Have you ever read a book where the characters have the same name as someone you know, and you can’t picture them in the way the author intended because of that? Are your reading experiences ever tainted by the fact that you know someone by the name of one of the main characters and you can’t help but picture the person you know as them? I never really knew how much a name could affect me. But then I read My Life as a Hashtag and discovered a character called Tosca. From then on, I couldn’t take the book seriously. You want to know why? Because I kept imagining ‘Tosca’ like this…
My Life as a Hashtag by 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.
Never in my life had I encountered another person called Tosca, and it messed with my mind. Suddenly, this so-called woman was adopting cat-like features. Whenever Tosca’s name came up in conversation, I conjured up an image of my cat in my mind. I just couldn’t help it. I think that this is undoubtably worse than imagining a character as another human you know. I mean, I’m sure we all know multiple people with the same names. It isn’t as difficult to substitute the same name for a different person. Sure, I’ve come across characters with the same name as my other cat — Ginger — but even that isn’t as bad because I know an actual human named Ginger. My mind just couldn’t handle the confusion between the two Toscas. Especially when one of them was sitting on my lap. Take a wild guess as to which one that was.
Okay, but my whole review isn’t just going to be me ranting about how I wish Tosca’s name was changed to something I could put a human face to. Her name could have been Tina or Talulah. Or literally any other name in the history of humankind. But that’s fine. I’m going to try to look past that so I can discuss the other aspects of this novel. I mean, at least we’re not supposed to overly like Tosca at first. It would be different if the love interest for the protagonist was named Tosca. I don’t think I could handle that. Imagine the protagonist thinking about how attractive Tosca was, and them leaning together to kiss, and… Okay stop, brain. This is weird.
Ever since I read The Girl, The Guy, The Artist and His Ex, I’ve been dying to get my hands on another book by Gabrielle Williams. I’ve honestly been waiting for this book for years! And finally, finally, the day had come where I got my hands on another one of her gorgeous books. And I loved the title! Sometimes I feel like my life is a hashtag, with the amount of time I spend on social media, and I adored this book from the very first page. The layout was delightful, and the storyline was even more fantastic. I’m fascinated by the way everything we post will be out in the world forever, and Gabrielle Williams really draws on that fear and mixes it with the use of technology today in a clever, entertaining way. This book doesn’t get all preachy like some of our parents do when talking about ‘future employment’ and our Facebook, but it reminds us of the everlasting state of what we post online in a funny, kind of cringe way. This book was one heck of a ride.
While it took me a while to really like the characters, particularly MC, I couldn’t help but fall in love with them throughout this journey of the ups and downs of modern teenage life. She was so fun to get to know and while there were times when I would be screaming at the pages not to do something, I couldn’t help but be pulled along by her charisma and awkward charm. Anyone who’s a teenager or has ever been a teenager will definitely be able to see a part of themselves in MC. I also adored the family dynamics in My Life as a Hashtag. Although they were definitely strained at times, they were always realistic and genuine, and I loved how Gabrielle Williams portrayed the accuracy of your parents being split up. I just want more!
Ultimately, My Life as a Hashtag is a funny and cringe-worthy story that will speak to all teenagers. I loved the dynamics between the characters and adored the messages about the importance of family and friends, and trying to navigate through difficult times. If you’re a fan of contemporaries and are looking for another #LoveOzYA book to read, I highly recommend checking out My Life as a Hashtag!
Have you ever read a book where you can’t help but imagine the people you know in real life instead of the characters? Have you ever had your pets named as characters? Do you struggle to differentiate the two sometimes? Have you read My Life as a Hashtag yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!