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In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life. Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity. She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life. Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity. She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn't get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her. But now she's dead. Suicide. The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done? Told in multiple perspectives—including Cassidy herself—and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it.


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In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life. Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity. She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the In vein of Daisy Jones & The Six and Everything I Never Told You, this debut novel probes the dark side of fame after a former pop star ends her own life. Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity. She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn't get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her. But now she's dead. Suicide. The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done? Told in multiple perspectives—including Cassidy herself—and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it.

30 review for The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Jenkins Reid

    The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is a page-turning peek inside the glamour and brutality of life as a pop star. Sloan takes us on a wild ride through the world of music video shoots, expensive hotels, and arena tours — showing us the darkness that threatens just below the surface.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    I went into this one expecting a Daisy Jones or The Comeback kind of vibe. Young girl, achieves fame, bad stuff happens. Perhaps I just had too high of an expectation for this one. Although I did enjoy this book, it was way too slow of a burn for me. I never felt that it fully took off. I kept waiting for more, but it kept plugging along at the same pace. It took me forever to read this........just saying. I enjoyed the whole girl pop group but it never dug deep enough to tap into my emotions. I I went into this one expecting a Daisy Jones or The Comeback kind of vibe. Young girl, achieves fame, bad stuff happens. Perhaps I just had too high of an expectation for this one. Although I did enjoy this book, it was way too slow of a burn for me. I never felt that it fully took off. I kept waiting for more, but it kept plugging along at the same pace. It took me forever to read this........just saying. I enjoyed the whole girl pop group but it never dug deep enough to tap into my emotions. I think some of the reason for this is I felt like we didn't have strong enough characters. Something made me hold back and not connect with them. I was indifferent to all except Rose. UGH Rose. However this book did deliver a very important message at the end and I do really appreciate that. I feel the premise was really strong but it didn't deliver as I had expected. I really had high hopes for this one!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    Cassidy Holmes was at the pinnacle of her career...a 20-year old in a successful girl group in the early 2000’s when the pop music craze blew up again. So what made her abruptly leave the group while touring for their 2nd album? And what made her allegedly commit suicide after almost 20 years outside of the limelight? This was my August BOTM, and I was so excited to dig in. I kept hearing that this was “in the vein of ‘Daisy Jones’”, but besides the obvious (rise and fall of group/band, struggles Cassidy Holmes was at the pinnacle of her career...a 20-year old in a successful girl group in the early 2000’s when the pop music craze blew up again. So what made her abruptly leave the group while touring for their 2nd album? And what made her allegedly commit suicide after almost 20 years outside of the limelight? This was my August BOTM, and I was so excited to dig in. I kept hearing that this was “in the vein of ‘Daisy Jones’”, but besides the obvious (rise and fall of group/band, struggles inside and outside of the group/band), they’re really not that similar. I enjoyed many parts of this book, and found the rise to fame interesting... and a bit nostalgic as I was a mid-teen in the early 2000’s. The book touches on many important topics, such as eating disorders, rape, violence, stalkers, the way rumors can ruin someone’s life, depression, etc. And yet, something was missing that I couldn’t quite place my finger on. None of the characters felt fully fleshed out, so it was hard to get a good read on them. I found that I liked someone one moment and didn’t like them the next...but never really understood the switch in their behavior. I also thought it was a bit far-fetched that a young character who was so naive and uncomfortable with celebrity life would all of a sudden demand her publicist set up a press conference. These are all little things (and there are a few more), but that’s why it wasn’t a complete win for me. This is Elissa R. Sloan’s debut novel, and I have no doubt she can/will have a very successful writing career. While very promising, I think what this novel is missing is grit. GRIT! YES! I figured it just now while writing this! I definitely look forward to what she comes out with next. All in all, an enjoyable read that’s just missing a few layers. 3.5 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    So amazing, I went into this wanting daisy jones and the six vibes & got so much more out of it. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book, except that I wish there was even more of it. Not that I felt like the ending should’ve stretched longer, but just because I got really attached to the characters. You definitely get similar vibes to Daisy Jones in the way that we follow Gloss as they come together and their rise to fame, and in the way that the reader knows the group split up So amazing, I went into this wanting daisy jones and the six vibes & got so much more out of it. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book, except that I wish there was even more of it. Not that I felt like the ending should’ve stretched longer, but just because I got really attached to the characters. You definitely get similar vibes to Daisy Jones in the way that we follow Gloss as they come together and their rise to fame, and in the way that the reader knows the group split up and is finding out why that is in flashbacks. But it was so much more than just that, it delves into serious topics (TW: suicide, assault, sexual assault, disordered eating, drug abuse, etc.) in a way that didn’t feel rushed. I loved that we switched from Cassidy’s perspective as a young adult to the rest of the group as adults.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elissa Sloan

