The Subtweet
Everyone talks about falling in love, but falling in friendship can be just as captivating. When Neela Devaki’s song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini, the two musicians meet and a transformative friendship begins. But as Rukmini’s star rises and Neela’s stagnates, jealousy and self-doubt creep in. With a single tweet, their friendship implodes, one career is destroyed, and the two women find themselves at the center of an internet firestorm.Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a stirring examination of making art in the modern era, a love letter to brown women, an authentic glimpse into the music industry, and a nuanced exploration of the promise and peril of being seen.

The Subtweet Details

TitleThe Subtweet
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherECW Press
ISBN-139781770415256
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, LGBT, Adult Fiction

The Subtweet Review

  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    A fast-paced satirical novel charting the rise and fall of a friendship between two South Asian singers, whose careers become inextricably linked through social media. The surreal plot takes several sudden turns and swiftly takes on so many topics, from white liberals performative allyship to the music industrys abuse of artists of color, but at its core the storys a sharp exploration of what it means to create art as a brown person working within a white supremacist society. A fast-paced satirical novel charting the rise and fall of a friendship between two South Asian singers, whose careers become inextricably linked through social media. The surreal plot takes several sudden turns and swiftly takes on so many topics, from white liberals’ performative allyship to the music industry’s abuse of artists of color, but at its core the story’s a sharp exploration of what it means to create art as a brown person working within a white supremacist society.
    more
  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
    January 1, 1970
    I've been putting off reviewing this book because I feel like my words are inadequate in face of what an incredible piece of art it is and how thought-provoking and readable it was. Neela and Rukkini are two South Asian Canadian women musicians (one trans, one cis) who form a friendship when Rukmini an emerging artist, covers one of Neela's (more established) songs. The story investigates brown female friendship, professional jealousy, the pleasures and price of making art, social media and I've been putting off reviewing this book because I feel like my words are inadequate in face of what an incredible piece of art it is and how thought-provoking and readable it was. Neela and Rukkini are two South Asian Canadian women musicians (one trans, one cis) who form a friendship when Rukmini an emerging artist, covers one of Neela's (more established) songs. The story investigates brown female friendship, professional jealousy, the pleasures and price of making art, social media and call-out culture, white people performing anti-racism for their own benefit, the way systemic racism and sexism pits women of colour against each other, and more. It's also very much a love letter to so many women (mostly of colour) artists and theorists of all stripes, like Shani Mootoo, Lykke Li, June Jordan, Gayarati Spivak, Bjork, Meera Sethi, and so many more. (I found myself googling and enjoying learning about the people I wasn't already familiar with).This book was so good and so smart! The characterization of Neela and Rukmini was incredible. The concepts were so thoughtfully explored. Once while I was in the middle of this book I was 20 minutes into doing the dishes when I realized I had been washing the pots and pans in silence, just thinking about Neela and Rukmini. This is very unusual for me. I am a stalwart audiobook listener and never normally do chores without one playing, or at least music. But these characters had captured my imagination.I love how Shraya refused to make Neela and Rukmini likable. When I say Neela and Rukmini aren't nice and likeable, I don't mean that they aren't kind to each other (and others) and that I didn't like and sympathize with them. I absolutely did. But they aren't "nice" and "likeable" in a way that flattens and uncomplicates them. Rukmini and Neela are not made easily digestible and palatable, which is how a sexist white supremacist society wants them. Neither is the villain or the victim.Guess what this is only the tip of the iceberg of my thoughts: full review on my blog here.Read this book!!
