Review: Hidden Gem by India Lee

         Hidden Gem
India Lee; Kindle Edition
Published June 20th 2011 by Two Cats (first published February 23rd 2011)
Lavishly disguised pop singer, Queen Bee, is known abroad for her high-fashion wardrobe and killer vocals. In the states, she’s just Gemma Hunter – shy suburban teenager in her strange new role of high school junior.
Luckily, Gemma is taken under the wing of the fiery and popular Madison, who leads her into the high school life of the charmed. Her world as Gemma quickly becomes everything she ever wanted in a normal life – that is until international teen heartthrob, Tyler Chase, announces his celebrity crush on Queen Bee. Suddenly, Gemma’s alter ego becomes a household name as the handsome singer’s loyal “Tyler Chasers” create a frenzy to discover her true identity.
And just when Gemma thinks she can hide from the celebrity drama in her high school life, Lucas – her next door neighbor as well as Madison’s boyfriend – develops an interest in her that goes far beyond platonic, and Gemma soon learns that rumors aren’t strictly for the stars.
Goodreads on Hidden Gem

Ok, so first thing I will say is, that cover is totally cool. I loved it from first glance, totally. Yes, I know, you all knew I was going to say that, right? I’m a bit on edge, slept very little in the last 24 hours, so if I’m ranting, well more then usual I mean, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, considering my zombie-mode while reading it, this (e)book was actually surprisingly entertaining. When you haven’t slept much, you tend to be agitated, very, very, very easily lose focus and interest in whatever you’re doing, that sort of thing, you know? So I was just planning to sort of glance at the writing, just to have a teaser for the after-sleep reading session. And then, somehow, after my furtive glance, it’s hours later and I read the whole thing and I’m in a good mood, a very uncharacteristic manifestation for this stage of my sleep/wake cycle.

The blurb left me sort of wondering about just what in the world I’d be in for. After reading it I have two very conflicting emotions about the characters. The strongest, I will admit, is I pretty much hate in degrees, dislike in degrees or have no feelings about, basically, most of them. Except Gemma, and her brother who was just too funny to dislike, some of the “kids” seemed spoiled brats, cruel little pieces of very shiny dirt. Don’t get me wrong, they are very well written, but that’s what they are. Shallow, tag-oriented, snotty little brats. In this regard, reading this felt exactly like watching episodes of those awful creatures in monstrous “reality TV” shows up on MTV or whatever other place. I’ve never been part of their target audience, watching snotty brats has never ever been anything but highly irritating to me, regardless of their parents’ financial status, their looks or whatever else.
Of course, this is a very personal view. All the signature stuff floating around was also to me; I’m very much into pretty things, but very little into brands. Very, very little into brands, and very, very little into people that pay them a lot of attention, really.

Now, considering my above and beyond confessions, the fact that I enjoyed reading this says a lot about the writing of the novel, really. The fact I disliked, would have liked to throttle, or just shove down a long, long flight of stairs some of the characters involved, also says a lot about the fact that I did, all in all, enjoy reading this novel. A big part of it is Gemma, and I loved her darling little heart. I really, really like Tyler, too, though there was precious little of him, and from the spoiler chapter of the next novel in the series, I get high hopes I’ll see more of him. Damian was cool too.
I would, however, merrily watch Madison choke on a cactus, and I disliked Lucas even more then his high-airs/high-maintenance girlfriend, probably because there’s little that grosses me out more then whipped boyfriends.
The plot wasn’t incredibly sinuous, but angsty, well orchestrated, thus entertaining. The writing was good, fun, and I really liked the way it focused on particular moments, and sort of blurred over others. This is a page-turner read, no doubt.

Now, my actual rating would be more a 3.5 then a 4, but I like Gemma enough to give her a + 0.5. I say give it a shot, it’s interesting and entertaining, and sets the stage for really awesome next books in the series, I think and hope.

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-ebook: $0.99

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