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The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade. Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade. Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this. Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head. One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will? From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.


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The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade. Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of #metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade. Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this. Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head. One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will? From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.

30 review for Off the Record

  1. 4 out of 5

    Camryn

    This is probably the most personal book I've written so far. There's so much of myself in Josie, and I hope you all love her the way I do. Trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. This is probably the most personal book I've written so far. There's so much of myself in Josie, and I hope you all love her the way I do. Trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    wait no how did i miss the cover drop i am so deeply stupid. excited as hell for this<3

  3. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    Oof, I feel pulled in a lot of directions right now, and hope I manage to do an okay job at explaining my thoughts with this one. But I think, not unlike another contemporary I've read this year (likely more than one, actually..) the main issues I had with OFF THE RECORD is that I think it's just trying to do too many things. While reading this book I had actually forgotten what the main plot point was going to be because I felt like it just took too long to get there. Which naturally made the ca Oof, I feel pulled in a lot of directions right now, and hope I manage to do an okay job at explaining my thoughts with this one. But I think, not unlike another contemporary I've read this year (likely more than one, actually..) the main issues I had with OFF THE RECORD is that I think it's just trying to do too many things. While reading this book I had actually forgotten what the main plot point was going to be because I felt like it just took too long to get there. Which naturally made the catch-up, the acceleration of it all, that much more.. frantic. Balancing this whirlwind adventure after having won a write-in contest to interview an upcoming actor, catching feels, making friends, battling anxiety, body issues, slowly realizing said friends had experienced something terrible, being convinced to write about it in addition to the profile on the actor, have a romance, bond with a sister.. there are a lot of spinning plates. In addition to all that, there's also some good discourse over separating art from artists, which is something I know we all struggle with; more and more each day. I don't necessarily think anything beyond the romance really suffered for being rushed (Marius was such a soft lovely human but to be honest I wasn't really convinced by the connection) but there's also the suspension of disbelief over how quickly all the pieces fell into place for the big climax. Sadly I also don't think I liked any of the characters. No one was awful beyond the villain of the piece (though the main sister dynamic was tough for the majority of the story) but I was reading for the story, even oddly paced as it was, more than the characters. I'm not sure why I didn't like anyone; not even Marcus, despite his soft loveliness -- but I definitely felt for them. Josie's anxiety overwhelming her, the mixed feelings about her weight and acceptance of her body, I could connect so well to both. But there was just.. something. I can't put my finger on it. The subject matter of this story is very relevant and important -- and, of course, trigger warnings surround the whole issue so please be conscious of that -- and despite my mixed overall feelings I definitely recommend people still pick this up. Also, as always, you should take my review and my rating with a grain of salt. Though none of my criticisms touch on anything non-plot specific, please prioritize #ownvoice reviews over my own. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  4. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Camryn has done it again: she's written a spectacular and provocative story that just shines with its earnestness, sharpness, and astute teen voice. Off the Record is bloody amazing and will effortlessly be one of my top reads of 2021. - Follows Josie, a Black bisexual teen journalist who wins a competition and wins the opportunity to write a celebrity profile and follow the cast of an upcoming movie on their tour. But when Josie discovers a terrible secret and more women come forward with a simi Camryn has done it again: she's written a spectacular and provocative story that just shines with its earnestness, sharpness, and astute teen voice. Off the Record is bloody amazing and will effortlessly be one of my top reads of 2021. - Follows Josie, a Black bisexual teen journalist who wins a competition and wins the opportunity to write a celebrity profile and follow the cast of an upcoming movie on their tour. But when Josie discovers a terrible secret and more women come forward with a similar story, Josie will have to find her courage and voice to bring justice. - I am so in love with how Camryn writes teen/younger characters. I love Josie's narrative voice; I loved that she didn't always know the answers, she asks questions, she navigates new territory. There's a vulnerability in Josie, which is what makes her such an engaging narrator. - And I think a big reason why I loved Josie's voice so much was just how wonderfully the story captures so many parts of her life - her feelings of doubt, her feelings about being Black and fat, her anxiety, her romance - in a way that feels effortless, intrinsic, and natural. That's no easy feat but Camryn pulls it off. - This book tackles the intersection of power and sexual violence in Hollywood, perfect for readers interested in reading a story that explores everything that came with the #MeToo movement. - The relationships in this book are wonderful. From the complex yet loving parental relationships, to the nuanced sisterly relationship, to the tentative friendships that Josie forms, and also the romance she has with a budding actor. - I'm in awe of this book. It's just so brilliant and timely and profound. I just love this book so much. Content warning: discussions and explicit recount of sexual assault and sexual harrassment, anti-fat microaggressions (challenged), racist microaggressions (challenged)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    Off the Record by Camryn Garrett follows Josie Wright who is jetted off on a press tour to interview up-and-coming actor, Marius Canet, after winning a prestigious journalism award. However, on the press tour, a young actress confides in Josie that she was sexually assaulted by a well-known and well-loved director. Josie wants to help take down this director but she quickly feels like she’s in over her head, and will it end her journalism career before she’s even got to start it? This is an extre Off the Record by Camryn Garrett follows Josie Wright who is jetted off on a press tour to interview up-and-coming actor, Marius Canet, after winning a prestigious journalism award. However, on the press tour, a young actress confides in Josie that she was sexually assaulted by a well-known and well-loved director. Josie wants to help take down this director but she quickly feels like she’s in over her head, and will it end her journalism career before she’s even got to start it? This is an extremely important book for a myriad of reasons. The main character, Josie, is a fat, Black bisexual teen and all of these facets of her as a person are all equally celebrated in the book. We see Josie struggle with the – often well-meaning – fatphobic microaggressions from her friends and family, but we also see her celebrate and love her fatness, which is wonderful to see. She talks about how all of the fad-diets are exactly that – fads – and how easy it is to celebrate being fat online and on social media in general, but when it comes to real life and your faced with other people’s overt fatphobia, it’s a lot more difficult. I think for all the ways that Camryn Garrett discussed the experience of being fat in this book was so needed and it truly resonated with me – it’s definitely up there with some of the best fat representation I’ve ever read! Furthermore, both Josie and the love interest in the book are bisexual, and it’s mentioned on page. We see Josie talk about how cute she finds male, female and nonbinary people, and the love interest gushes about his ex-boyfriend, too. This type of explicit bi representation is so heartening to see, when so many YA contemporaries brush over it by instead saying that the character ‘likes boys/girls’, is gay or queer, or just implies it otherwise. Aside from these parts of her, we really get to see Josie’s passion and drive for what she does. She is clearly a talented journalist and is proud about that. We also see her ambition of getting into her dream historically Black college that so many members of her family also went to. Speaking of family, there are definitely some complex, and often times complicated, family dynamics in this book, but there is also so much love for family and the role it plays in Josie’s life. We also see her dealing with failings and things not quite going her way but realising that some things don’t work out but it’ everything turns out well at the end, which I know will be truly heartening for so many teens to read. The relationship at the heart of this book was so, so sweet and healthy and it was truly a joy to read among the tougher topics tackled in the book. As you start reading the book, you get a hint of who Josie is interested in and seeing that flourish and grow was lovely! Josie’s new friendships throughout the book also added to the calmer, sweeter aspects of the book and I still adore seeing strong female friendships in YA contemporary after years of seeing so much girl hate. As for the main topic tackled in the book, sexual assault and the #metoo movement were handled so well and so sensitively. It’s a topic that has been really prevalent recently and I think that talking about it in a YA contemporary is so important. Two particular discussion points brought up in the book really resonated with me, the first is related to Josie’s own experiences. When she is in middle school she is sexually assaulted by a classmate, but she and other adults write it off as just ‘boys being boys’ and not so serious because of her age. Seeing her come to realise that, actually, that was a big deal and it was sexual assault was really cathartic for me to read, as someone who went through something similar. Another aspect that I found really important to read was the discussion of male sexual assault victims. A lot of the time when this subject is touched upon, it is brought up almost as a ‘gotcha’ when women and nonbinary people are talking about their experiences, but it was the complete opposite in this book. The male character in question is very respectful of these women coming forward and his experience is not treated in a way that feels insensitive, and I really appreciated that. Overall, this was a really great book that I cannot recommend enough. It does tackle some sensitive topics, so I recommend being aware of the trigger warnings for sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape, as well as being in the right mindset before picking this one up, if you do think that it is for you. It’s such a powerful read that still has its sweet and heart-warming moments, and it’s a real shining star among recent contemporary YA releases. Thanks to Netgalley, Random House, and TBR and Beyond Tours for an eARC in return for an honest review! Want more sapphic books? You can find me here: Book Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Reads and Sleeps