    more
  • Jesse bowtiesandbooks
    January 1, 1970
    Subtweet is an energetic novel surrounding two brown musicians (Neela and Rukmini), illustrating how they come together, their eventual close friendship, and ultimate falling out over a twitter feud. The strength of this novel lies in its connectedness. Shraya expertly builds up "the music scene", the culture and lifestyle of struggling musicians, and brings every piece of music to life in her pages. In fact, you can listen to music from The Subtweet once the book releases! A merciless Subtweet is an energetic novel surrounding two brown musicians (Neela and Rukmini), illustrating how they come together, their eventual close friendship, and ultimate falling out over a twitter feud. The strength of this novel lies in its connectedness. Shraya expertly builds up "the music scene", the culture and lifestyle of struggling musicians, and brings every piece of music to life in her pages. In fact, you can listen to music from The Subtweet once the book releases! A merciless examination of friendship, call out culture, and how "validation culture" (needing affirmation from strangers online to feel good about oneself) impacts women of color; I was very much looking forward to the exploration of each of these topics. Unfortunately, the Subtweet was not for me. The dialogue-centric storytelling felt immoderate; there simply wasn't enough descriptions of setting and little to no transition between scenes. The time jumps were jarring and excessive. However, there were occasional lines of comedic or emotional gold such as "there was nothing more intimidating than watching a grown man throw a temper tantrum as an intimidation tactic" - relatable. Subtweet seeks to address a myriad of society's issues without successfully (in my opinion) digging into and truly interrogating most of its topics, but it does show how easily miscommunications happen online and how seeking "likes and RTs" to validate yourself and your artistry is a 1 way ticket to disappointment. Most glaringly, I felt the characters had little to no backstory. They lacked the characterization I needed in a story so centered on the relationship between two people; also the miscommunication trope was RAMPANT in this book. Since the story was so fast paced and overly focused on plot, the codependent relationship Neela and Rukmini had with one another felt rushed, unrealistic, and surface level. As a result, I was not interested in what happened between them.Two things I found problematic: I did not enjoy how this book handled gender nonconformity. There were 2 remarks in particular that I did not appreciate. EX:1. One of the main characters is surveying a crowd, notices a "white androgynous" person, and immediately begins using they pronouns for this person. At no point does she use they pronouns for any of the brown people she encounters in the book. It reinforces the idea that nonbinary people are white and "gender ambiguous" looking. as a nonbinary afromexican individual, this irritated me. The same character also makes fun of people who overly uses the word "folks" instead of addressing the group with gendered terms. Again, folks is used to be inclusive of gender non conforming people so seeing this made fun of really irritated me. Also one of the MC's casually mentions that she is trans but the book never mentions it again so I wouldn't exactly applaud it for trans rep.2. Neela narrates, "the word 'jazz' should come with a trigger warning" as a way of venting her frustration that jazz is misunderstood. This was ...wildly unnecessary. The author could have used literally any other word instead of making light of trigger warnings. It simply acceptable. Mind you, this is an arc so maybe this will be corrected by the proof. These things did not affect my rating, however as a gender nonconforming reader with an illness that has triggers, it truly stung to read them.Themes: women of color, woc, call out culture, race, musicians, underground music, friendship, NYC, social media, feminism, social justice, activism 2/5 stars 
    more
  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    This novel surpassed my already high expectations. I loved it, I didn't want it to end, I miss it now.
