Author: Alexandra Bayer
Published: May 20, 2020
Publisher: Aya Ellen Publishing
Source: Author Request
Naya hasn’t had the best first year of university – her boyfriend broke up with her, leaving her friendless and pining after him. That is, until she meets Brynn one day at the gym. Brynn is cool and beautiful, and new to the city. Naya is her first friend here. But when Brynn actually turns out to be the famous actress Aviva Jersey in disguise, Naya must decide how much of their friendship is real and how much was just an act. And the longer Naya spends around Aviva, the more of the spotlight she begins to see. But haven’t you heard? Fame doesn’t always equal happiness, and the spotlight comes at a price.
Identity is a new release from Alexandra Bayer. I would put this firmly in the billed New Adult category. The main character, Naya, is 19 and attending university in Toronto. One of the trends I’ve noticed in contemporary YA/New Adult over the last year is a heavy emphasis on social media (texting, tweeting, anonymous app communication) and enemies to lovers books. Don’t get me wrong, I love those books and those stories, but this book is a refreshing break from that mold. Naya befriends a fellow 19 year old at the gym one night. She turns out to be a famous actress named Aviva Jersey.
As the story progresses, Naya learns lessons about life, love, and herself through her friendship with Aviva. I felt Naya was a well-written character, but I wanted more from her. I understand that we are in her mind as she goes through her days. She misses her ex-boyfriend, she needs to eat healthier, she is a good student, but what else? Her family life seems fine, but is there something else that motivates her? Still, I found her to be fun to read along with and I liked her perspective in the book. The other characters, Aviva, Conner, etc. were also well-written, if a bit thin in their depth. Overall, I found this did not detract from the book or the story.
Pacing was good, the friendship with Aviva ramped up nicely, but not so much that it felt unreasonable. This book is just about 300 pages in eBook format. I felt the narrative flowed well and this was a very well thought out story. This will resonate with New Adult readers!
This is a well written book that fits well into the current landscape of contemporary YA fiction! I do hope there are more titles from Alexandra in the future! I received a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much to Alexandra Bayer for requesting this review and thanks again for choosing Book Bustle as a review blog!