ARC Review: Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell — A Cute and Fun YA Clean Romance that Explores the Reality of Social Media Fame

Hi guys! I am so excited to share with you the FIRST review of the New Year! I think it’s personally fitting to start off my 2019 reviews with Just for Clicks because social media is so prevalent in today’s increasingly technological society. However, it can be good at times (by connecting and fostering long-distance relationships) and bad at times (by fostering trolling, mob mentality, hatred, division, and online shaming). Just for Clicks explores the life of social media superstars with all of its ups, downs, and dangers. This is definitely a 2019 debut that you need to check out! I hope you enjoy!

About the BookJust for Clicks

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

Just for Clicks releases on February 19th from Amberjack Publishing. Pre-order it today!


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Just for Clicks Review

Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Even though I read Just for Clicks many weeks ago, it felt so refreshing to read such an engaging, fun, and CLEAN YA contemporary romance. It’s been such a long time since I enjoyed a book simply because it was entertaining and delightful to read. (As much as I love to read life-changing books, there’s only so much heartbreak and introspection I can handle. We need fun adventures every once in a while.) I loved this story so much that I could not set it down. I was so hooked from the beginning, and I found myself laughing and crying (metaphorical tears of joy) all throughout the book. Kara McDowell’s well-written debut starts off the New Year right, providing readers with cute yet compelling coming-of-age story filled with fame, romance, humor, and secrets. It’s filled with various communication media (emails and text messages) that add a depth of originality and light-heartedness.

Can you imagine your life being defined by social media, where random strangers can learn virtually everything about you from what food was served at every single one of your birthday parties to even a few shockigly embarrassing moments? That’s the life of Claire and Poppy, the twins of a famous mommy blogger. Poppy revels in the spotlight while Claire rejects it as much as she can. Just for Clicks explores the life of social media superstars along with its beauties, its flaws, and its dangers. As a book blogger, sometimes fame can be enticing—it’s hard not to want to be famous! On the other hand, is that life worth it? McDowell shows the possible dangers from obsessed stalkers and possible kidnappers to hurtful hecklers and virtually nonexistent privacy. Just for Clicks is a great reminder that being famous does not entail a perfect life, and rather than let social media define us, we need to control it instead. While technophobia may be a bit of an extreme (though I commend those living without electronic devices), the author shows that life can be great without posting one’s every single move.

Another thing I love about Just for Clicks is the family dynamic. There are so many stories where every other family member (except for one or two) is villainized like Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother, but Just for Clicks is the opposite. Every character in the Dixon family—Claire, Poppy, and their mom—is both flawed yet loving. Claire doesn’t want to continue their glamor-filled, but that doesn’t mean she hates them. The Dixon family has their ups and downs, and everyone acts selfish and gets carried away in her own way, but in the end, they love each other very much. I think we need more stories in YA fiction where the other family members aren’t villainized as evil but depicted as flawed yet caring. That’s what makes Just for Clicks a very special story in my eyes.

Might I repeat that Just for Clicks is a clean romance? Yes, a CLEAN one! I’m not a fan of romances that show a lot of sensuality. (I get you’re in love, but do I really need to read a kissing/touching/sex scene every few chapters or so?) The slow-burn between Claire and Rafael was so cute and heartwarming, and it was so great to not have Claire narrating a very explicit description of Rafael or their encounters. (Plus, Rafael acted a lot like me, which made it hilarious to go “That’s exactly what I would do” so many times.)

Just for Clicks is a cute and heartwarming debut romance that is filled with laugh-out-loud moments. As it explores the reality of being famous on social media, McDowell’s debut novel allows room for readers to reflect upon the benefits and consequences of viral fame. I have no qualms against this book at all—it certainly is a book that I hope to revisit again in the future. Kara McDowell is a debut author you should be looking out for in 2019. While Claire and Rafael slowly fall in love, Just for Clicks provides a fun and hilarious story for readers to fall in love with as well.

Kara McDowellAbout the Author

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.

JUST FOR CLICKS is Kara’s debut novel.

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Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

“Social media robs us of life. It takes our focus off living life and shifts it to presenting a false image of ourselves and our lives to other people…. As Christians we should see social media as a way to bring a positive message of hope to a realm filled with so much negativity and hopelessness.” — Matthew Kelly, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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