Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell: Fun, Unpredictable, Surprisingly Deep | Book Review

Title: Just for Clicks

Author: Kara McDowell

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Amberjack

Published: February 19, 2019

Format: ARC

Rating: 4/5 stars

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.
Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much.
Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

I was fortunate enough to win this ARC in a giveaway on Twitter, hosted by Hannah Capin!

I went into this book not expecting much. If I hadn’t won this in a giveaway along with a few other books, I’m not sure that I would’ve picked it up at all. Which would’ve been a total and utter mistake.

Just for Clicks seemed like it was just going to be a light, predictable story about teens and the internet, and the pressures of being famous. In actuality, the story had so much more depth to it, with some storylines I definitely wasn’t expecting.

Our main character Claire Dixon, was definitely a flawed one. She struggles with strangers, isn’t good at communicating her feelings, lies to get out of difficult situations – which definitely isn’t great for someone as in the spotlight as she is. But that only made me appreciate her more.

“Who would I be, if I wasn’t Ashley Dixon’s daughter, Poppy Dixon’s sister?

What I really loved about this book is how real it felt. It felt authentic to being a teenager, being insecure sometimes, or overthinking things. Claire was part of that realness for me. She has trouble relating to her mother and sister, and frequently feels like the black sheep of the family, like she doesn’t truly fit in with their world.

Poppy, her sister, is her total opposite. She loves being in the limelight, dreams of becoming a star. To her, their life is perfect, and she doesn’t understand why Claire refuses to appreciate it.

“Step one, conquer the Internet. Step two, earn a buttload of money. Step three, and this is the most important part, do whatever the hell we want… And if we get to wear free shoes on our climb to the top, all the better.”

I have mixed feelings about Poppy, as a character and as a sister. It seemed like she never really listened to Claire, and that her dreams outshone whatever Claire wanted. Although, to be fair, Clair wasn’t very supportive of Poppy either. I wanted to see more love, or at least caring, between the two sisters.

As someone with an older sister, I know that bickering and arguments are a reality, but I feel like I rarely got to see the two of them actually show love for each other, which is also definitely a reality.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far in the review without mentioning my boy Rafael! He is Claire’s love interest in this story, and I was so happy with him as a character. As much as I may love the broody bad boy trope, sometimes it’s nice to just have a normal, happy boy as a love interest.

“So that’s what you assume when you look at me? That I spend an obnoxious amount of time on my hair?”

He’s so laid-back and outgoing, and exactly the kind of person Claire needs in her life. Someone to take the pressure off of her day-to-day existence.

Even though Rafael is an important part of the story, their romance never seemed to overthrow the plot or Claire’s internal and external conflicts. It’s just a good ol’ fashioned crush, cuteness and all.

This book took some twists that surprised me in the best way possible! When I was about halfway it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to give it three or four stars, but then I got to the 70% mark, and this was my reaction, via my Goodreads status, to a certain… occurrence:

So yes, I would say that the book had a number of twists that I definitely did not see coming that really jump-started the plot whenever it slowed down. (I WISH I COULD TALK TO YOU GUYS ABOUT THIS ONE THING THAT HAPPENED BUT IT’S SPOILERS SO I CAN’T)/

My favorite thing about Just for Clicks is that it’s just so readable. It’s so easy to fly through and enjoy, without taking a whole lot out of you. I definitely love heavy, emotional contemporaries, but sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a fun book. This book definitely didn’t shy away from emotional topics (I can’t tell you exactly why because, again, spoilers), but it never seemed to weigh me down.

My only major problem with this book was that we don’t see enough of the twins’ mom. One of Claire’s biggest stressors in life is her mother and the blog that she runs, and even though there is discussion about that towards the end of the book, for most of the book it’s just Claire complaining about her mother, or hardly mentioning her at all. Again, like with Poppy, there weren’t enough positive interactions between them to make me believe in their relationship.

Overall, though, I was really impressed by this book. It delved deep into expectations and planning for the future, and taking charge of your own life – a message I never get tired of. I’d absolutely recommend this book.

Just for Clicks releases on February 19, 2019, from Amberjack.

All quotations are taken from an advanced copy of the book and may not match the finished edition.

Are you planning on picking up Just for Clicks? Have you already read it? Did I change your mind? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

Stay bookish,


Find me elsewhere: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

5 thoughts on “Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell: Fun, Unpredictable, Surprisingly Deep | Book Review

  1. I’ve only heard the title and not the synopsis but now I’m super intrigued! I love the concept of what happens to the children who are the focus of their parents’ blogs when they grow up. Even though I know a lot of of them have good intentions, I always feel kinda uncomfortable with these family vlog/Instagram accounts when they’re posting every detail about their kids’ lives before they can even speak.

    I’m definitely gonna check this book out! Thanks for the review 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even think of that, but you’re totally right! There are so many family vlog channels out there with kids from babies to teenagers. This book definitely answers some of those questions on what’s that like for them. I’m glad you liked my review, and I hope you enjoy the book! 🙂


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