Orlagh Collins delivers a non-filtered take on reality

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United By Pop received a free copy of No Filter in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Title: No Filter

Author: Orlagh Collins

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 3/5

Great for: fans on Jandy Nelson, Morgan Matson, and Brigid Kemmerer



Themes: young adult, coming of age, romance

Review: Summer is fast approaching, and, thus, so is my search for the perfect beach read. I am on the hunt for a book that delivers smile-inducing moments of overwhelming cuteness and the sweetest of summer romances. In amongst this goodness, however, a little bit of grit must be added to keep things pacy. ‘No Filter’ by Orlagh Collins delivers just that.

From the Instagram looking in, Emerald has a perfect life. And no moment of it is worth living unless it can be equated to the desired number of likes. But this filtered unreality does not depict her mother’s overdose in their designer bathroom, or the back-stabbing and bitching from her so-called ‘besties’, however.

Emerald’s perfect summer plans and the perfect matching feed are ruined after her mother’s attempted suicide and she finds herself relocated to her grandmother’s house in Scotland. Without endless Whatsapp plans and selfie situations, Emerald must now confront who she even is without all the online bravado. And it seems the dark and mysterious stranger, she sees lurking on the beach, may be able to help her figure this out…

The book was just the epitome of summer! From the pastel-shaded cover to the candyfloss sweet romance and even, in true British spirit, the rain! I loved getting to explore my favourite season with Emerald. She is on the cusp of understanding herself and this poignant time in her life, full of firsts, made the season seem even sweeter!

I also appreciated how authentic this tale appeared. The multiple social media excerpts that were included felt accurate and candid, rather than forced by someone with no understanding, which I often find when authors try to embody a teenage protagonist. No such worries here, though! Nothing about the character or the narrative felt like anything other than real life, and I was truly lost in my own unreality whilst reading this book.

The plot progressed on an expected trajectory, which I enjoyed but delivered no surprises. That is until the bombshell Orlagh Collins decided to drop towards the end of the novel! Shocked doesn’t even come close to my feelings at that time and the delivered twist altered any remaining preconceptions about the plot.

This was such an authentic-feeling tale, inspired by and evoking the feelings of first love and the reckless teenage spirit. Two people are depicted strengthening both themselves and their bond by overcoming the struggles that dominate their lives and finding out who they really are on the other side of it. This is a book about learning to find your way in the world and it captures the essence of that, perfectly – no filters needed.

Stone the crows, it's a real book! #nofilter for #nofilterbook #yalit #ya #bookstagram

A post shared by Orlagh Collins (@orlaghcollins) on

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