  • Ameema Saeed
    January 1, 1970
    Predictably, I fell in love with this book in just a few pages. Sharp, thoughtful, complex, and truly wonderful - this book is a work of art.Vivek captures the complexities of (brown) womens friendship, the sharp edges of professional jealousy, the mercurial nature of the internet, and the essence of what it means to be a woman of colour who is also an artist. She has written some incredible, fierce, multi-dimensional, flawed, and wonderful characters - in Neela and Rukmini, as well as in the Predictably, I fell in love with this book in just a few pages. Sharp, thoughtful, complex, and truly wonderful - this book is a work of art.Vivek captures the complexities of (brown) women’s friendship, the sharp edges of professional jealousy, the mercurial nature of the internet, and the essence of what it means to be a woman of colour who is also an artist. She has written some incredible, fierce, multi-dimensional, flawed, and wonderful characters - in Neela and Rukmini, as well as in the secondary and supporting roles - and I found myself tearing through this book, wanting to know more about them.This book is a complicated, messy love letter to Brown women, to music, to artistry, to creativity, to Toronto, to friendship. I zipped through it in a day, but I can already tell that I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time. When I say that I felt “seen” by this book, I worry that it feels reductive and basic. But what I mean is - this book put my thoughts, feelings, and experiences into words and characters and events with such lucidity that it took my breath away. Shraya captures the complex dynamics of friendships, especially women’s friendship, and especially the friendships between women of colour with such remarkable clarity and thought. The tenderness, the connection, the solidarity, the support, the messiness, the competition - not just professional and personal jealousy born from wanting - but also the competition handed down and enforced by White and patriarchal systems that make us feel like maybe there can only be one of us. UGH The Subtweet was so smart and so good. This is not the book I thought it was going to be - it surprised me at every turn, and I already can’t wait to read it again.Vivek has always been unapologetic in her writing - and each book I’ve read has impressed me and blown me away... but there’s something about The Subtweet that stuck out to me. It’s bold, but in a quiet and sincere way. It’s smart and sharp and witty, yet kind and loving and beautiful. It’s a testament to friendships - how we make them, how we break them. It’s messy and sometimes ugly with bitterness, and frustration, and jealousy, and vitriol, but it’s also tender and wholesome, and full of love and loss and music. This might be my favourite Vivek Shraya book yet. I’m a book reviewer and Indigo employee, and am beyond grateful to the publisher for the advanced reading copy, and the chance to share my honest feedback.
    more
  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    12/12/19A huge thank you to ECW for gifting me a copy of this book!! I love a good book about friendship - can't wait! :DYou can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
  • Shealea
    January 1, 1970
    * I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest review.🌻 My links: Blog | Instagram | Twitter
  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    I am kind of expecting this to create very polarized reviews... full review hopefully to come closer to release date.
  • Shafiya Mū (The Djinn Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    Whoa, what a fucking ride of emotion and complex examinations of so many vital themes. From the critical look at the toxicity of social media culture to the devastating impacts of self-doubt, fear, and racial insecurities to the dynamics of what it means to be brown enoughtheres just so much brilliance in these pages and then some. Again, whoa. 4.25 peppermint teas outta 5! Whoa, what a fucking ride of emotion and complex examinations of so many vital themes. From the critical look at the toxicity of social media culture to the devastating impacts of self-doubt, fear, and racial insecurities to the dynamics of what it means to be “brown enough”—there’s just so much brilliance in these pages and then some. Again, whoa. 4.25 peppermint teas outta 5!
    more
  • Lizz DiCesare
    January 1, 1970
    Friends, its happened again. I recently read another book that I loved so much Im having a hard time finding the words to describe it. I wasnt too sure what to expect from The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya, but it exceeded all of my expectations. It was incredibly smart, well-written, and made me think a lot, even days after finishing it.The story follows two female artists, Neela Devaki and Rukmini. Theyre both musicians living in Toronto, who become fast friends while bonding over being two brown Friends, it’s happened again. I recently read another book that I loved so much I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe it. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya, but it exceeded all of my expectations. It was incredibly smart, well-written, and made me think a lot, even days after finishing it.The story follows two female artists, Neela Devaki and Rukmini. They’re both musicians living in Toronto, who become fast friends while bonding over being two brown women in the same creative industry. Rukmini does a cover of one of Neela’s songs, which takes off, and then the drama begins. Of course, Neela is happy for her friend at first, but then she starts to question who exactly Rukmini is performing for: their community, or white people? After Neela publishes a late-night sub-tweet, online drama (and real life issues) begin to unfold.The Subtweet did an amazing job of showing the stress and anxiety that social media can cause. All of the characters are active on Twitter and Instagram, and comment on how often people post, who likes what content, and try to decipher the meanings behind people’s vague captions. There’s also discussions about hate-liking content, and of course, sub-tweeting. I’ve never seen a book delve so deeply into these topics. It shows how social media can help artists in a positive way, but also create irreversible, negative situations as well.Throughout the book, I also found myself reflecting on my privilege (as a cis white woman) while reading. I always challenge myself to read diverse books, and this was one of the most diverse I’ve read in a while. I couldn’t personally relate to any of the characters, but I was able to learn about different experiences that people have, and learn from them.I read this book incredibly fast, and never wanted it to end. It explores female friendship, racism, social media, and arts and culture so well. It’s literary fiction with a contemporary twist, and I can’t recommend it enough (if you’re interested in reading about any of those things).Thank you to ECW Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya comes out on April 7, 2020, and can be pre-ordered or purchased wherever books are sold.
