Content Warnings: Abuse; physical, emotional. Toxic relationships; platonic & romantic. Mental Illness; depression, self-harm, suicide. Homophobia, challenged. Transphobia, challenged. Alcohol abuse.
Trigger Warnings: Bisexual, lesbian, trans, genderfluid, Latinx; Puerto Rican. African American side character. Disabled; chronic pain.
Synopsis*: Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.
Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.
Previous Grey Reads
Elliot Wake said Sex Worker rights!
Here’s the truth: every line you agonize over is etched into your memory. Onlookers see the finished result, polished and prettified, but all the artist remembers is the labor. The grueling, glorious bloody becoming.
Cam Girl is like Wake’s other previous books. It’s a twisted, mangled, poetic, hyper-sexual little narrative. It’s about two people who love each other with such intensity that they’re at risk of destroying each other.
The story follows Vada as she loses everything; the love of her life and her art, all in one car accident where a stranger loses his life. Broke and desperate, she’s offered a way to pay her bills and distract her from the abyss that threatens to take over; become a Cam Girl.
They hadn’t meant to hurt us. They thought we’d get hurt by being our true selves. And they were right, but that didn’t mean we were wrong.
Like all of Wake’s books, Cam Girl is beautifully written with flowery prose and imagery that steals your breath. He has a way with words that will have you wanting to mark at least one quote on every page. It’s one of his greatest strengths. But it’s not the only one in his arsenal.
Wake knows how to bury a story under your skin.
His narratives are dark and powerful and you’ll come away with so many lessons about life and love and everything in between. He challenges society’s expectations and doesn’t give a damn about its meanings of right and wrong.
This plot is honestly chaotic and batshit, to say the least. I never knew where the story would go next. Everyone has secrets and no one shows their cards. My brain was bouncing around trying to figure out what on earth was going on. But every twist and turn made sense to the story and the characters.
“I’ve never let anyone hurt you, Elle.”
“That’s true. You’re the only one who hurts me.”
The real stars of this book are Vada and Ellis and their complex and intense relationship.
📷 𝚅𝚊𝚍𝚊 📷
Except it’s hard.
It’s so hard.
In this world.
Bisexual disaster. Artist. The woman has built steel-reinforced walls around her heart. Some much-internalised shame.
📷 𝙴𝚕𝚕𝚒𝚜 📷
“Why didn’t you tell me your real name?”
Her jaw flexed. “It’s not my ‘real’ name. My real name is Ellis.”
“Why did you change it?”
“Because it wasn’t me.”
Soft nerdy lesbian. Tech genius. Comes from M O N E Y. Just wants to be loved by the one she loves.
Sometimes you end up resenting the person you’re protecting.
Somewhere along the way, it became me versus her.
Honestly, I don’t even know how to explain the relationship between these two??? It’s a fucking mess and that’s putting it lightly. They’re incredibly abusive and toxic towards each other. They’re wrapped up in each other so tightly that there’s no possible way for them to not hurt each other.
This is Wake’s specialty, highlighting all the ways in which humans are capable of destroying each other.
The urge to make art is a hurting. An ache, like desire. Like loneliness.
Except I couldn’t draw anymore. The hand that once spoke for me was dead, mute. It couldn’t even make a fist without pain stropping my spine like a razor, straight to the brain stem.
This book covers a lot. Sex work, kinks, sexuality, internalised sexism and homophobia, gender, the dark sides of love. Wake packs a punch in each message and reinforces the one thing that they all have in common: It’s fucking complicated.
I really did love a lot about this book, but it didn’t hold up as well against Black Iris for me, which is by far my favourite Wake book so far. I just didn’t like Vada and Ellis together. I think sometimes you gotta learn when to walk away no matter how much you love each other and they should have walked away for good in chapter two in my opinion. But of course, if they had done that then we wouldn’t have a book to read…
What I love most about this book is Vada. She’s headstrong and a complete mess but she’s doing the best she can and still finds ways to make art. I also loved the rep for chronic pain. It was so realistic and captured what it’s like to be in pain every day of your life.
Sometimes you see disaster coming, the edge of the bridge rushing up, dark water waiting, and you’re so fucking empty and hopeless you don’t bother to avoid it. You don’t swing the wheel, slam the brake. You speed up. Meet your doom head-on.
Where To Buy
*Taken from Goodreads.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
Grey Recommends – Relationship Status: It’s Complicated
🍃 Bad Romance, contemporary fiction: Bad Romance is the story of Grace’s journey from one abusive situation to another and how she got the fuck out.
🍃 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, historical fiction: It’s about Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands. Only it’s so much more than that.
🍃 Far From You, mystery fiction: Far From You is this complex little book about drug addiction, bisexuality, best friends; what happens when you fall in love with your best friend, complex and messy relationships, grief, and what it means to try and be a better person, for yourself and for those who love you.
Elliot Wake strikes again!
Have you read any of Wake’s books?
Is there a New Adult book you think I should read?