    I think this was phenomenal. Full RTC.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ivy♡

    off the record is out in the world now !! thank you so much to tbr and beyond tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of off the record in exchange for an honest review ! content warnings: sexual assault, sexual harassment. representation: fat, anxious & bisexual black protagonist, bisexual black love interest, side black characters, side latina character, side minor korean-american character. to read the full review, click here to be directed to my blog post ! off the record is out in the world now !! thank you so much to tbr and beyond tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of off the record in exchange for an honest review ! content warnings: sexual assault, sexual harassment. representation: fat, anxious & bisexual black protagonist, bisexual black love interest, side black characters, side latina character, side minor korean-american character. to read the full review, click here to be directed to my blog post !

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    Powerful, painful and utterly addictive. This was superb. TW: mentions of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault and fatphobia.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    I read an early draft of this! Camryn Garrett is a force to be reckon with y'all and absolutely everything she writes is spectacular. This one specifically is SO special. Just wait until you meet these characters and fall in love like I did - I know you will. It's impossible not to. I read an early draft of this! Camryn Garrett is a force to be reckon with y'all and absolutely everything she writes is spectacular. This one specifically is SO special. Just wait until you meet these characters and fall in love like I did - I know you will. It's impossible not to.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    Is there anything better than a group of women teaming up to write an expose of their abuser? Yes, a story where that effort is spearheaded by a fat bisexual Black girl and delves into the "open secrets" in the film industry about abusive directors, discussions on the line between "problematic fave" and stanning someone who's actively harmful, and discussions on well-intentioned fatphobia. I felt so seen by Josie's descriptions, feelings, and fears about her weight. I wasn't the biggest fan of F Is there anything better than a group of women teaming up to write an expose of their abuser? Yes, a story where that effort is spearheaded by a fat bisexual Black girl and delves into the "open secrets" in the film industry about abusive directors, discussions on the line between "problematic fave" and stanning someone who's actively harmful, and discussions on well-intentioned fatphobia. I felt so seen by Josie's descriptions, feelings, and fears about her weight. I wasn't the biggest fan of FULL DISCLOSURE but I loved this one so much!

