Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley
October 1, 2021, by Montlake
Lily Wang and Tobin Hui went to High School together 10 years ago, but they weren’t exactly friends…or enemies either one. Frenemy is definitely the better term to describe what they were to each other. We open the book with a brief scene in high school and Lily ditching her Nerd Herd friends to try to sit with the popular group in the cafeteria but icily getting brushed off and taking it pretty brutally. Then it flashes forward to present day and Lily is a decently successful beauty YouTuber with a fierce drive, and surprise,, surprise, Tobin is a huge gamer YouTuber as well.
The two wind up collaborating on videos to try to get Lily’s subscriber count up and hijinx ensue. I think what was messing with my perception of this book the entire time is that this is a world I am unfamiliar with so I kept reading them as much younger than they were. Their 10-year high school reunion was coming up – they’re 28, but their concerns with subscriber count and content kept reading to me as such a YA concern. This was definitely a ME thing and not the book since I’m not a YouTube watcher at all. One thing I thought the author did a wonderful job with though was to develop and show the business side of YouTube content creators. Both MCs have agents and are expected to post content and have to meet certain deadlines. Both have expectations and a lot of weight on their shoulders that they have to worry about – and this is nothing that I’ve ever thought of before.
Tobin, in particular, has had to deal with his parents not supporting him from the beginning. They do not get that this is a job for him and that it actually pays his bills. The conversations he had with his parents felt incredibly realistic to me and are very familiar to anyone who have wanted to go against what is the norm for their families. I loved his character arc throughout the story with both his family and his agents.
His arc is completely different from Lily’s and I thought that Yardley did a really good job of showing this world and how it can impact the creators. Lily is obsessed with being perfect, sticking to her schedule, and getting ahead. The collab between Tobin and Lily brings such a balance to them both and I loved seeing Tobin eventually get a bit more focused and Lily get a tad more spontaneous over the course of the book.
However, what I didn’t love as much was Lily’s obsession with the popular people from high school. I understood that at 18, but I didn’t quite get that at 28 she still felt the same way about those people. With the high school reunion coming up, her old friends talk about how she wanted to get into the popular crowd and Lily doesn’t see how she wanted to leave the Nerd Herd behind. This was one of the reasons part of the young feeling kept sticking with me, more so than the YouTube portion.
So I love the romance part, completely believed in their HEA – particularly loved the resolution actually – but wish that Lily had a bit more personal development.