    I mean, I think it's pretty great. I mean, I think it's pretty great.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    It seems I enjoyed this more than many of my fellow reviewers, but I can definitely understand their critiques. Told from four narratives, those of Cassidy, Merry, Yumi, and Rose, The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes reminded me a bit of Daisy Jones & The Six...but honestly reminded me more of the life stories of pop groups like the Spice Girls and TLC. It kept me entertained throughout, but everything felt superficial. The characters weren't completely developed and most of the story lines were It seems I enjoyed this more than many of my fellow reviewers, but I can definitely understand their critiques. Told from four narratives, those of Cassidy, Merry, Yumi, and Rose, The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes reminded me a bit of Daisy Jones & The Six...but honestly reminded me more of the life stories of pop groups like the Spice Girls and TLC. It kept me entertained throughout, but everything felt superficial. The characters weren't completely developed and most of the story lines were glossed over, barely skimming the surface of any true depth. It felt more like the author was telling us how it went, versus letting the girls' stories speak for themselves. I never really found a complete answer as to why Cassidy committed suicide either. I was hoping to have a chapter devoted entirely to her mindset prior to her death, but there was nothing. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, but I do wish it had dug a little deeper. 3.5 stars Available now! My sincere thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for my review copy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I love it by Amanda Eyre Ward As always, but especially now, I love my evening escape: me, cozy in a nest of bedding with a bowl of ice cream, opening a great novel. From page one, I knew I was in for a treat with The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes, a fun story which reminded me of another favorite, Daisy Jones & The Six, and also brought to mind the tragic, relentless gossip-mag coverage of Britney Spears's meltdown. The price of fame and fortune, especially for young women, is the theme at the Why I love it by Amanda Eyre Ward As always, but especially now, I love my evening escape: me, cozy in a nest of bedding with a bowl of ice cream, opening a great novel. From page one, I knew I was in for a treat with The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes, a fun story which reminded me of another favorite, Daisy Jones & The Six, and also brought to mind the tragic, relentless gossip-mag coverage of Britney Spears's meltdown. The price of fame and fortune, especially for young women, is the theme at the heart of Elissa R. Sloan’s vibrant debut. Cassidy is a vulnerable young woman from Houston, Texas, who first finds stardom on a TV show vaguely reminiscent of American Idol. Overnight, she goes from talented nobody to A-list frontwoman of the internationally famous band Gloss in the blink of an eye. But she isn’t prepared for the costs of such rapid success: utter isolation and loneliness. Readers trace the pop group’s rise and fall through the eyes of Cassidy and her bandmates Rose, Merry, and Yumi. The novel leaps forward and backward in time, always keeping a taut narrative thread. This story is witty, satirical, and insightful, but take heed: Its portrayal of the unsightly undertones of the music industry is devastatingly realistic. The author’s content warning states that this book’s contents include suicide, eating disorders, and physical and sexual assault. Yes, this novel is a heartbreaker, but it’s also a fantastic read. And I think we could all use that right now. Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-unrave...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    This was my August BOTM, and even though I wasn't a lover of Daisy Jones & The Six (mainly due to the script-like format), I'm a sucker for books involving band drama, so The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes was a must-read for me. If anything, this book made me appreciate Daisy Jones even more, as DJ had a super authentic, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll feel, whereas Cassidy Holmes fell flat in that department. The premise is an interesting one - American Idol meets Spice Girls meets Brittney Spears - This was my August BOTM, and even though I wasn't a lover of Daisy Jones & The Six (mainly due to the script-like format), I'm a sucker for books involving band drama, so The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes was a must-read for me. If anything, this book made me appreciate Daisy Jones even more, as DJ had a super authentic, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll feel, whereas Cassidy Holmes fell flat in that department. The premise is an interesting one - American Idol meets Spice Girls meets Brittney Spears - all rolled up into a neat little girl band package. The main focus is the rise and fall of Gloss, a pop girl band in the early 2000's, and what lead one of the members (Cassidy “Sassy” Holmes) to commit suicide some fifteen years after her abrupt departure from the group. The book alternates between past and present and is narrated by Cassidy herself and the three other members of Gloss: Merry, Yumi, and Rose. Herein lies my first issue - this was yet another book where I had to keep looking back at the beginning of the chapter to see which Gloss girl was telling her story. It took me several chapters to remember which one had a daughter now and which one was the snarky one, etc. I felt like their voices were too similar in many ways, and it distracted me from the events that were simultaneously unfolding. I also didn't find any of the Gloss girls all that exciting - individually they are all very hard to fully love or fully hate, which puts them in that dreaded lukewarm category for me. I did think that Sloan did a fantastic job with the setting, as I got a bit nostalgic with the singers that were mentioned, the costumes, videos, concerts, etc. Although while she did a spectacular job creating the pop scene from those years, it was missing the "nitty-gritty" of that lifestyle that Daisy Jones & The Six so vividly portrayed. I thought it all seemed a bit innocent, which disappointed me. All of the band members seemed to lose their way along the journey, but there was no hair-shaving Brittney kind of moments and even their struggles didn't really resonate with me. Ultimately my biggest disappointment was that the plot revolves around why Cassidy Holmes committed suicide, and in that regard, Sloan ends the book on a mysterious note, and I felt as if I had been left hanging. Some readers may appreciate that approach, but for me, inquiring minds want to know, and I was dissatisfied with the ending. All in all, though, Sloan has a great writing style, and this debut work kept my interest from page one, which is always a plus, and I do look forward to reading more of Sloan's work in the future. It was just missing a few much-needed elements to make it anything above a 3-star read for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    3.75 stars I had a good feeling going in I would like this book. I'm a big pop culture junkie and I was a young adult in the early 2000s. I remember this time period vividly and so this fictional story about the rise and fall of an all female music group was right up my alley. The author did a nice job capturing the nostalgia of that era's music scene while also highlighting how the industry is not particularly kind to young women. The story kicks off with letting you know the ending right from th 3.75 stars I had a good feeling going in I would like this book. I'm a big pop culture junkie and I was a young adult in the early 2000s. I remember this time period vividly and so this fictional story about the rise and fall of an all female music group was right up my alley. The author did a nice job capturing the nostalgia of that era's music scene while also highlighting how the industry is not particularly kind to young women. The story kicks off with letting you know the ending right from the start. Cassidy Holmes, a former member of the group, Gloss, has died. The story goes back to 1999 and leads you on Cassidy's journey as she experiences the rise to stardom as well as the price of fame with the group. You also get glimpses into the lives of the surviving members, Merry, Rose, and Yumi, after finding out the news of Cassidy's death. I appreciated the attention to details in the story, whether it be something simple like name-dropping Kitson, or a minor subplot that brought Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes to mind. And while the book on a surface level has a bit of a VH1 Behind the Music type feel, there's substance as well. The timing of me reading this book was interesting as some of the pop stars and actresses of the early 2000s have been making the news in recent days. It's like it just now dawned on the masses that the treatment of young female celebrities by both the media and the general public was gross and unfair. (I have other words I'd like to use but I'll keep this review family friendly) This book wasn't a perfect read as the pace was slow at times but it was a worthwhile one for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Geissler