  11. 5 out of 5

    bella

    content and trigger warnings: mentions of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, fatphobia, dieting, biphobia (mentioned) I have some mixed feelings about Off the Record, but overall it is a fast, engrossing, and important read. The things Camryn Garrett did well were excellent, and I truly appreciate her pouring so much of herself into this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for granting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The representation in content and trigger warnings: mentions of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault, fatphobia, dieting, biphobia (mentioned) I have some mixed feelings about Off the Record, but overall it is a fast, engrossing, and important read. The things Camryn Garrett did well were excellent, and I truly appreciate her pouring so much of herself into this book. Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for granting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The representation in this book is wonderfully done. The main character, Josie is a fat, Black bisexual teen who has anxiety and loves to write. It's easy to so see her passion for writing throughout the book, and to understand how much she truly loves and cares about what she does. Garrett makes it to feel how much she struggles with self-doubt about writing despite also knowing that it is a strength of hers, and her general experience with anxiety. Throughout the novel, Josie often has to deal with fatphobic comments from people around her (including friends and family members), but it also shows beautiful, joyous moments of her embracing and loving her body. I also love that both Josie and the love interest in the story are openly and explicitly stated on the page to be bisexual, because that is something I haven't seen often when reading YA (or most genres, really). I also think that Garrett handled the topic of sexual assault with great sensitivity and care, which I appreciate. Additionally, the book touched on the topics of complicated relationships with family, race, silent complicity, power dynamics in Hollywood, and more. While there were aspects of the book that I loved, I do think that there was too much going on. I love that Garrett wanted to address multiple important topics in the book and I don't want to detract from the importance of any of them, but the layers to the plot became overwhelming at times. With so much going on at once (the romance, Josie's impending graduation and college applications, the writing project, family issues, etc.), it sometimes felt like the overall plot got lost. There was too much crammed into the relatively short book, which make it feel rushed or lacking depth at times. Some of the plot points didn't get as much page time or development as they should have. This left me unsatisfied by the resolution of some of the plot lines, and I was jarred by the seemingly abrupt ending of the novel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    eli ♡

    Content and trigger warnings: graphic depiction of sexual assault, dieting, biophobia, anxiety/panic attacks, mentions of gaslighting and racism. *.·:·.☽✧ 2.7 stars ✧☾.·:·.* "Off The Record" tried to accomplish too many things, and lost not only its main focus in the process, but my interest in it as well. For 17-year-old Josie Wright, writing articles and pieces is her identity, and is the one thing that grounds her when her whole life is a mess. I was very interested in her home life because the Content and trigger warnings: graphic depiction of sexual assault, dieting, biophobia, anxiety/panic attacks, mentions of gaslighting and racism. *.·:·.☽✧ 2.7 stars ✧☾.·:·.* "Off The Record" tried to accomplish too many things, and lost not only its main focus in the process, but my interest in it as well. For 17-year-old Josie Wright, writing articles and pieces is her identity, and is the one thing that grounds her when her whole life is a mess. I was very interested in her home life because there are mentions of how her life at home is, and it seemed like there was such an intricate dynamic between Josie and her family. Because of her anxiety disorder, I feel as if Josie's view and judgement of her family was clouded, and I really wish that they could've talked about it. But sadly, this is one of the plot points that's forgotten. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she's immediately jetted off onto a multi-city tour with her sister Alice and becomes very fond of her celebrity profile subject, Marius Canet. Now while this seems like a dazzling world, she soon realizes a dark side of fame that she just can't ignore. But when she makes a commitment to shed light on this issue in an article and has to simultaneously write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she begins to recognize that she's in over her head. I mean, that would be an obvious realization to anyone who plans the logistics of this whole "plan". When Josie does complete the celebrity profile in one day, I found that completely unrealistic. I understand that this is a novel, and that she had the materials to do so before-hand, but that just didn't make sense to me. My main issue with this novel was the inconsistent plot points and focuses. I know that from the way I described the novel, it would seem clear what the main idea of this novel was, but it wasn't for me. Like, is this novel about ageism, image insecurity, and finding love through the mist of it all? Or is this about sister rivalry, the "Me Too" movement, and white feminism? Now, I'm not making this claim to discredit the importance of these topics. I just feel as if when these various topics were juggled around, they took away from Josie's character. And because of this, I couldn't absorb what she was thinking or try to find out who she was since I was trying to comprehend all the other things happening in the novel. While the plot was the main reason I disliked this noel, I still appreciated the various forms of representation throughout the novel. There was a fairly diverse cast of characters through the book that made me cheerful and somewhat content with the story. To be honest, the representation was the main reason that I even finished the novel. But to be frank, I'm just disappointed. I had fairly high expectations for this novel before reading it because I thoroughly enjoyed Garrett's debut YA novel "Full Disclosure", so I expected "Off The Record" to be better executed than it was. I didn't think the romance was necessary, and I wish that I could've learned more about Josie's character by herself than with Marius. Because of the issues I had with this novel, I sincerely doubt that I will read this again. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title! Blog Review | Review: "Off The Record" by Camryn Garrett - The Literary Log

