard. Even if one of his conditions is to bring Ellis. The girl who wants nothing to do with her anymore. Now Vada must confront the past she's been running from. A past full of devastating secrets--those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself."--… (more)

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