    HOLY. SHIT. This book was GOOD. When I heard about The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes on Book of the Month (BOTM), it was advertised towards fans of Daisy Jones and the Six and targeted around the early 2000's. The first line on the back of the book description was: "She is "Sassy Gloss", the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty" and that got me hooked. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes follows the HOLY. SHIT. This book was GOOD. When I heard about The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes on Book of the Month (BOTM), it was advertised towards fans of Daisy Jones and the Six and targeted around the early 2000's. The first line on the back of the book description was: "She is "Sassy Gloss", the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty" and that got me hooked. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes follows the story of early 2000's all-girl band (very similar to the Spice Girls), called Gloss. There are four members of this group: Rose, Merry (Meredith), Yumi, and Cassidy. All four girls literally have names that remind of of the Spice Girls names (Cherry, Tasty, Sassy, and Rosy). The book starts off with the suicide of former Gloss member Cassidy in 2017 and then alternates between Cassidy's POV in the 2000's and then present day POV of the other members. I was engrossed in this story from the very first page. I do love me some early 2000's nostalgia, but I also enjoyed the author's writings of the Hollywood scene, and all the secrets and lies that truly build up our celebrity network. This book deals with a lot of intense topics, and is handled in a delicate yet realistic of the times way. There are trigger warnings for abuse, sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicide. The girls of Gloss had a pretty bad break up (don't all girl bands?) and they all lost touch, so when the news of Cassidy's suicide hit, they were all surprised and taken back stating; "no, not Cassidy!" Little did they know of the pain and secrets that Cassidy was hiding since her Gloss days. As we go through the story, we are given a first-hand look into Cassidy's rise to Stardom. We see her change in many different ways, not always good, to fit Hollywood's image, and we see her success climb. Every single character in this book was addicting, even the less than likable ones. Just like when I read Daisy Jones and the Six, I had to physically remind myself several times that Gloss is not a real band. That is how realistic the writing and description of the events and scenes were. Hollywood is dirty now, and was dirty back then. Women were sexualized, still are, and we see how Cassidy tries to learn how to handle that, despite wanting to be more than just a pretty face. This book also raises conversation around the #MeToo movement, and even though it has gained popularity now, it was still occurring even back in the early 2000's. (I sometimes think we forget that because we are so fixated on the nostalgia of things, we bat an eye at the negative).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Piquis

    A great book that kept me entertained for hours! This book felt so realistic that I had to keep reminding myself that it's a fictional book about a fictional band and that googling some Gloss songs were not going to return any results 😬. Very well written and perfect for a weekend read. A great book that kept me entertained for hours! This book felt so realistic that I had to keep reminding myself that it's a fictional book about a fictional band and that googling some Gloss songs were not going to return any results 😬. Very well written and perfect for a weekend read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)