    more
  • Janani
    January 1, 1970
    This book does some interesting things. I enjoyed the stripped-down, bare-bones format that focused mainly on forwarding the plot. Shraya uses it to conduct a nuanced examination of fame, culture, activism, relationships, and social media's impact on all of the above. It took on some hard questions and offered perspective on fallible characters. This was a thought-provoking reading experience in multiple ways. #DeweysApril #readathon
    more
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    It's hard to even write a review for The Subtweet that does this book justice, because there's so much to touch upon - the friendship of Rukmini and Neela, the look into the music industry and how it treats brown women artists, how making art has become intertwined with feeding the capitalist machine. This book artfully takes a look at so many different aspects of a musician's life, connecting the threads together while also untangling the ones that have become almost insufferable. I loved It's hard to even write a review for The Subtweet that does this book justice, because there's so much to touch upon - the friendship of Rukmini and Neela, the look into the music industry and how it treats brown women artists, how making art has become intertwined with feeding the capitalist machine. This book artfully takes a look at so many different aspects of a musician's life, connecting the threads together while also untangling the ones that have become almost insufferable. I loved seeing Shraya's masterful takedown of both the beauty and toxicity of social media and it's role in musicians' lives, as well as the damage it can cause so quickly when one is seen as overstepping their bounds. Shraya really does capture how callout culture, validation, and subtweets have all become a daily part of these women's lives, while asking the question - at what cost? The heart of this book, though, is the friendships - how the bonds of these relationships struggle against these concerns. I really loved each of the characters and their personalities and choices, and was glad we got to see their POVs throughout different sections of the novel. The only downfall of this book was how quickly Rukmini was cut out at the end - while I can see this being a stylistic choice, I still wished to know what happened to her, and it knocked this book down from a 4.5 to a 4 star read. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this biting novel.
    more
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I was initially drawn to The Subtweet for its promise of diversity, but what ended up hooking me was its thoughtful discussion about social media and the music industry. In these ages of digital influencing, social media, activism, and speaking out, The Subtweet examines the intersection of fame, music, and activism. It opened up spaces in my mind for me to think about the nature (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I was initially drawn to The Subtweet for its promise of diversity, but what ended up hooking me was its thoughtful discussion about social media and the music industry. In these ages of digital influencing, social media, activism, and speaking out, The Subtweet examines the intersection of fame, music, and activism. It opened up spaces in my mind for me to think about the nature of a subtweet. What does it mean for me and for what do I use a subtweet? Is it an act of a subtle call out? Passive aggression? The Subtweet asks these questions and more by examining our two POC characters relationships with culture.What is original art nowadays with remixes, cover songs, and even song sampling? The Subtweet brings theses issues to the surface and allows readers to witness how they play out for Neela and Rukmini. Their relationships to each other, fame, and their art. Friendships are complex before you add cooperation and fame to the mix. There are moments of jealousy and support all wrapped into one. We wonder if our reactions become subtweets - all without the presence of the internet. Are we just engaged in performance without substance?full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
    more
  • Cicely Belle Blain
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This was a phenomenal read. So fresh and rich and exciting - I fell so deeply and complexly in love with the characters and their relationships with none another. Shraya's poetic wording made this read like a dreamy anthology but still told a bold and brilliant tale of race, gender, connection and music.