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ritz

    Huge thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours, as well as the author and publisher for sending me an eARC of “Off the Record” in exchange for an honest review! This book was a roller coaster. I loved, loved, loved it. And I also have too many thoughts, but let’s try to write a review anyways. The book’s main character is 17 year old Josie Wright, an aspiring journalist. Josie was so interesting. I loved her. I loved everything. I loved reading about her journey of self-confidence. I loved Penny. I think some Huge thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours, as well as the author and publisher for sending me an eARC of “Off the Record” in exchange for an honest review! This book was a roller coaster. I loved, loved, loved it. And I also have too many thoughts, but let’s try to write a review anyways. The book’s main character is 17 year old Josie Wright, an aspiring journalist. Josie was so interesting. I loved her. I loved everything. I loved reading about her journey of self-confidence. I loved Penny. I think some people were annoyed with her, but I wasn’t. I think I understood what she was trying to say, and what she had to do. Marius was so sweet. I think at the beginning something about him rubbed me wrong that was stopped really quick. I learned to love him. I loved the writing style. Formal and crisp, yet I could believe that it was a teenager's perspective. I haven't read the author's other book, Full Disclosure yet, but I really want to, especially if the writing is this good. The anxiety representation was very well done. Josie says at the beginning of the story that she sees a therapist because of her anxiety. Josie tries to keep it under control by herself but that’s not how you get better, which she slowly learns. She realizes over the course of the novel that you can be emotional even if you have anxiety, you shouldn’t be ashamed because it’s something that a lot of people deal with too. Josie learns that she’s not alone in her mental illness. There were beautiful messages of self-love throughout the book. Josie mentions at the beginning of the book that she knows that she is fat. She is insecure about her body, like many people, but at the same time, she doesn’t want people to look at her a different way, which is understandable. But, something that stood out to me was that she told herself that she was beautiful and the realism of it was so amazing. She talks about her not being what people thought of when they thought of “beautiful“. She comes to terms with this throughout the book and I loved reading about her journey. Overall, this was amazing. _____________________________ So sweet and inspiring! Full review to come.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This was so, so good. Off the record examines a lot. Mostly centering around a high school student who suddenly finds herself in the middle of a series of sexual assault cases after she wins a contest to write a profile on a celebrity and instead finds a lot of women in the industry looking for someone to tell their stories, it also delves into her self image as a fat, Black, queer woman, her family dynamics, romance, and anxiety. I do think that because there was so much going on some of the plot This was so, so good. Off the record examines a lot. Mostly centering around a high school student who suddenly finds herself in the middle of a series of sexual assault cases after she wins a contest to write a profile on a celebrity and instead finds a lot of women in the industry looking for someone to tell their stories, it also delves into her self image as a fat, Black, queer woman, her family dynamics, romance, and anxiety. I do think that because there was so much going on some of the plot threads or themes being examined felt a tad underdeveloped but all in all, this was excellently well done.

  15. 5 out of 5

    caro(lee)na

    tw: sexual assault and sexual harassment this book follows Josie, a seventeen year old journalist who just won a prize to write an article about a movie coming out for a really famous magazine. along the way, she meets famous people and discovers everything is not what it seems, and ends up writing an article about it that could end her whole career. there was also a bit of romance that i enjoyed because even though it was a male/female relationship, both people were queer and poc. thank you to N tw: sexual assault and sexual harassment this book follows Josie, a seventeen year old journalist who just won a prize to write an article about a movie coming out for a really famous magazine. along the way, she meets famous people and discovers everything is not what it seems, and ends up writing an article about it that could end her whole career. there was also a bit of romance that i enjoyed because even though it was a male/female relationship, both people were queer and poc. thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    This book has a lot things going for it but also not enough is flash out. Best part for me is Josie as character and her development but ending was rushed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    I pre-ordered this based on how much I enjoyed Camryn Garrett’s first novel, Full Disclosure , and Off the Record didn’t disappoint. From beginning to end, Garrett catapults us into an adventure of racism, sexism, and the price of fame, all from the point of view of a teenager with social anxiety and a way with words. Josie is a journalist. She’s still in high school, but she has published articles for actual magazines, and now she has won a contest to do a cover profile of up-and-coming actor I pre-ordered this based on how much I enjoyed Camryn Garrett’s first novel, Full Disclosure , and Off the Record didn’t disappoint. From beginning to end, Garrett catapults us into an adventure of racism, sexism, and the price of fame, all from the point of view of a teenager with social anxiety and a way with words. Josie is a journalist. She’s still in high school, but she has published articles for actual magazines, and now she has won a contest to do a cover profile of up-and-coming actor Marius Canet. Josie is over the moon that she gets to accompany Marius and others on a press tour across the U.S. Like Marius, Josie is Black, but unlike him, she didn’t grow in France and isn’t used to the social atmosphere of a press tour. This is all a little much for her anxiety, not to mention the fact that she finds Marius … um … attractive. So at first, Josie struggles with this assignment—and then she finds out that she might have the opportunity to start a #MeToo moment against the powerful director of Marius’ next film. Josie has to decide: is she the one to write this story? Does she want to put that out in the world? Can she live with herself if she doesn’t? And what will this mean, for her barely-began career as a journalist and for her barely-explored feelings for Marius? Josie’s voice comes alive in this book and makes it so compelling. She is a smart and talented writer, and she’s dedicated too. I love the family dynamic that Garrett shows us: two loving but strict parents, older sisters who have a kid and are just starting in university, respectfully, a home to 3 generations. From this foundation, Garrett yanks us and Josie out of her comfort zone and into the world of the press junket. She saddles Josie with Alice, and we get a ringside seat to very real-feeling sister drama—Josie feels like Alice has copied her aspirations to go to Spelman College, and while we don’t get access to Alice’s perspective the way we do Josie’s, eventually we do learn more about how Alice feels about their bond and what has changed with Alice away. I admire how Garrett can weave all of these smaller subplots and character moments within the larger story. And what of the #MeToo-inspired plot? I’m going to talk about the ending and then work my way backwards, and I’ll keep it vague to avoid spoilers. But if you get disappointed in the ending, just remember that Garrett foreshadows it all the way back on page 193: “I want to believe happy endings can happen in real life,” I say. “I don’t know. Life is just so messy. But I think I can deal with all the torture and sadness as long as it’s okay by the end.” This is the beauty of storytelling, whether film or literature: fiction does not need to hew to realism all the time. Fiction can tell stories that are fantastical. Or it can be more grounded while still offering hope, as Garrett does here. Is it realistic that a 17-year-old girl with only a few articles to her name is the one that an older actor approaches to write this story? Are her conversations with all these other women who claim Roy Lennox groped them, raped them, are they realistic? I submit that’s beside the point; what matters more is that they are aspirational. With Off the Record Garrett is creating the world which she wants to see in our own reality: a world where a young Black woman is making a difference with the power of her words, much as Garrett did in her first novel and is doing again here. You know, this book probably won’t get as much hype as a book like The Hate U Give , and I want us to consider why. Don’t get me wrong; Angie Thomas is an awesome author, and if you read my review you’ll see my love for that book. But I think we white people have a tendency to get more excited about books about Black people that overtly discuss race and racism because these become “issue” books, and we can seem “woke” to be seen reading and discussing them. Off the Record is as much about race and racism as any book where many of the main characters are Black, and it is technically an “issue” book in the way it springs off the #MeToo movement … yet because the racism, the sexism, the misogynoir are subtler here, I think it would be easy to miss this story’s power. Both Starr and Josie are Black girls asked to bear witness to structural injustice. In Josie’s case, Lennox’s behaviour is structural because, like the real-life Harvey Weinstein and innumerable other predators in Hollywood and board rooms and workplaces all around, Lennox is shielded by the people around him who fear his power and privilege. These women come forward and accuse a powerful person of abuse and assault, and we don’t believe them. We call them liars. Why? Because accepting their truth means acknowledging that the system itself is rotten to the core, and that means we need systemic change, and that is too much for some of us to bear. The way that Garrett examines these injustices through an intersectional lens gives Off the Record such incisive power. Marius is Black and therefore experiences racism and dismissal (in terms of his acting chops) that a white actor doesn’t. The director of the film Josie is covering claims colour-blindness, doesn’t see what the race of Marius’ character might have to do in a film that is “really” about being gay. Yet Marius also has male privilege, something Josie urges him to use to speak up against Lennox, hoping his voice might be heard and believed even if the women she has interviewed are not. This is just one small example of how Garrett belies the convenient stereotypes we often fall back on when looking at people as well as characters in our literature: oh, she’s Black; he’s gay; they’re in a wheelchair—nobody is ever one thing, one identity, one position on an axis of power/privilege. Off the Record reminds us that our power and privilege are constantly in flux depending on where we are, who’s in the room with us, and what the situation is. This book is so sneaky. It starts like the puff piece that Josie is supposed to write about Marius. We think, oh, she’s going to have to get over her anxiety, open up to him, maybe they have a little fling and then they have to go their separate ways … it’s like perfect summer rom-com fodder. Then Garrett goes “bam, scandal time” and throws Josie—and by extension, ourselves—into the deep end fast enough to make our heads spin. With sharp dialogue and even sharper storytelling, Off the Record is easily one of my favourite books of the year. Originally posted on Kara.Reviews, where you can easily browse all my reviews and subscribe to my newsletter.