    4 Stars "How do you live knowing the real version of yourself, while every other person in the world thinks they know a different version of you? Can the fake persona eat your real self, mimic so many of your truths that her falsehoods become your reality?"- The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes. REVIEW: This was my August 2020 Book of the Month pick. This book follows Cassidy Holmes who is one of the four members of the girl group Gloss. After years of music, drama, and success, the group fell apart 4 Stars "How do you live knowing the real version of yourself, while every other person in the world thinks they know a different version of you? Can the fake persona eat your real self, mimic so many of your truths that her falsehoods become your reality?"- The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes. REVIEW: This was my August 2020 Book of the Month pick. This book follows Cassidy Holmes who is one of the four members of the girl group Gloss. After years of music, drama, and success, the group fell apart in 2002. The members went their separate ways until recently when they learned that Cassidy has passed away from suicide. Cassidy's suicide shocked the remaining members of the group and they each wonder what they could have done to help her. The book follows each of the girl's experiences within the group, the dark sides of celebrity and the industry, and their individual relationships with Cassidy. Overall I really liked this book. It was a long read, but I felt that I was able to ger through it quickly. I do agree with some of the other reviews that state it is a little slow in the beginning, but once you get into it, the story picks up. I was young in the early 2000s but this story did bring back so much nostalgia for me and I loved reminiscing about it. I also loved that we followed the entire girl group and got to see from each of their perspectives. I think that this gave a better idea of the overall story rather than if we just saw from a sole perspective. I think this is an excellent debut and I am excited to see what the author puts out next. See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram SYNOPSIS: Cassidy Holmes isn't just a celebrity. She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn't get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her. But now she's dead. Suicide. The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done? **August 2020 Book of the Month Pick**

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    I...think I hated this one? Would have been an easy DNF but I felt obligated to read all the way through since I purchased through BOTM. I agree with some other reviews that the writing was definitely more on a YA level and had I known that, I probably would not have picked it up. This book is ridiculously long and yet it feels like not much happens....at the same time, there were parts where I thought more needed to be said because I was struggling to read between the lines. The characters and I...think I hated this one? Would have been an easy DNF but I felt obligated to read all the way through since I purchased through BOTM. I agree with some other reviews that the writing was definitely more on a YA level and had I known that, I probably would not have picked it up. This book is ridiculously long and yet it feels like not much happens....at the same time, there were parts where I thought more needed to be said because I was struggling to read between the lines. The characters and plot are extremely unrealistic to me, it felt like a teenager's idea of what Hollywood and fame are like. There was a recurring theme of the plot going from one point to another and the author not doing enough to make that transition realistic and believable. This is especially true for the main character, Cassidy, who we follow meticulously through 2 to 3 years of her life; yet there's a giant gap between that time and when she dies, and it felt like a bridge was missing. Additionally, for a book that is supposedly about the darker side of fame (a claim that originally drew me in), the darker elements feel watered down and again, more characteristic of a story for a younger audience. Obviously would not recommend at all.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    3.5 stars. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes , Elissa R. Sloan's debut novel, chronicles the highs and lows of an early-aughts pop group. In the early 2000s, Gloss was the most popular music group around. The four female members—known as Sassy, Rosy, Tasty, and Cherry (or Cassy, Rose, Yumi, and Merry)—were always in the public eye. But by 2002 it was all over. The group went their own ways, and despite how close they all were, Cassidy in particular lost touch with all of them. Years later, as Ro 3.5 stars. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes , Elissa R. Sloan's debut novel, chronicles the highs and lows of an early-aughts pop group. In the early 2000s, Gloss was the most popular music group around. The four female members—known as Sassy, Rosy, Tasty, and Cherry (or Cassy, Rose, Yumi, and Merry)—were always in the public eye. But by 2002 it was all over. The group went their own ways, and despite how close they all were, Cassidy in particular lost touch with all of them. Years later, as Rose, Yumi, and Merry ride a slight wave of nostalgia around Gloss, they get shocking news—Cassidy has died. Suicide. How could this have happened? Should they have kept better track of her, tried to maintain a relationship with her despite the circumstances? Each woman wracks their brain to see where they could have let her down. Shifting in perspective from the late 1990s to the present, narrated by all four girls, the book chronicles the joy, sadness, and secrets of the group, and looks at how easily things can go awry. It’s also a hard look at triggers like eating disorders, addiction, depression, and abuse. I really wanted to love this one, as it certainly had some similarities to one of my favorite books of 2019, Daisy Jones and the Six . I enjoyed the overall thrust of the story. But while I found it all interesting, the story took a long time to unfold, and I never felt as if we had the complete picture of any of the characters, not even Cassidy. And while there’s always a villain in books, I found one character just so ridiculously odious for someone who was so young. Still, if you love the whole “Behind the Music” kind of thing, you may enjoy this one. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Garner

