Off The Record Review

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Off The Record by Camryn Garrett.

Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Off The Record follows our protagonist, Josie, on her first paid journalism assignment. When Josie wins a writing competition she is beyond thrilled – who wouldn’t want to write a cover page story for one of the biggest magazines while travelling across five cities in America? However, Josie soon realises that there’s more to fame than it seems, and, when her interviews start revealing a darker side to the industry, she is faced with the impossible decision of how to proceed.

Off The Record was definitely one of those books that make you think. It covered several prominent issues in society today, as well as exploring the dangers to Hollywood, and what can really go on in the shadows. I think it’s safe to say that this book will stick with you long after finishing it – or, at least, it did for me. It certainly made me think more about the industry and consider what could be happening behind the scenes.

I think the main thing which made this book stand out from other books I’ve read was definitely the journalism aspect. I don’t think I’ve read a story like this before, and it was so interesting and insightful in learning more about how the journalism industry worked. I thought it was a really nice inclusion of Garrett’s and a really unique setting for the book. Josie’s overwhelming drive and determination when writing the article was really inspirational, and it definitely added to her character.

Of course, all of the characters in this story were really strong, with a central focus on the females. The way they spoke out against the huge injustices they faced was so inspirational and just lovely to see. Their bravery and strength was something I really admired and I loved how they all supported each other. It was really empowering to see such a great focus on female power!

Obviously the reason why these females were all so strong and powerful was horrible, and they all had one thing in common – they were all sexually assaulted by a massive Hollywood director. Each of the women had such a horrifying and dark story to tell and, although Garrett didn’t go into graphic detail of what actually took place, it was clear how much of an impact this had left on them. Talking about things like sexual assault in the current age is so important because it’s still a really large and prominent issue in society today so I thought it was really great of Garrett to sensitively explore the topic.

Of course, that wasn’t the only big topic Garrett took on – there were lots of different representations throughout the book, which was lovely to see. Josie herself was black, bisexual, overweight and suffered from anxiety, and all of that made up such a crucial part of her identity. There were also multiple other characters who represented things like these, and it was great to see the diverse cast of the book as it’s so important that everyone can see a piece of themselves in books.

The character development was also great. Admittedly, it mainly took place in the last fifty or so pages of the book, but it was still lovely to see the increase in Josie’s confidence and her learning to embrace herself and her body more. I loved seeing her gradual journey and acceptance of herself, and also watching her grow into her own as a journalist and writer.

However, that’s not to say that I loved absolutely everything about this book. I honestly feel like it tried to cover too much at once – the competition, sexual assault plotline, making friends, issues with body image, developing a romantic relationship, getting closer with her sister, battling anxiety, college etc – and I definitely think Garrett could’ve left out a couple of those things so that each plotline could’ve been more developed.

Leading on from that, I also had some issues with the romance. Despite Marius and Josie being cute enough together, I still wasn’t the biggest fan of their relationship, and I really think that it was just unnecessary. If anything the story could’ve worked better without it as there would’ve been more time for the sexual assault story, which felt a little rushed and didn’t really feature until the second half of the book.

Overall, I would recommend Off The Record for anyone interested in the journalism field, or writing in general, for that matter. I found reading about Josie’s interest in journalism fascinating, and it definitely made the book stand out! I would also recommend it to anyone searching for an empowering female book, as this Off The Record has a clear focus on women taking back their power.

However, it must also be noted that sexual abuse/assault is a prominent theme in this book, so if that makes you uncomfortable, I would advise you not to read.

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Ceri

59 thoughts on “Off The Record Review

  1. I actually never read a book where a character was pursuing a career in journalism now that I think about it, so going to add this to my reading list! Also, it sounds like far too many topics were involved, but will give this a try anyway. Great review! x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like an intense read. I like that the author isn’t shying away from such a big and important topic such as sexual assault in Hollywood. I’m very vocal in my life about the need for awareness on sexual assault and the continued talking about the #metoo movement, so admire the author for bringing this into her storyline.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is! So did I, it’s such an important topic which I’ve never seen explored in a book before. Same, sexual assault is still so prevalent in society today and it’s so important that we tackle it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for mentioning the SA/SH for us readers. I appreciate knowing about that kind of stuff before reading a book just so I can get prepared. Otherwise, it seems like a cool story with a diverse/unique main character!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will have to give this a read – I personally started studying Journalism when I was first at university but changed degree for various reasons, so I’m sure I’ll find this very interesting! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t heard of this book before, but it sounds like a good read. I like the sound of the darker side of the industry being uncovered. Its great to hear about the female characters in particular. Think I’ll add this to my TBR pile. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There have been a number of articles in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s outing but I don’t think I’ve come across a book like this before – sounds like a really good read, you’ve written a fab review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds great and fascinating! Never read a book related to journalism before so it will be interesting! Also lots of well built female charactes and the issue of sexual harassment triggers me even more. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review! I enjoy books with strong female characters as well as one that takes on some sensitive contemporary issues so I think this is one I’ll be adding to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I admire authors who bring out the prevalent issues in our society. I’ll definitely be looking out for this book. If you haven’t already you should check out My Dark Vanessa (TW: Sexual abuse) it too picks up an overlooked issue in our society. Almost a year after reading it, I still get the chills just thinking about the character development and the subtle nuances the author brought out.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your review has always been very thorough and offers great perspective. This book is a bit too dark for me, but I still enjoyed reading your review. Reminds me of many good movies and tv shows about how journalism revealed many dark secrets of the world. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really love the premise of this! As someone who wants to work in a similar field, it makes me so excited to see a book on journalism. I didn’t choose journalism specifically because of what the main character struggles with: the hard truth, and debating if it should be shared. I also like how this story covers some serious topics because it seems like it happens a lot to celebrities involved with powerful people. Thanks for talking about this book, I might have to go pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So do I! Ah wow, I’m glad you found it so relatable and similar to your own struggles! It definitely is, it covers some pretty heavy stuff. Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment, I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

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