  18. 4 out of 5

    tessie

    this was quite a slow read for me (not that it took me a long time to actually read it, but that it was stretched out over a long period of time) and i’m trying to figure out why? i didn’t find it especially difficult to read it and there was some intrigue there, just maybe it didn’t catch my attention as much as i had hoped?? this was still pretty good though!! there’s a Black bisexual mc and a Black bisexual li which !! we simply love to see !! the bi representation is very explicit on page, a this was quite a slow read for me (not that it took me a long time to actually read it, but that it was stretched out over a long period of time) and i’m trying to figure out why? i didn’t find it especially difficult to read it and there was some intrigue there, just maybe it didn’t catch my attention as much as i had hoped?? this was still pretty good though!! there’s a Black bisexual mc and a Black bisexual li which !! we simply love to see !! the bi representation is very explicit on page, and the mc Josie speaks a lot about her attraction to different genders (often books describe bi people as like ‘they like boys and girls!’ and don’t include non binary people in that definition so i’m very glad this book didn’t do that). there’s also a lot of discussions about being fat and fatphobia which is absolutely not a thing in enough books, especially ya books. i think the main thing that didn’t make me 100% love this book was,,i don’t know i expected it to be a little more atmospheric?? the beginning was but as the plot really began, i didn’t find myself getting as drawn into the story as i could have because there wasn’t much of a strong atmosphere there ?? and i couldn’t help but compare it in my brain to similar ish books i’ve read with much stronger atmosphere i definitely enjoyed the writing and can see why everyone’s so into camryn garrett’s writing now. it was very easy to read and very ya in a good way ?? i went into it mostly not knowing what was it about, then read the synopsis a few pages in and i think i expected it to go quite a different way to how it did ?? no spoilers but i was waiting for something to happen with a particular character for a bit and it didn’t and that confused my brain a little but !! that is 100% on me (however i would say, and again this will be vague so i don’t give spoilers, a certain major character felt very unlikeable to me?? and maybe that took away a lot of any potential connection to the story??) one of my favourite things about this book was Josie realising an experience she had at school that she thought of as ‘just a boy being a boy’ was sexual assault. this was very good and almost comforting to read if that isn’t too weird ?? i think it’s a very universal experience to think something was just a minor experience that doesn’t mean much, it’s just boys being boys but not realising that it was actually assault and quite traumatising i do highly recommend this book. this is a heavy book with strong friendships and sweet relationships at the centre, along with amazing rep and a lot of important discussions! (though be aware that there are heavy mentions of sexual assault and rape the whole way through, i don’t think this is a very easy read if you’re in the wrong mindset)

