After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.
Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.
And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.
Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?
I was really excited about this book since it was suppose to feature an asexual protagonist. And God knows, there’s hardly any rep of that in YA. The thing is Tash Hearts Tolstoy didn’t really work for me. And no, it wasn’t a representation issue.
Though, it’s not even mentioned that the character is asexual until about a hundred or so pages in the book, but that’s besides the point.
Why did I quit this book? Well, to put it bluntly I did not like the main character and more or less the book was another contemporary taking of the trend of 2017 (social media break out star).
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I knew going in it was going to feature this trope. But there was something just noxious to me about it, I think because it was more or less the cliche of fame going to your head…or at least that’s what the author was trying to go with, but really from what I saw the MC’s friend was really an asshole a la Lily Moscovitz from The Princess Diaries books, though to be fair though the MC, Tash, is also annoying. And not annoying in an endearing way like Mia Thermpolis.
No. She was just so, so, annoying.
In part, because this book has major shades of pandering in it. I mentioned pandering in my review of Queen of Geeks a few months. One thing I will give Tash Hearts Tolstoy is at least the MC’s TV web episodes weren’t immediately successful. They had to get noticed first, but still the whole going viral bit was a bit unexplained. And, well, boring. Getting that many views, you’d think there would be more fall out than there was.
And maybe, if I kept reading the book I could’ve seen more of it. But again, I read a little over a hundred pages and was completely underwhelmed with the whole thing.
I skimmed through the end to see if things picked up, from what I saw the book took the cliche route and really I did not have enough time to read that sort of shit. My reading time is tight enough as it is, and with Tash being so obnoxious I didn’t want to waste my time with her or her story.
Which is a shame, because like I said I was interested in reading a book with an asexual main character.
But instead, I got whiney Tash who just seems to go in her room, talk about how she’s going to get into freaking Vanderbilt because she works at Old Navy, and complains about how evil her sister is for looking like Scarlett Johansson and occasionally mentions something interesting about her Czech heritage-alas, there is a lack of kolaches in the part of the book I read. Being of Czech heritage myself that is so, so wrong.
Man, writing this makes me wish that I could find a good gluten free recipe for kolaches. I miss kolaches. Especially the poppy seed ones. Poppy seed kolaches are the best.
I’m not kidding you about the character’s activities. Given the synopsis of the book, I thought that the characters sexuality would play more of a role in the book than it did. And maybe it did further on in the book, but it really was only merely thrown out there. And in a way I think that might’ve been how it should be, but given how it was presented even though it was so sudden…you could tell it was going to be a plot that was further developed.
So yeah, me and this book just did not connect. I wouldn’t say it was exactly a horrible book, but Tash and I just did not get a long and I didn’t see us ever getting along. Add the fact that the plot was going the cliche route, I really wasn’t interested in staying around and seeing how things played out.
Overall Rating: DNF.