    more
  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    delightful and brilliant and refreshing and addictive and SO EMOTIONALLY RICH! shes done it again, folks! im sad its over! delightful and brilliant and refreshing and addictive and SO EMOTIONALLY RICH! she’s done it again, folks! i’m sad it’s over!
    more
  • Alison Jacques
    January 1, 1970
    3.75*. This is my first time reading Vivek Shraya -- I've been off nonfiction for the last while, so I was excited to see that she had a novel coming out. I requested and received an advance reading copy of The Subtweet from ECW Press.This is a book about women, friendship, music, race, social media culture, and Toronto. I read it quickly and really enjoyed it. The story contains a lot of dialogue and moves fast, partly by jumping over periods of time. I *loved* that there was no love interest, 3.75*. This is my first time reading Vivek Shraya -- I've been off nonfiction for the last while, so I was excited to see that she had a novel coming out. I requested and received an advance reading copy of The Subtweet from ECW Press.This is a book about women, friendship, music, race, social media culture, and Toronto. I read it quickly and really enjoyed it. The story contains a lot of dialogue and moves fast, partly by jumping over periods of time. I *loved* that there was no love interest, not once in all of the connections and conversations between the individual women here (main characters Neela and Rukmini, and secondary characters Sumi, Kasi, Malika, Zuhur, and Hayley). These women, like actual IRL women, have other things to talk about. Refreshing.For the record, I'm a white cis woman who is closer to fifty than to thirty. I appreciated the ways Shraya raised and grappled with issues that face women of colour in the music industry as well as in the workplace, the classroom, etc., and I'm looking forward to reading reviews of this book by other women of colour. I'm also curious to see whether The Subtweet appeals to readers who don't have a background in feminist theory and gender/women's studies, as it's heavy on name dropping from the feminist canon. I hope readers who aren't familiar with these names aren't put off or made to feel like they're not book-smart or educated enough to read it.Finally, when I got to the end of the book, I was happy to find a link to a soundtrack, because of course I had been wishing I could hear the music that was at the centre of the story.
    more
  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    THE SUBTWEET is the perfect novel for our time. Obviously, thanks to the title, the plot and relationships are rooted in social media and now technology affections our communication. But the story is also about culture clashes, women of color finding their place in a white-dominated music industry, and prejudice and jealousy from all types of different people. I loved following the main characters, Neela and Rukmini, as they develop a friendship and deal with the consequences of artistic and THE SUBTWEET is the perfect novel for our time. Obviously, thanks to the title, the plot and relationships are rooted in social media and now technology affections our communication. But the story is also about culture clashes, women of color finding their place in a white-dominated music industry, and prejudice and jealousy from all types of different people. I loved following the main characters, Neela and Rukmini, as they develop a friendship and deal with the consequences of artistic and professional jealousy. The fact that many of the plot's twists and turns happen on social media made the story all the more delicious, and I love curling myself into the pages and the world Shraya created. The book is set in Toronto among the indie music scene there (something I know very little about). One of my only complaints about this book is that I wish I could have heard the music Neela and Rukmini made! The descriptions of the songs are so vivid and imaginative, it made me wish I could flip over to Spotify to hear them myself. I also loved that this one of those few books solely about female friendships; there was truly no romance in this story and I didn't miss it. The story is so grounded in reality it easily seems like the story is something you read about on Twitter yesterday. The writing is fresh, the book is solid, and my rating is 5 stars!
