Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
Tash is such a fangirl. Her current obsession isn’t a fictional character from a novel or a hottie from a boy band or a mysterious loner dude from a CW show like you might expect from most fangirls. Tash is in love with Leo Tolstoy, the dead author of famous classics. His poster hangs on her wall (thankfully, it’s the one below, not the old nasty dude on the cover of this book).
Being in love with Count Tolstoy means she has read all of his books. Her favorite is Anna Karenina. She loves it so much that she and her like-minded, super-creative, uber-talented, BFF, Jack, decide to write a web series inspired by Anna Karenina. They call it Unhappy Families. They host auditions, hire actors, start filming and editing, post the episodes, get followers, THEN a web-famous vlogger gives them a shout out and their popularity explodes, THEN they get nominated for a Golden Tuba for best new web series and things get really crazy.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy is a story of internet fame and how this group of teens handle that fame. Pretty fascinating. It’s also about identity. Tash identifies as asexual-romantic and a good deal of this story centers around that story line. I knew nothing about this type of sexuality and I appreciated learning about it from Tash’s POV. Because Tash is dealing with perfecting her web series, dealing with the stress of social media and the upcoming Golden Tubas, trying to sort out her feelings toward Paul (her other best friend who is also Jack’s twin brother) and Thom (another web famous blogger who Tash makes plans to meet up with at the Golden Tubas), and dealing with some family drama, Tash isn’t always the most likeable character. She can be selfish and flake out on family and friends when they need her. She’s trying to do the right thing for everyone but it’s hard. I actually kind of loved Tash for this behavior because it came across as so, so real.
I could not stop thinking of the greatest web series of all time (of course, it’s the only one I’ve ever watched, but still), The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (!!!) as I read this book. So this book gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies.
Author, Kathryn Ormsbee, actually began creating her own web series before writing this book. The ongoing series is called Shakes and they create modernizations of Shakespeare’s plays. I’m looking forward to checking it out!
Finally, to my faves at Forever Young Adult. After writing this review, I read your review. Mine has many similarities to yours (click on the screencap below to read their review; it's better than mine). I want you to know that I swear these ideas are all my own! Great minds and all that, I guess!