Girl Gone Viral
Grade : B+

I’ll admit that this month’s TBR Challenge prompt of “Furry Friends” had me at a bit of a loss. I don’t have a lot of cutesy animal stories in my prompts. One of my friends pointed out that this didn’t necessarily have to be about pets, but I can’t say that any spectacularly furry heroes popped into my mind right off the bat either. Luckily, I found myself reading a real winner of a book, and about halfway through, I realized that it would fit the prompt quite nicely. I don’t know what made me wait almost four years to read Girl Gone Viral, but I’m glad I picked it up.

As with the first book in the trilogy, The Right Swipe (which I also enjoyed), this book is sexy and fun, but also dives into some deeper issues. There was one plot point in particular that irked me, but otherwise this book felt almost seamless to me.

Katrina King once had a very public life, but her traumatic past has led her to become something of a recluse. She leads an extremely private life, and quietly invests her money, which happens to be something she’s quite good at and which allows her to continue to live very privately.

Katrina’s life changes one day when a random guy in a coffee shop starts chatting her up. He seems nice enough and Katrina thinks nothing of the conversation until later when it turns out another stranger in the shop has been photographing the two and live chatting her speculations about what she thinks is a meet-cute that might start a great romance. Suddenly everyone wants to know who #CuteCafeGirl is, and Katrina’s life is flipped upside down.

Luckily her bodyguard Jas Singh offers the perfect solution. He has a house on his grandfather’s farm in rural northern California. Why not hide out there for a bit? No one will see her and things can die down. On the one hand, Katrina will be cooped up alone with her unrequited crush, but on the other hand…safety.

There was so much to like about Katrina’s time in Yuba City. In Southern California, Jas is the bodyguard. Once they get to Yuba City, we start meeting Jas’s family and seeing who he is outside of his job. Katrina also starts to settle into herself a bit more, too, and I enjoyed seeing her grow in confidence and find some peace. The main characters in this book already had a friendship, and seeing that deepen and grow into love is irresistible.

And the more serious issues? Well, Katrina still deals with the trauma of having been exploited in her modeling career by her father. The Twitter(because I will never call it by that other ridiculous name) stalking truly does not help, and the author does a wonderful job of showing how some of those cute Twitter threads can hurt real people.

Jas has his struggles, too. He still suffers from nightmares related to some of what he witnessed in the military. The impending pardon of a war criminal has reopened some of these old wounds for him. This is a part of his life Jas has tended to keep bottled up. The author handles this part of the story with sensitivity and the compassion Jas’s family and Katrina have for him brings a certain depth to the story.

So, how does all of this fit with the TBR prompt?  Well, let’s just say that Katrina rescues an unlikely companion during the course of the story who turns out to be the most loyal of beasts.

Girl Gone Viral was a great read for me. There was a plot point near the end involving Katrina’s father that felt tacked on and unnecessary, but otherwise I really enjoyed this one.

Reviewed by Lynn Spencer
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : February 21, 2024

Publication Date: 04/2020

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Lynn Spencer

I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.
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