3.5 / 5 stars
Read in January 2021
Book #1 in the The Famoux series
I’m going to be honest; I’ve only ever poked around Wattpad out of curiosity, but until now I’d never read any stories from the site. It’s always reminded me a lot of Figment from the early 2010s, a site I used to love (RIP), and therefore I think it’s so cool that Wattpad works with their authors to publish their stories. Because of this, I decided it was finally time to give one a chance. As my first real experience with Wattpad, Kassandra Tate’s The Famoux left me pleasantly surprised and will encourage me to pick up other Wattpad books in the future.
I would best describe this dystopian YA sci-fi as Divergent meets reality TV. Sixteen-year-old Emilee Laurence longs to escape her miserable life. She already feels like a burden to her father and siblings, and since her mother disappeared two years ago it’s been even more difficult to face the bullies at school. When Emilee is offered the chance to join the Famoux (pronounced Fame-ecks, much to the dismay of my francophile brain), a glamorous group of the most high-profile celebrities in the world, she takes it without a second thought. She gives up her old life and body to become Emeray Essence, and she quickly learns that being a member of this elite clique is not as freeing as she’d hoped. As the book blurb perfectly puts it, becoming a Famoux means that “being popular really is a matter of life or death”.
The mystery/ ticking clock element of this book is by far it’s strongest element and made it impossible to put down. It felt fast-paced and added a lot of intrigue, giving me a whodunnit vibe and making me eager to to see what would happen next. This raised the stakes around even the most mundane of tasks throughout the book, from what Emeray and the other Famoux wore or with whom they went to coffee. While some of the later twists seemed a bit contrived or unnecessary, others shocked me and made for a whirlwind of an ending.
I’m happy to say that I found the romance very sweet. It didn’t oversaturate the story and left room for the characters to grow in later books. I also liked Emeray’s friendship with Foster, and I hope we get to see her relationships with the other Famoux grow in the second book. It would be great to see them all team up rather than being pitted against each other! Plus who doesn’t love strong female friendships, and this series has the perfect opportunity to give them to us.
Another disclaimer: I almost DNF’d this book at the beginning. The first chapter consists mostly of heavy info dumps, as if Tate wanted to get all of the necessary info on Emilee’s life and world out of the way so she didn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the story. Fortunately, this changes about a chapter or two into the book, and from then on the exposition is better sprinkled into the action. The worldbuilding is pretty typical for a YA dystopia, with futuristic technology and genetic abnormalities caused by a past war, along with other details that don’t really make sense if you think about them too hard; but as long as you go in expecting this, it doesn’t detract from the book at all and ends up still being a lot of fun.
Overall, this book made me think about the implications of fame and what it would be like to have every aspect of your life scrutinized. The Famoux is a fun and easy to read page-turner that I would recommend for lovers of YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Since it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, I will definitely be on the lookout for book two!
Thank you to Wattpad Books via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.