    Given my score, it’s apparent I wasn’t a fan, but I’ll start with some positives before I get into why I didn’t like the novel. Sloan’s debut novel is about an aspiring pop star, Cassidy Holmes, being burst into fame after being on a American Idol-esque reality show, and then subsequently joining a group of girls to become known as Gloss. It flips back and forth between the rise and fall of her career, and the present, after Cassidy has committed suicide for unknown reasons. Being Sloan’s first n Given my score, it’s apparent I wasn’t a fan, but I’ll start with some positives before I get into why I didn’t like the novel. Sloan’s debut novel is about an aspiring pop star, Cassidy Holmes, being burst into fame after being on a American Idol-esque reality show, and then subsequently joining a group of girls to become known as Gloss. It flips back and forth between the rise and fall of her career, and the present, after Cassidy has committed suicide for unknown reasons. Being Sloan’s first novel, her writing was very engaging making it easy to devour chapter after chapter. I never felt bored with the novel, and the characters and fake pop world were well crafted. What I did have a problem with, however, was mostly everything else. Obviously this is a novel about Cassidy, so it’s understandable that she got the most page time. It was a shame though, that there were three other members of Gloss and a handful of side characters, big and small, that definitely got the short end of the stick, despite being a lot more intriguing than our titular character. Making this worse, when the novel would flip to the present, the novel relied on you caring about the surviving members of Gloss to push the narrative, but since it never really bothered to develop them beyond the stereotypes the characters fought against, it was hard to really connect with anything that was happening within those chapters. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is being pushed as a darker look at the pop world, and even comes with a trigger warning at the front of the book. As someone who likes to read authors like Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, I was preparing myself for some heartbreaking and horrendous scenes, but the more ‘disturbing’ parts didn’t have quite the impact I was preparing for. To really get the reader to feel the despair she wanted for Cassidy, I really wanted to get into the grit and grime of her world. This isn’t to say the abuse she endured isn’t terrible, of course it is, but it just didn’t go as far as I was expecting. This wasn’t a terrible book, and there is certainly an audience out there for the story told here, it just wasn’t for me. Sloan’s writing was engaging enough for me to give her another shot if she writes a second novel, but for this one I have a hard time recommending it. If you are looking for something that’s a stepping stone between young adult and contemporary fiction, this might be a good place to start though.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cammie

    The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes follows the rise and fall of the teen girl group Gloss, especially Sassy Cassy who is added to the quartet when one of the original members isn't able to remain with the group. Cassidy has made a name for herself on the singing competition show Sing It where she was the runner up. However, her life really starts to unspool from the moment she doesn't win the competition to Gloss and beyond. While her parents try to be supportive, there are four other children in The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes follows the rise and fall of the teen girl group Gloss, especially Sassy Cassy who is added to the quartet when one of the original members isn't able to remain with the group. Cassidy has made a name for herself on the singing competition show Sing It where she was the runner up. However, her life really starts to unspool from the moment she doesn't win the competition to Gloss and beyond. While her parents try to be supportive, there are four other children in the Holmes family so Cassidy is left to herself once she departs to join Gloss. Even among the group of girls, she is the outsider, often feeling left out or ignored. The tragic destruction of Cassidy was a slow build, but no one was there to guide her or the other girls when the intensity of their lives in the spotlight became too much. These teens were not prepared to deal with the dark side of fame, yet they were exposed to it just the same. I do wish there were more details about Cassidy's death, but letting the reader speculate works too.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Started off so strong, but got progressively weaker as it went along.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dill Werner

    I'm proud to have been a sensitivity reader for this book. It was joyous to read, a book that took me back to my 90s youth, when TRL was big and pop stars set the trends. UNRAVELING really shows you what happens behind the curtains, who's pulling the strings, and all the secrets no one wants to admit. I'm proud to have been a sensitivity reader for this book. It was joyous to read, a book that took me back to my 90s youth, when TRL was big and pop stars set the trends. UNRAVELING really shows you what happens behind the curtains, who's pulling the strings, and all the secrets no one wants to admit.