  19. 4 out of 5

    leah

    :(((( as much as i wanted to LOVE this book, it had many shortfalls for me. PROS: - fat black girls written by actual fat black girls! love to see it - said black girl is a protag with career ambitions and opportunities, and aims for excellence! - her whole family is black and attended an hbcu- more excellence. CONS - at about 60 pages, the story stops being about Josies independence and evolution as a journalist and starts being about the romance - i’m not kidding, maybe i missed the romance label b :(((( as much as i wanted to LOVE this book, it had many shortfalls for me. PROS: - fat black girls written by actual fat black girls! love to see it - said black girl is a protag with career ambitions and opportunities, and aims for excellence! - her whole family is black and attended an hbcu- more excellence. CONS - at about 60 pages, the story stops being about Josies independence and evolution as a journalist and starts being about the romance - i’m not kidding, maybe i missed the romance label but EVERY professional event she attended, she was rendered speechless or incapable because THE Marius Canet was in the same general vicinity. there’s nothing i hate more than seeing a protag reduced to shambles because of a crush - the direction of this story was everywhere. is this book about josies coming of age? the press tour? blackness in film? me too stories and their complexity? fatphobia and how it permeates relationships? i honestly couldn’t tell you, because it seemed like all of the above. i don’t have a problem with complex themes, but this novel consistently bit off more than i could chew - also the involvement of twitter was insufferable. josies bite sized tweets and mentions of her mutuals were so heavy handed, and the novel could have done completely without them. it made the novel seem written by somebody entirely Too Online and laughable to actual teenagers. i would never plead to my parents that my twitter mutuals are my “real friends”, and it was so cringey to read. - josies professionalism was awful. i’m not referring to her genuine disability and mental illness interfering with her work, but abandoning deadlines, drinking on the job, and various other boundaries broken makes her seem flimsy and unprofessional. as a black teenager who writes freelance for magazines- none of this would slide - overall the tone and attempts to integrate big hot topics with twitter language and emotional immaturity turned me off during each chapter. not my fave read of the summer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    4.5 Stars Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for an arc of this book. Content Warnings at end of review. Josie has always had anxiety, but she doesn't let that stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist. When she wins a competition for Deep Focus magazine, she is sent on a 2 week long publicity tour with the cast and crew of a new movie to write a profile on the lead actor. What she doesn't expect is a more important story comes to light while talking to the ca 4.5 Stars Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for an arc of this book. Content Warnings at end of review. Josie has always had anxiety, but she doesn't let that stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist. When she wins a competition for Deep Focus magazine, she is sent on a 2 week long publicity tour with the cast and crew of a new movie to write a profile on the lead actor. What she doesn't expect is a more important story comes to light while talking to the cast of the movie, and she knows that she will have to do everything in her power to make sure it gets told. I loved this book! I feel like this is such an important story to tell, and it is absolutely relevant to our society. I definitely got really angry at what was going on at times and frustrated because it is so similar to things that have happened in real life. I also really loved Josie. I majorly identified with her right from the beginning, and got caught up in her journey and character growth! I loved that she didn't have it all together, but she was working on it and determined to succeed. I also really liked the supporting cast, her sister, her new friends and her mentor. They all were very interesting characters that did a lot for the story. Pub Date: May 18, 2021 Content Warnings Graphic: Sexual assault and Fatphobia Moderate: Sexual content, Racism, and Mental illness Minor: Bullying, Body shaming, and Self harm

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)

    CW: internalized fatphobia, body shaming, fatphobia, body dysmorphia, sexual assault and harassment, self-harm (hair pulling), anxiety, panic attack, mention of dieting, and weight loss, mention of conversion therapy, homophobia. Camryn does it again with a spectacular sophomore novel following Josie, a 17-year old Black girl who loves writing and journalism. She wins a writing contest and spends 2 weeks traveling with the cast of a movie featuring a Black boy who is sent to conversion therapy. CW: internalized fatphobia, body shaming, fatphobia, body dysmorphia, sexual assault and harassment, self-harm (hair pulling), anxiety, panic attack, mention of dieting, and weight loss, mention of conversion therapy, homophobia. Camryn does it again with a spectacular sophomore novel following Josie, a 17-year old Black girl who loves writing and journalism. She wins a writing contest and spends 2 weeks traveling with the cast of a movie featuring a Black boy who is sent to conversion therapy. As a part of the contest, Josie has to write a profile piece of the main actor, Marice Canet. Josie spends a lot of time with him and we get to know both characters pretty well. Both Josie and Marice are bisexual and I loved seeing a blossoming romance between two bisexual leads. This is such an important story about sexual assault and harassment and also starts the conversation of any gender being harassed or assaulted. Off the Record talks about the power imbalance male directors have over their talent and the disgusting behavior that goes on behind the scenes and how they easily get away with it. I also really enjoyed and could relate to Josie's anxiety. The anxiety rep was done very well and I loved the line of Josie saying her anxiety never leaves, even if it feels at ease. Anxiety levels vary day to day and we really go to see that through Josie. Garrett also writes a complicated and messy sister relationship and I loved how it developed toward the end and that she and her sister, Alice still bicker and it isn't fully resolved. Highly recommend this! However, do see the trigger warnings because of the subject matter. "Maybe I find it disappointing because I put faith in people I don't know"

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix (Books with Wings)

    I just got the weirdest craving for this book....honestly, I don't know where this came from except I knew I wanted to read realistic fiction and I'd recently read the author's other book, Full Disclosure, and loved it and I think I'm just looking for that same writing style right now. Ugh, I knew it was coming out soon but I didn't realize I'd have to wait until May eighteenth. I just got the weirdest craving for this book....honestly, I don't know where this came from except I knew I wanted to read realistic fiction and I'd recently read the author's other book, Full Disclosure, and loved it and I think I'm just looking for that same writing style right now. Ugh, I knew it was coming out soon but I didn't realize I'd have to wait until May eighteenth.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mya