    more
  • Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
    January 1, 1970
    I read this as a bookclub pick and this is a really well-written thoughtful story about what it's like to be a woman of colour in the music industry. Neela Devakis and Rukmini become good friends after Rukmini covers one of Neela's songs, but as Rukmini's fame and popularity grow, Neela feels left behind. One subtweet changes everything. The narrative is stylised and full of emotion, meaning it's easy to track exactly how Neela and Rukmini are feeling in every chapter. I really liked both I read this as a bookclub pick and this is a really well-written thoughtful story about what it's like to be a woman of colour in the music industry. Neela Devaki’s and Rukmini become good friends after Rukmini covers one of Neela's songs, but as Rukmini's fame and popularity grow, Neela feels left behind. One subtweet changes everything. The narrative is stylised and full of emotion, meaning it's easy to track exactly how Neela and Rukmini are feeling in every chapter. I really liked both characters and I thought the way their friendship was examined and disserted was clever and insightful. Race, colourism, intellectual property, individuality, social media use, and musical popularity are all discussed in this book. Each topic intersects with the others, and Vivek Shraya does an excellent job of balancing these different issues, giving attention to each without one overpowering the others. The subtweet itself doesn't come until quite late on in this novel, and this creates some enjoyable suspense because both characters tweet quite a lot, and every time they do we're left wondering 'is this the one?'This is a short novel, but it packs a lot of power. It's own voices for trans rep and the discussions about racism and colourism in the music industry feel incredibly important. I really enjoyed this and I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for a pacy contemporary that explores a lot of serious social issues.
    more
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    A realistic account of friendship in the era social media. Neela's song gets covered by internet-famous star Rukmini. The two women meet and their life changing friendship begins. But just as Rukmini's rising to fame and Neela's stalls, jelousy and self doubt surfaces and with a single tweet their friendship collapses, and they find themselves in the center of an online feude. This was a captivating read! Vivek Shraya has brought to light so much here, more than just the focus on Twitter and the A realistic account of friendship in the era social media. Neela's song gets covered by internet-famous star Rukmini. The two women meet and their life changing friendship begins. But just as Rukmini's rising to fame and Neela's stalls, jelousy and self doubt surfaces and with a single tweet their friendship collapses, and they find themselves in the center of an online feude. This was a captivating read! Vivek Shraya has brought to light so much here, more than just the focus on Twitter and the true realities of social media, but also highlights brown women, race, society's lack of originality, of being a WOC and an artist, and a realistic look at the music industry. These characters were so real as was their friendship, they were flawed yet so human. I was completely surprised by this one! Available April 7th! •Thank You to the tagged publisher for sending me this book opinions are my own.
    more
  • sri
    January 1, 1970
    its been a day since i read it and i still cant figure out what shraya was trying to say, or if they were trying to say anything at all. the whole book is centered around these desi women and their relationships w each other but none of said relationships have any weight to me bc theyre never actually *friends* and they dissolve almost as soon as theyre formed. their interactions with whiteness are frustrating and thought provoking ig but for what? nothing comes about because of them. the plot its been a day since i read it and i still cant figure out what shraya was trying to say, or if they were trying to say anything at all. the whole book is centered around these desi women and their relationships w each other but none of said relationships have any weight to me bc theyre never actually *friends* and they dissolve almost as soon as theyre formed. their interactions with whiteness are frustrating and thought provoking ig but for what? nothing comes about because of them. the plot feels almost aimless the whole way through and the book ends without any real resolution but this ambiguity doesnt feel earned or necessary its just...confusing?? the more discursive/academic aspects of the novel were fascinating tho.
    more
  • Rebecca MacDonald
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely engrossing read. The characters were so beautifully written, reflecting the insecurities of a modern age and the inspiration we draw from each other. And a beautiful expose of the structural inequalities that exist in the music industry (and beyond). I wish this was a series because I didn't want this book to end!
    more
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Shraya does a phenomenal job of assessing our interactions with social media, race politics (of both in- and out-groups), and what it means to be an artist in Canada. This book reminds me a lot of Such a Fun Age, but the perspective is drastically different; by looking primarily at the interactions between different women of a similar racial identity, a different species of in-group policing emerges. Also, I know that they say not to judge a book by it's cover, but this one is $&%@ing Shraya does a phenomenal job of assessing our interactions with social media, race politics (of both in- and out-groups), and what it means to be an artist in Canada. This book reminds me a lot of Such a Fun Age, but the perspective is drastically different; by looking primarily at the interactions between different women of a similar racial identity, a different species of in-group policing emerges. Also, I know that they say not to judge a book by it's cover, but this one is $&%@ing gorgeous, which is an accurate depiction of the contents. Shraya's voice is an important one in the Canadian artistic landscape and I look forward to her next work.
