Who among us hasn’t gotten drawn into the drama that is reality TV? Avid listeners of the podcast know that we had been discussing Scandoval fairly regularly leading up to the mid-season finale. I think we even said it once on the podcast - we don’t want to be a part of the drama, but we do need to know 110% of what’s happening. And so, it should surprise absolutely no one that I was thrilled to grab an ARC of Kelly Loy Gilbert’s upcoming Everyone Wants to Know when I was at YALLWest.
Content warning provided at the bottom of this post. The post itself is spoiler-free, but there are a couple things that I believe need to be mentioned.
The Lo family has been in the spotlight ever since youngest daughter Honor was a kid. After their reality show Lo and Behold goes off the air, the family stays in the spotlight as influencers creating podcasts, writing bestselling books, and earning brand partnerships. But when Honor’s father decides he’s moving out of their California home into an apartment in Brooklyn, the image of the perfect Lo family starts to crumble. When one of Honor’s best friends leaks a private conversation to the media, she throws all her energy into reuniting her family, despite being spread out across the country.
At her lowest, Honor finds comfort in Caden that makes her want to reach outside of her family for the first time. But as she figures out how to make things work with Caden, tragedy hits the family and Honor pulls back, not feeling like she deserves happiness when her family is struggling. As the secrets pile up, Honor must choose between loyalty to her family and fighting for the life that she wants.
A page turner from the very start, the Lo family are exactly the kind of people that reality show junkies love to hate (or just love to watch). Choosing to share this story from Honor’s POV roots the story in a more believable place, even as she is someone who is famous just because she’s famous. She doesn’t have any national recognization in the way the rest of her family has and that gives a more human element to it, whereas the rest of the family (maybe sans Atticus) feels larger than life.
The story takes a few twists and turns on the way to the end. Kelly holds back just enough information about the Los' past that keeps you wondering what the big fuss is about, but not too much that you get frustrated. I don’t know how to explain it, but I somehow guessed exactly what was going to happen and was still surprised by it happening at the same time. It was almost like an out of body experience, like the different parts of my brain that hypothesize and process information weren’t communicating.
There is no avoiding the fact that this book is made up of fairly unlikeable characters, even Honor. While each character gets on my nerves at one point or another, I think there’s no avoiding that with a story like this. These people live in a world that is not like our own and their perspectives are greatly skewed. It all comes to a head at the climax of the story and made me want to scream at some of them for just being THE WORST. Even if you understand their motivations behind things, it doesn’t really justify some of the actions that are taken and that was probably the one thing that exasperated me at the end. (To be clear, it doesn’t justify it to me, but it justifies it to them.)
Speaking of the ending, it left me a bit on edge and wired. I finished reading just after midnight and it took me a solid TWO HOURS to fall asleep afterward, not because I was thinking about the book, but because I just felt unsettled.
Fans of Crazy Rich Asians and Keeping Up with the Kardashians will find something to enjoy in this wild story of family, first love, and finding yourself. It’s also a reminder that the truth isn’t always that easy to determine, especially when it comes to people living in the spotlight.
Everyone Wants to Know by Kelly Loy Gilbert hits shelves on June 13, 2023 and you can preorder a copy here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."
CONTENT WARNING BELOW, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!
- Some recurring themes in the book including gaslighting, toxic relationships, and a bit of imposter syndrome.
- This does not affect the plot of the book, but there is a minor character that struggles with alcohol addiction. It is not depicted on the page and we only see it in regards to how it affects a different character.
- This is a large plot point of the book (read above: "tragedy hits the family"). The family has to work through a cancer diagnosis and there are many scenes that depict going to chemotherapy appointments and the aftereffects of chemo on the individual.