    "do you ever look back on things that happen to you and realize they weren't okay and then, like, have an existential crisis" [4.5 stars!] I read this one in two days-- Garrett is a force to be reckoned with, much like her young writer protagonist in Off the Record . Some of the lines in here made me feel so *seen*, especially my high school self. This book sparks great discussion around problematic faves, abusers, fat acceptance, and more. Though I loved Garrett's first novel, Full Disclosur "do you ever look back on things that happen to you and realize they weren't okay and then, like, have an existential crisis" [4.5 stars!] I read this one in two days-- Garrett is a force to be reckoned with, much like her young writer protagonist in Off the Record . Some of the lines in here made me feel so *seen*, especially my high school self. This book sparks great discussion around problematic faves, abusers, fat acceptance, and more. Though I loved Garrett's first novel, Full Disclosure , even more, this is a solid sophomore effort and I can say that Garrett has sold me as a fan for life. Looking forward to whatever she writes next. Favorite line from the book (on problematic idols): "I can accept whatever happened with MLK and Frederick Douglass because they were freedom fighters. They did so much good that I can deal with the bad. But I don't know if I can do the same with someone like Woody Allen. And why should I? MLK was MLK. Woody Allen only makes movies with white people in them." LMAOOO content warnings for: talk of sexual assault, abuse

  24. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    “Sometimes thé things I don’t understand are more beautiful that the things I do.” The whole book is beautiful like this quote. I fell in love with Josie head over heels. This book is the story of 17 year old Josie who wins a writing contest and gets the chance to interview and up and coming movie star. However, when she gets there, she discovers a whole other story. This was a definite 5 ⭐️ for me. I loved the author’s debut novel Full Disclosure and this one does not disappoint. Josie is a beau “Sometimes thé things I don’t understand are more beautiful that the things I do.” The whole book is beautiful like this quote. I fell in love with Josie head over heels. This book is the story of 17 year old Josie who wins a writing contest and gets the chance to interview and up and coming movie star. However, when she gets there, she discovers a whole other story. This was a definite 5 ⭐️ for me. I loved the author’s debut novel Full Disclosure and this one does not disappoint. Josie is a beautifully lovable character who struggles with normal teen things. The author touches on her anxiety and insecurities without it feeling trite. One of my FAVORITE PARTS was near the end that I didn’t see aiming regarding the Me Too movement. I loved the dynamic she has with her sister. I felt like I was living in this story and traveling with Josie. Another all star book by @camryngwrites #weneeddiversebooks #weneeddiverseauthors #metoomovement Thank you @netgalley and @penguinrandomhouse for providing me with this eArc. I can’t wait to buy it on May 18th.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Oh, how I fell in love with Josie and her story in Off the Record! I think a list will do it more justice, frankly, so I shall tell you every single thing that I loved about this story, and why it should be in your life! ►Josie! I loved her. Loved. Her. She was so incredibly relatable and likable and I just clicked with her from the start. I think she's just written so well, that she You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Oh, how I fell in love with Josie and her story in Off the Record! I think a list will do it more justice, frankly, so I shall tell you every single thing that I loved about this story, and why it should be in your life! ►Josie! I loved her. Loved. Her. She was so incredibly relatable and likable and I just clicked with her from the start. I think she's just written so well, that she felt like I was reading about an actual friend, you know? A character so fully fleshed out that you could truly understand what made them tick. I related to a lot of Josie's internal dialogue, too, which made me connect to her even more. Josie struggles with anxiety, which is likely another reason I identified with a lot of her thought processes. I thought the author did an incredible job putting Josie's anxiety into words, which is no easy feat! ►The story is very writing-centered which is fun. Josie is an incredible writer, and she wins an opportunity to write a profile on the star of an upcoming movie. It's so cool because talk about an awesome opportunity! And she's so great that you are thrilled that she is chosen, of course. And obviously, she feels a little out of her element at times because so many of the people she encounters are straight up famous, but I love how she held her own even when she was super nervous on the inside! ►Family stuff is complex and real. Wow did I feel Josie's relationship with her mom! Mine with my dad was so freaking similar, the comments about food and weight and clothes, ugh. So I felt that so hard. Josie also has some complex feelings about her sisters. She's much closer to her eldest sister, but finds her only way to go on this multi-city trip to be with her other sister. They don't always see eye to eye, but you can feel the love there. This whole family is just so awesome, frankly. They're absolutely flawed, but they love each other fiercely, and most importantly, they begin to communicate and grow. It's awesome, and exactly what I love from a family plot! ►The romance is *chef's kiss*. Marius himself is just kind of the best. Like, it's super easy to see why Josie fell for him, he's just a great guy. Thoughtful, kind, funny, charming, smart, and yes, quite handsome. He's the whole package. But I loved that their relationship had tests along the way. Josie had her own internal struggles with insecurity, and Marius has a lot of his own demons to face. They also have to figure out how to communicate and grow, both together and on their own. I swooned. ►The sexual assault piece was very timely and handled well. So, as you can imagine, it's a big part of the story. Imagine a Harvey Weinstein-type, who Josie uncovers has been assaulting and harassing one of the stars of the movie- among many, many others. Lots of people try to discourage Josie from going public with the story- and even Josie understands why they're saying it. Hollywood has turned a blind eye for a century plus, what's going to change? But Josie refuses to accept that, which is all the more reason to love her. A lot of people have a lot of awful stories to share along the way, but it's very worth it. Bottom Line: I legit wished I owned a physical copy of this book so I could hug it when I was done. Is that weird? Maybe, but I'm okay with it. It made me happy, and hopeful, and today I can buy it and make my mom read it. **TW for sexual abuse, assault and harassment

