Gloss is the biggest pop group of the early ’00s. Cassie may have joined the foursome a bit late, but it was only once she became part of the group that they launched to superstardom. Think: Spice Girls. Everyone knows their names…which means they’re dealing with some craziness. There’s stalkers, the pressure to lose weight, and all sorts of temptations. At some point, it must have become too much because at the start of the book, which takes place in present day (i.e., 15 years after Gloss’ heyday), Cassidy has committed suicide. Her 3 former groupmates are trying to make sense of the tragedy while navigating their own demons and possibility of a comeback.
Think of this as a glossier (see what I did there) version of Daisy Jones and the Six. Even though you don’t technically get inside the characters’ heads in Daisy Jones (thanks to that unique format), I somehow felt like I knew the characters in Daisy on a deeper level than those in The Unraveling. The issues addressed in this book are dark, but the book had a more fun tone overall. It felt a bit YA, though it’s not being classified as such. While I was lukewarm about the surface coverage of difficult topics, I’m happy about the portrayal of depression, particularly in reading the author’s notes. We’re often meant to think depression/mental illness is the result of a single traumatic experience. While that may be true, depression is often an ever-present current that makes those traumatic experiences all the more so. People are not always “depressed because…” They may simply be depressed.
3.5 out of 5 stars. (Points deducted because it didn’t feel as heavy as I believe it was intended and because the first half was good but definitely slower than the second half.)
Pair with: Cosmo with a blowpop