Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Tash Hearts Tolstoy is one of the best YA contemporary new releases I’ve read this year. It was funny and sweet and fun and heart-wrenching and absolutely delectable. I loved every moment while I was reading this book and practically breezed right through it.
We follow Tash Zelenka as she and her best friend, Jack, are creating a breakthrough YouTube series called Unhappy Families based on the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. In a flash their show is mentioned by a famous YouTuber, they get 45,000 subscribers, and are nominated for a Golden Tuba (a fictional YouTube award). Fame really does happen overnight for Unhappy Families and Tash has to figure out how to deal with all of the attention on top of figuring out her sexuality and fielding flirty texts and emails from a YouTuber friend.
I was really impressed by the asexual representation in the book and the way her feelings were described by Tash. I don’t solidly identify as asexual, but I am questioning and trying to figure myself out as well. But everything that Tash explained she was feeling, or not feeling, I could relate to in a way that confirmed emotions that I have personally been trying to understand.
The writing was beautiful and witty and exquisitely paced. It never felt rushed or drawn out, and I loved how realistic everything was, despite the fact of their overnight success. In the age of the internet, fame is fickle and can flicker bright or dim at the drop of a hat. And the way YouTube, Tumblr, and other forms of social media presented in this novel were described feels true to life. As a YouTuber, I could tell that Ormsbee really understood how it all works. (Or she is very good at imagining and guessing how it works!)
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Tash Hearts Tolstoy. I want to scream from the mountain tops how absolutely amazing this book is and why everyone should read it. Such a beautiful coming of age novel, and I can’t wait to reread this in the future.