  19. 5 out of 5

    TL

    Won via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my own:). ---- This one was fun:). It showed the dark side of fame and how everything isn't always and rosy and golden behind the scenes, professionally and personally. The fake celebrities in this felt so real, it was easy to forget they only existed on the pages. There were times where I wanted to smack/drop kick/shake someone in here. I do wish (view spoiler)[more time had been spent on the Cassidy/Rose 🌹 relationship angle. I can see where those f Won via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my own:). ---- This one was fun:). It showed the dark side of fame and how everything isn't always and rosy and golden behind the scenes, professionally and personally. The fake celebrities in this felt so real, it was easy to forget they only existed on the pages. There were times where I wanted to smack/drop kick/shake someone in here. I do wish (view spoiler)[more time had been spent on the Cassidy/Rose 🌹 relationship angle. I can see where those feelings would develop but it felt underwritten in some ways. (hide spoiler)] Merry's daughters' plotline was part interesting and part head scratching. One part in particular seemed out of place especially (view spoiler)[her trying to blackmail Rose for info on her dad (hide spoiler)] Maybe this has happened in real life but here it didn't quite fit. Rose, went back and forth.. sometimes I liked her and other times I just wanted to HulkRoar at her. She made it hard to feel sorry for her at times. Merry and Yumi were my favorites out of the other three. It was interesting to see each of them interacting with Cassie and seeing how each thought they knew her well the most and how Cassie thought of them. (I had a brief thought maybe Cassie was an empath but might be just me)). Cassie.. I just wanted to wrap her up and take her away from everything. Her whole person was done very well and tugged st my heartstrings. There were a few things I wanted to see more of when the book ended (view spoiler)[Rose's reaction to Yumi getting the show, Cassie's full letter to Rose, Merry calling out Decker and Stephen St James getting what he deserved. I can sort of see how some of this would have played out and I was smiling a bit haha. (hide spoiler)] but overall this was a good read for this bookworm:). Would recommend!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Cassidy Holmes is ‘Sassy Gloss’.... ...the fourth member of the hottest pop group in America. After a falling out with the group in which Cassidy was the main focus... she has committed suicide. Fifteen years ago, the three members of the group - Rose, Merry, and Yumi - were considered Cassidy’s closest friends. Each of the girls are shocked to learn about Cassidy’s death. They each wonder what they might have done differently- so Cassidy might not have taken her own life. The story is told in mul Cassidy Holmes is ‘Sassy Gloss’.... ...the fourth member of the hottest pop group in America. After a falling out with the group in which Cassidy was the main focus... she has committed suicide. Fifteen years ago, the three members of the group - Rose, Merry, and Yumi - were considered Cassidy’s closest friends. Each of the girls are shocked to learn about Cassidy’s death. They each wonder what they might have done differently- so Cassidy might not have taken her own life. The story is told in multiple perspectives— including Cassidy through different timelines. We get an inside look into the pop-icon world ... recordings, broadcastings, performing, anxieties about the tabloids, invitations to the Oscars, clothes, dieting, parties, the expensive lifestyle, drinking, drugs, secrets, lovers, and other challenges, stress, obligations, and expectationsthat come along with fame. Cassidy says: “Coming off stage, you’re aware of only a few things before the rest of the world starts returning. The bright lights has blinded you, and as the green cast fades from your vision, you see the ropes and pulleys, the unevenness in the floors, The crewmembers hiding in all- black outfits as they do their jobs. Moreover, your body feels as though it’s been infused with starlight, and the light leaks from your limbs and hands and eyes and mouth and little pinpricks, so if someone were looking directly at you, they’d see a constellation coming out of a silhouette. Slowly, you realize that the heat emanating from your body is the heat of the stage lights that has been absorbed into your hair and the dampness between your skin and your polyester outfit; the sharp pain in your pinky toes as your feet pinch downward in those uncomfortable stage shoes. Scent returns last; the air suddenly, inexplicably, creates a singed taste in the back of your throat, and everything smells a little bit cardboard and melted plastic. You become aware of your face, contorted in a giant smile, so tense that it’s not just your mouth that is spread wide, but your eyebrows and ears are tense too”. Early in the novel we get glimpses of Cassidy’s fragility. Whether you think this book is about the music industry, or a troubled girl ...( it’s both by the way).... we come to see, in the end, that the complexity of damaged souls are often misunderstood. Harsh lessons are learn. What was most heartbreaking to me ... was realizing that lack of communication - doesn’t signify lack of love. Love was infused with a deep appreciation for the hidden thorny troubles causing distress. There is humor, charm, and wit...but also quiet hurting mixed with assumptions about the truth. Author Elissa R. Sloan ( Texas-native-Japanese- American) - did a great job with this debut novel. She understands the depths and layers - of broken souls. She’s a wonderful young - newbie storyteller. I’ll be interested to read her second book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    Sometimes easy reads break your heart. TLDR Tropes - "idol" deconstruction - Characters dealing with trauma - Sapphic - Character study - Multi POV/Multi timeline Cassidy Holmes was one of four in a pop idol group akin to an alternative universe US Spice Girls, Gloss. She was Sassy Gloss, the darling, and she had it all until she unexpectedly quit her music career and retreated into obscurity. She is found dead by suicide years later, leaving her former bandmates only to speculate on her passing. did Sometimes easy reads break your heart. TLDR Tropes - "idol" deconstruction - Characters dealing with trauma - Sapphic - Character study - Multi POV/Multi timeline Cassidy Holmes was one of four in a pop idol group akin to an alternative universe US Spice Girls, Gloss. She was Sassy Gloss, the darling, and she had it all until she unexpectedly quit her music career and retreated into obscurity. She is found dead by suicide years later, leaving her former bandmates only to speculate on her passing. did something drive Cassidy to suicide? Was it something else? What really happened all those years ago? So if you are thinking Daisy Jones and the Six, you aren't far off- and Elissa Sloan's writing style absolutely captures the magic of perhaps a warmer Jones story. When you start this book, you are thrown into the heads of a group of woman who all believed they knew Cassidy better than anyone- but as you get into Cassidy's perspective, you come to realize just how little anyone knew her. I found myself bargaining a lot in this book the more I got to know her myself. "What is she's not really dead', "what if someone murdered her", because getting to know someone after they die in such an intimate way apparently does that to a person. As you read, Cassidy's warmest and darkest experiences as a pop idol paint a picture of her life that is all too familiar to anyone who has ever read a tabloid or heard a celebrity speak out against one. To be frank, it's easy to feel yourself as a reader empathize with Cassidy so much that you start to become a little paranoid. One other element of Cassidy Holmes that was particularly interesting to me was the study of racism and sexism in the music industry- from the back stage deals to the way young women (and particularly LGBT/ women of color) are marketed in the media. those little details are peppered all over the book in a way that further reveals layers of grey morality within these characters you grow to love. As the girls navigate a hierarchy built on privilege, each girl takes different, often selfish and detrimental actions to protect themselves from industry abuse. The other ladies also have fascinating lives. Originally characterized by how they are viewed by each other, each member of Gloss begins to reveal themselves- their warmth, and their pain. It's a reminder that perception is everything, and that outside perception doesn't define who a person is- as your own biases and assumptions about the girls start to shatter and wash away. The entire cast of characters is so in your face likable, down to the background and side characters, who shine with heart orbiting and impacting this girl group. The folks who hurt them- you want to strangle them. The folks that lift them up are hard not to love. The journey felt very real to me, and easy to apply to real life. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes is a reminder that we don't know someone's story, and that our judgement of them can only extend as far as we try to understand them. It was part literary fiction, part contemporary Idol deconstruction with sort of a "YA" structure (in that it's an easy and welcoming read). If you loved Daisy Jones, this is absolutely the hangover book you've been looking for. If You just need a strong contemporary, you will find it here as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Monte Price

