My Life as a Hashtag

Gabrielle Williams

My Life as a Hashtag
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My Life as a Hashtag

Gabrielle Williams

I’d been warned - in French, no less. By a tram-riding, mermaid-swaying, wolf-eaten, peace-sign flipping friend. I knew she wouldn’t be happy if I stayed out here by the pool, with Jed’s nail tracing the length of my neck. But I didn’t want to go inside. I didn’t want another drink. I wanted to stay out here and see what would happen.

What’s a girl to do when her parents have split up; her mum’s trawling Tinder; and one of her best friends has decided not to invite her to the biggest party of the year, which she then has to watch unfold on everyone else’s social media?

If you’re a girl called MC, you get mad as hell, that’s what you do.

But what begins as one girl’s private, no-holds-barred rant soon snowballs in the most public way possible.

A funny, heartfelt novel for anyone who’s ever wished they hadn’t pressed send.

Review

My Life as a Hashtag brings the reader into the company of an eclectic group of friends, siblings and their wider social network. At its core this social group forms a tight, if not enmeshed, tribe made up of hip, quirky and fiercely intense teenagers that you’ll love hanging out with. Social life for these teens is inextricably linked with social media forums such as Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook that provide a platform for them to showcase their lives to a wider audience. It’s a network so large that in its manifest form, it has global reach, encompassing communities with imagined connections between them.

This is the social experience of young people today, where trawling through social media feeds is as habitual and second-nature as breathing. Marie-Claude, or MC as she prefers to be called, is no exception to the new teenage prototype. MC’s life is full of angst and discomfort as she comes to terms with her parents’ separation and is confronted by the cringe-crazy fact that her mum is on Tinder. An exquisite blend of hilarity and embarrassment ensues. But things really get serious when falling for the same bad guy creates a rift between friends and MC finds herself outed, blocked on social media and not invited to the party of the year.

A profound sense of injustice overwhelms MC and she vents her frustration in an online rant that goes viral. What follows unleashes a ‘dangerous, buzzing swarm’ of troll attacks, public shaming and online harassment on a grand scale. Catharsis comes through painful self-awareness and a preparedness to confront one’s own bully nature. Not many of us have the fortitude or moral mettle to face that kind of unguarded honesty about ourselves. MC is such a character: somewhat flawed, yet brave, with a cautionary tale to tell.


Natalie Platten is the Assistant Manager and Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Doncaster.

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