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book for its candor, its playfulness, and the fact that it balances humor with taking very seriously the ways in which social media is not relegated to youth culture and YA novels but profoundly influences adult lives. Also, this book centers women's friendship without any romance at all! Praise. Plus also, it centers trans characters without making them Trans TM. This is not for the cis gaze, so praise again. It's super readable and fully embraces the complexities of identity, I love this book for its candor, its playfulness, and the fact that it balances humor with taking very seriously the ways in which social media is not relegated to youth culture and YA novels but profoundly influences adult lives. Also, this book centers women's friendship without any romance at all! Praise. Plus also, it centers trans characters without making them Trans TM. This is not for the cis gaze, so praise again. It's super readable and fully embraces the complexities of identity, without easy answers. Definitely recommend.
    more
  • Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
    January 1, 1970
    I was given this book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I had extremely high hopes for this book and unfortunately, I was kind of let down. The story is one that I was excited for: a friendship possibly ruined by a subtweet. So when I read that plot of the book, I was expecting the characters to be in their late teens if not no older than early twenties; however, they were/are in their 30's. And maybe in my mind I think 30-year-olds act more mature but apparently that is not I was given this book by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I had extremely high hopes for this book and unfortunately, I was kind of let down. The story is one that I was excited for: a friendship possibly ruined by a subtweet. So when I read that plot of the book, I was expecting the characters to be in their late teens if not no older than early twenties; however, they were/are in their 30's. And maybe in my mind I think 30-year-olds act more mature but apparently that is not the case. Both characters were annoying and had unrealistic expectations. It was really hard to root for the success of either of the characters. And maybe that was the point, because adulthood is messy; however, it just left me wanting a lot more.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the book, but it sags in the Malika section. This is a book about female friendship between South Asian women artists in Toronto. All the perspectives center them, so that when there's an excerpt of an interview with a white man, I was jarred. It's also about communication conveyed through digital means and how it leaves so much up to the imagination and miscommunications such as subtweets and other lack of direct communication. There are some astute observations about twitter I really enjoyed the book, but it sags in the Malika section. This is a book about female friendship between South Asian women artists in Toronto. All the perspectives center them, so that when there's an excerpt of an interview with a white man, I was jarred. It's also about communication conveyed through digital means and how it leaves so much up to the imagination and miscommunications such as subtweets and other lack of direct communication. There are some astute observations about twitter and other communications, but also observations and descriptions of life and moments that are just beautiful and evocative. Rukmini was a very relatable character to me but I was really invested in Neela's growth as a character. A wonderful read.
    more
  • Karissa Fast
    January 1, 1970
    It is rare to find a book that is so wholly original, there's no good comparison.The Subtweet is incredible; I already know it will be one of my favourite books of the year.Neela and Rukmini, each brown singers living in Toronto, have a budding friendship that started after Rukimini covered one of Neela's songs. When Rukmini gets invited on a world tour with a white popstar, their friendship fizzles, and eventually comes to an explosive hault when Neela subtweets about Rukmini's pandering to It is rare to find a book that is so wholly original, there's no good comparison.The Subtweet is incredible; I already know it will be one of my favourite books of the year.Neela and Rukmini, each brown singers living in Toronto, have a budding friendship that started after Rukimini covered one of Neela's songs. When Rukmini gets invited on a world tour with a white popstar, their friendship fizzles, and eventually comes to an explosive hault when Neela subtweets about Rukmini's pandering to white people.The book dives into creative inspiration, the whiteness of audiences, representation in art, jealousy, and social media behaviour. But more than that it is an exploration of a complex friendship between two powerful women. Funny moments blends into relatable, emotional ones. I raced to finish this book and can't stop thinking about it. Read it.