    When I started the book I wasn't sure that I ultimately was going to enjoy it as much as I did. In the a lot of the early chapters some the character voices started to sound very similar and were hard for me to parse where I was in the narrative. As time went on though and we lived through the rise of Gloss and the aftermath of Cassidy's suicide the characters became clearer to me. What unfolded was a masterpiece in slow, deliberate storytelling that was quiet in all the best ways. Ultimately I When I started the book I wasn't sure that I ultimately was going to enjoy it as much as I did. In the a lot of the early chapters some the character voices started to sound very similar and were hard for me to parse where I was in the narrative. As time went on though and we lived through the rise of Gloss and the aftermath of Cassidy's suicide the characters became clearer to me. What unfolded was a masterpiece in slow, deliberate storytelling that was quiet in all the best ways. Ultimately I think the book is less invested in telling the why of a thing happened, simply that the thing happened and these are the players in the story, and for me, that was enough. Just as the story being not as messy and more focused on character and less on plot was enough for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Landers

    This book didn't do it for me. I thought it would be a lot more interesting and the description promised a lot, but I felt let down. It also reads like a young adult novel which I wasn't aware of going in. I thought the plot would be interesting but felt that the timeline and the style of writing didn't do it justice. The book is also long which is weird because it feels like it doesn't cover a lot so I think a lot could have been cut away. Themes and plot lines never really felt flushed out and This book didn't do it for me. I thought it would be a lot more interesting and the description promised a lot, but I felt let down. It also reads like a young adult novel which I wasn't aware of going in. I thought the plot would be interesting but felt that the timeline and the style of writing didn't do it justice. The book is also long which is weird because it feels like it doesn't cover a lot so I think a lot could have been cut away. Themes and plot lines never really felt flushed out and it just felt relatively juvenile to me. A really easy read but it left me disappointed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christina Cook

    This is one of my favorite books I have read this year. I was totally engrossed from the first chapter. I actually tried to slow down reading this because I was not ready for this story to end. I am 32 years old and grew up obsessed with the Spice Girls (they were my first concert). It reminded me a lot of that era. The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that I wish it were longer (and it was 400 pages). I just wanted this story to go on and on. I LOVED this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hillary Dunn

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, but when a book starts out with a trigger warning you think it is going to be super gritty and it just never got there for me. All of the darkness I expected just seemed a little watered down. Also, I thought Jerry was going to be more integral to the story and then nothing ever happened with him!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joshie Nicole readwithjoshie

    Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Famous girl group “Gloss” consisting of Yumi (Yummy), Merry (Cherry), Rose (Rosy) and Cassidy (Sassy) is rocketed to stardom in the height of baby boom pop at the tail end of the 90s. As the famous saying goes, the higher you climb the harder you fall, and it’s no different for the Glossies. Cassidy decides to leave the group on the eve of a massive international tour. Fifteen years later, Ca Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Famous girl group “Gloss” consisting of Yumi (Yummy), Merry (Cherry), Rose (Rosy) and Cassidy (Sassy) is rocketed to stardom in the height of baby boom pop at the tail end of the 90s. As the famous saying goes, the higher you climb the harder you fall, and it’s no different for the Glossies. Cassidy decides to leave the group on the eve of a massive international tour. Fifteen years later, Cassidy is dead. Suicide. The three remaining members of the group are reeling and re-examining their respective relationships with Cassidy from when they last saw her. Was it really a suicide? What secrets was Cassidy hiding? Could those secrets bring down the remaining Glossies? What I liked: the novel provided an insightful look at what overnight stardom can do to an individual’s life, their perception of themselves, and their relationships with the people closest to them. The fake celebrities were well-rendered and seemed realistic enough; take any one of them and plop them into the real 1990s and they would have fit in with the culture and climate of the time period. Told in different perspectives, including Cassidy’s, the reader gets time with each of the Gloss members, learning their motivations and internal conflicts, which went in unexpected directions for the most part. What I disliked: I thought the plot contained elements that seemed to be overreaching. Even unrealistic. Merry’s daughter, Soleil, was petty and whiny, and her dialogue, actions, and motivations seemed forced; her entire plot line really put me off. Two of the main characters develop an intimate same-sex relationship which seems to come out of nowhere; one of them was consistently awful to the other for the entire novel, and then all of a sudden they are all over each other. It didn’t fit for me and I needed more development for it to come to life in a way that I believed. Also, I just wasn’t rooting for a single character. At the end, I think the author wants us to remember Cassidy for who she was pre-fame, but she kind of sucked once she became famous and as a result was totally unsympathetic. Ultimately, the book fell a bit flat. Read it if you liked Daisy Jones & the Six, (but do not go in expecting the same level of TJR magic) pop star nostalgia (think American Idol meets Spice Girls), and if you like plots told from multiple perspectives and jumps in time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Bookish

    I loved a lot of things about this book, but the ending just felt really unsatisfying.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beca ☾

    This was a BOTM pick that I'm just now getting to, and I really enjoyed this one! I'm a sucker for books involving band drama, so of course this was a must-read for me! And it didn’t disappoint - I was totally engrossed from the first chapter. It felt realistic and had a Spice Girls era vibe! The ending was not what I was expecting, but I had to remind myself this was Cassidy’s story not all the Gloss Girls. Very well written, and a quick weekend read! This was a BOTM pick that I'm just now getting to, and I really enjoyed this one! I'm a sucker for books involving band drama, so of course this was a must-read for me! And it didn’t disappoint - I was totally engrossed from the first chapter. It felt realistic and had a Spice Girls era vibe! The ending was not what I was expecting, but I had to remind myself this was Cassidy’s story not all the Gloss Girls. Very well written, and a quick weekend read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nev

    This was an entertaining read about the rise and fall of a pop girl group in the early 2000s. In the sections of the book in the past we follow Cassidy in her overwhelming time as a member of Gloss. Then in 2017 the book follows the other members of the group as they are learning about Cassidy’s unexpected suicide. I think that the book touched on a lot of important topics, such as mental health, eating disorders, abusive relationships, sexual assault, racism, and stalking. However, the actual w This was an entertaining read about the rise and fall of a pop girl group in the early 2000s. In the sections of the book in the past we follow Cassidy in her overwhelming time as a member of Gloss. Then in 2017 the book follows the other members of the group as they are learning about Cassidy’s unexpected suicide. I think that the book touched on a lot of important topics, such as mental health, eating disorders, abusive relationships, sexual assault, racism, and stalking. However, the actual writing of the book wasn’t the strongest. I don’t think that it was bad or anything. Just that there wasn’t enough of a difference between the voices of the characters. I would sometimes get lost as to which POV I was reading from because they were all in 1st person and they all sounded the same. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes was a nice way to spend a couple of hours even if it didn’t totally deliver on all fronts.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    A really enjoyable but ultimately simple tale of fame and its effect, specifically on a teen girl group. The book seems to want to raise specific hot topic issues but it never really dove very deep and despite a feeling of being in depth, never dove very deep under the surface. The lead isn't very likable and once the end came it was hard to honestly care about her. It to its credit doesn't paint her as a amazing charcater but I feel the book needed to push further. The other girls aren't develo A really enjoyable but ultimately simple tale of fame and its effect, specifically on a teen girl group. The book seems to want to raise specific hot topic issues but it never really dove very deep and despite a feeling of being in depth, never dove very deep under the surface. The lead isn't very likable and once the end came it was hard to honestly care about her. It to its credit doesn't paint her as a amazing charcater but I feel the book needed to push further. The other girls aren't developed really at all, and the book ended just when it started to dig a little deeper into charcater. I did appreciate having some flawed charcaters but as a concept it just felt basic. Entertains enough, especially for 90s early 2000s but could have been much stronger.

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