  26. 5 out of 5

    Book Reviews by Tara aka Queen of Memoirs

    I would like to wish Off The Record by Camryn Garrett a happy belated book birthday! This book was released on Tuesday. My intention was to have it completed by its publication date, but with my busy workweek, that didn’t happen. I completed the book this morning. ⠀ Off The Record is unexpectedly light for a book that tackles some very heavy topics such as criminal sexual assault, oppressive silence, tolerance of misogyny, sexism, objectification of women and men, and sexual harassment. I think G I would like to wish Off The Record by Camryn Garrett a happy belated book birthday! This book was released on Tuesday. My intention was to have it completed by its publication date, but with my busy workweek, that didn’t happen. I completed the book this morning. ⠀ Off The Record is unexpectedly light for a book that tackles some very heavy topics such as criminal sexual assault, oppressive silence, tolerance of misogyny, sexism, objectification of women and men, and sexual harassment. I think Garrett does a phenomenal job of discussing rape culture in way that is easy to digest. It’s deep, but not dark. ⠀ OTR reads like it was taken straight from the Harvey Weinstein scandal. I love how the author uses an array of purposeful characters to show how it is possible to speak out against sexual assault. It’s a powerful message. ⠀ I’m not a big YA reader but I found this book satisfying. The protagonist, 17 year old, Josie Wright was very likable. I loved her ability to do what was right in the face of extreme anxiety and great fear. Josie was badass and she didn’t even know it. It was because of her that I looked forward to grabbing this ebook each night. I was cheering for her chapter-after-chapter. I also love that she is a writer. ⠀ The beginning of the book moves at a pleasingly, fast pace. However, the middle and the end moves much slower. I would have liked for the entire book to move at the same pace as the beginning. But even with the change in tempo, I still enjoyed it. ⠀ I also found the ending pretty predictable. ⠀ Thank you Knopf Books for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review. ⠀ I give it 4/5⭐️s

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Wow, this book had a lot of very well-written layers to peel off! I knew I’d enjoy this book just as much as much as the author’s first book, Full Disclosure! This book is a moving testament to the #metoo movement and displays how women should and do stand up for each other. I love the author’s way of story-telling, how everything flows so smoothly, and how her stories are always so important to read! Josie is a 17-year-old aspiring journalist. When she wins a a contest to write a celebrity profi Wow, this book had a lot of very well-written layers to peel off! I knew I’d enjoy this book just as much as much as the author’s first book, Full Disclosure! This book is a moving testament to the #metoo movement and displays how women should and do stand up for each other. I love the author’s way of story-telling, how everything flows so smoothly, and how her stories are always so important to read! Josie is a 17-year-old aspiring journalist. When she wins a a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine she’s not only excited, but scared! She soon jets off on a multi-city tour meeting celebrities, producers, and stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for her subject, young newcomer actor Marius Canet. Josie’s world begins to expand so rapidly and then a young female actress lets her in on a terrible secret…which soon unravels even more secrets. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s hesitant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have trusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? …but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will? Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, anxiety, panic attacks, fatphobia, mentions of gaslighting and racism.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    4.5 stars I freaking loved this! It was adorable and fun and so easy to read. Josie is relatable, her anxiety can be so hard for her to work through yet she tries and does her best. The romance was sweet and I rooted for Josie and Marius from the start. The story about a man abusing his power to sexually assault people was unfortunately realistic, but well handled with a hopeful conclusion. It was cool seeing behind the scenes of a movie press tour and how reporting goes. Josie was smart and had 4.5 stars I freaking loved this! It was adorable and fun and so easy to read. Josie is relatable, her anxiety can be so hard for her to work through yet she tries and does her best. The romance was sweet and I rooted for Josie and Marius from the start. The story about a man abusing his power to sexually assault people was unfortunately realistic, but well handled with a hopeful conclusion. It was cool seeing behind the scenes of a movie press tour and how reporting goes. Josie was smart and had amazing questions, I enjoyed seeing people realize that she's a great journalist and someone to be taken seriously. I also loved the self love theme and that Josie isn't ashamed of her body. Other people may have comments but she reclaims the word 'fat' and is proud of how she looks. This flew by and was well paced. The characters were realistic and easy to connect with. I can't wait to see this in the world! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christi Flaker

    Josie is a rising senior with some serious writing talent. She wins a writing competition sponsored by Deep Focus and as such gets to go on a press tour to write a piece on up-and-coming new star, Marius. She is chaperoned by her older sister and struggles to overcome her anxiety to find her voice in interviews and in the process. Josie finds herself connecting with Marius and finding new friends in Penny (another cast member). She is soon lured into a second story line relating to a powerful Hol Josie is a rising senior with some serious writing talent. She wins a writing competition sponsored by Deep Focus and as such gets to go on a press tour to write a piece on up-and-coming new star, Marius. She is chaperoned by her older sister and struggles to overcome her anxiety to find her voice in interviews and in the process. Josie finds herself connecting with Marius and finding new friends in Penny (another cast member). She is soon lured into a second story line relating to a powerful Hollywood producer and his abusive behavior. Josie finds her voice in a big way as she is asked to write an expose as a second, off-the-books piece. This book brings up so many relevant issues in society today and my only complaint is that everything seemed a little thin as so many issues were addressed. This works in a YA work however and I do recommend checking this one out.

  30. 4 out of 5

    thebookbitch

    4.5 stars Off the Record was such an incredible, empowering and well handled novel. It’s clear Camryn Garrett did extensive research and wrote the stories of these characters so well. However, it’s hard for me to review this book as it hits too close to home. But please just know that sexual assault and harassment needs to be taken seriously, whether you’re male, female or non-binary. Our experiences are real.

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