    more
  • rabble.ca
    January 1, 1970
    Review by Margeaux Feldman:When Neela Devaki walks on stage and starts singing the song "Wanting," it's as though she's speaking to an entire generation of Instagrammers who desire affirmation through likes and regrams.Except that these lyrics were written back in 2008, two years before the official launch of Instagram, the platform that plays a vital role in the budding friendship between Neela and Rukmini in Vivek Shraya's The Subtweet. Her latest book follows last year's graphic novel, Death Review by Margeaux Feldman:When Neela Devaki walks on stage and starts singing the song "Wanting," it's as though she's speaking to an entire generation of Instagrammers who desire affirmation through likes and regrams.Except that these lyrics were written back in 2008, two years before the official launch of Instagram, the platform that plays a vital role in the budding friendship between Neela and Rukmini in Vivek Shraya's The Subtweet. Her latest book follows last year's graphic novel, Death Threat, in which Shraya revealed the darkest depths of internet culture and the dangers of easy online accessibility.Keep reading: https://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2020/...
    more
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Loved how deeply and realistically this got into social media and discussions of art without trying to definitively answer its questions. Neither character is fully right or wrong, and the tweets and articles and interviews are sometimes hilariously spot on. I did feel frustrated by all the miscommunication between the characters; without much time to get to know them prior to their meeting and Rukmini's tour, I wasn't quite convinced someone as strong and plain spoken as Neela got so caught up Loved how deeply and realistically this got into social media and discussions of art without trying to definitively answer its questions. Neither character is fully right or wrong, and the tweets and articles and interviews are sometimes hilariously spot on. I did feel frustrated by all the miscommunication between the characters; without much time to get to know them prior to their meeting and Rukmini's tour, I wasn't quite convinced someone as strong and plain spoken as Neela got so caught up in assuming Rukmini's feelings and dodging her real questions. I guess I wanted maybe a couple more chapters to dig deeper into both women and their friendship for them to feel more like characters than instruments in a discussion of all these topics, fascinating as that discussion was.
    more
  • Michele Menard
    January 1, 1970
    I dont have a clue how to review this book. I didnt like it, I almost gave up on it twice... but I couldnt stop thinking about it. Is it an accurate representation of the music industry and making art in todays world? Does it accurately reflect the struggle of brown women, whether trans or cis, to let their voice be heard? You will have to judge for yourself. Im too old and too white to answer these questions. I cant say I enjoyed this book (I did enjoy it was set in Toronto) but I also read it I don’t have a clue how to review this book. I didn’t like it, I almost gave up on it twice... but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Is it an accurate representation of the music industry and making art in today’s world? Does it accurately reflect the struggle of brown women, whether trans or cis, to let their voice be heard? You will have to judge for yourself. I’m too old and too white to answer these questions. I can’t say I enjoyed this book (I did enjoy it was set in Toronto) but I also read it in two days and can’t stop thinking about Neela and Rukmini, so I guess enjoying it isn’t the point. It’s definitely art.
    more
  • Mei
    January 1, 1970
    To me this book had a lot of potential but felt rushed, or not fully fleshed out. A lot of characters we come across feel like stereotypes. Also, one of the main characters just disappeared at the end with no explanation? I would've loved to see her side. And miscommunication played a bigger role in this plot than I personally like. However, the topics of creating art as a woman of colour and the struggle of being recognized for this work which The Subtweet covers, and more, are topics that need To me this book had a lot of potential but felt rushed, or not fully fleshed out. A lot of characters we come across feel like stereotypes. Also, one of the main characters just disappeared at the end with no explanation? I would've loved to see her side. And miscommunication played a bigger role in this plot than I personally like. However, the topics of creating art as a woman of colour and the struggle of being recognized for this work which The Subtweet covers, and more, are topics that need to be talked about and amplified.Also, I feel like Neela's explorations around selfhood are beautiful and relatable. - TW: racism -
    more
Write a review