Off the Record - Review
*I received this E-Arc from Knopf Books for Young Readers for the TBR and Beyond Tours. All reviews are my own.*
I usually try to stay away from current topics in my reading. I like to escape from the reality of the physical world with a good story. I believe that's why I've been reading so many Fantasy and Young Adult books as of late. But Camryn Garrett's Off the Record looked like a window of what could have been if I ever decided to take my Journalism degree seriously. I had to see how this story was going to turn out!
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she's equal parts excited and scared but also ready. She's got this.
Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie's world is expanding so rapidly; she doesn't know whether she's flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she's in over her head.
One woman's account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she's reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn't step up, who will?
For those that gushed over Leah Johnson's, You Should See Me in a Crown, Off the Record falls into the same realm setting, dealing with anxiety and insecurities as its most significant subject matter. Though I cannot relate to most issues the main character went through, I did find some connectivity that resonated with me.
The story is set up in three parts:
Doing a cover piece for a magazine.
Dealing with the emotions of falling for the cover subject.
Handling a touchy topic that could either spread like Australia's wildfire or blow up like a gas pipeline.
Josie handles each task as best she could while trying to keep herself and her budding career intact. I like seeing how dedicated she is to her craft, but I wish the author delved a little deeper into Josie's art. I wanted to see more investigative journalism than the Q&A she did throughout the story, especially when it came to the #MeToo victims.
Overall, I rated this book 3-stars. The story's pacing was good, though I thought it took too long to get to the "terrible secret" portion. The ending was very flat to me as well. It felt like Garrett was trying to force a happy ending amid breakings news, but I was pleased to live vicariously through Josie during her time being a journalist. Who knows, maybe one day I'll stumble across a breaking news debacle and have my way with the media. One day.
Off the Record debuts May 18, 2021.