Goodreads ~ Ava Hart is the most reluctant cast member of a reality TV show based on her big city family's (mostly staged) efforts to run a B&B in small-town Nova Scotia. Every family has its problems but Ava has grown up seeing her family's every up and down broadcast on national television, after the show becomes an unexpected success for reasons that will take a heavy toll on the Harts.
Mags Kovach is the charismatic lead singer of a struggling Halifax rock band hoping to be the Next Big Thing. For years she's managed to contain her demons and navigate the uglier aspects of being a woman in the music world but after a devastating loss, she turns her anger on the only person she can: herself.
As their private tragedies continue to set social media and tabloid headlines on fire, their every move subjected to an endless stream of public commentary, it will be their unexpected friendship that will save them. They will push back against the roles they've been forced to play, and take back control of something they thought they'd lost forever - the right to their own stories.
It's 2009 and Ava is the eldest daughter of two married gay men ... she, her brother and sister were adopted. When she was about 12, they were living in New York City. Her dads receive and accept an offer for the family to be in a reality show ... they would be running a B&B in rural Nova Scotia! What?! Ava doesn't want to do it and does all she can to sabotage when they are filming. She gets her wish when her younger sister, Eden, attracts the spotlight and Ava is able to blend more into the background. She still resents having her family's lives constantly filmed and talked about on social media.
In the meantime, Mags and Sam are 15 and living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and dating. Mags' mother had passed away a few years earlier and she is being raised by her alcohol and drug addicted older sister. They have a falling out and Mags has nowhere else to go but to move (secretly) into Sam's family home. Mags and Sam formed a band with a couple of friends with a goal of the big time. Then Sam passes away at age 21 of cancer. On the cusp of success, Mags turns to drugs and booze to help her with her grief so she and the band can carry on.
In 2014, Ava (now 18) and Mags (now 21) meet. Both have their issues and their demons and they form a friendship because of their common bond of having to live and perform in the spotlight.
This is the second book I've read by this author and I liked it. When I read the first chapter, which is when Ava and Mags first meet in 2014, it wasn't grabbing me and I wasn't too sure if I was going to get into the story. But I kept going and I'm glad I did because I ended up liking it. The first chapter is, as I said, when they meet, and then the story goes back in time to 2009. The chapters alternate between Ava and Mags until present day, which is 2015. Plus there are chapters of what social media said about them and their behavior.
I liked the writing style ... it's written in third person perspective with the focus on Ava and/or Mags. I'm originally from Nova Scotia and live in Toronto, where the story at times takes place. I'm not far from where Mags "lived" here in Toronto and am just east of Parkdale, where she "parties". As a head's up, there is swearing.