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Book Review: "The Glow" is a witty critique but loses its luster

Jane convinces a gorgeous wellness influencer to transform her platform into a high-end wellness brand to save her career. The influencer Cass and her unassuming husband Tom run a wellness retreat that could be classified as a cult by some. Still, Jane sees them as the key to paying her medical bills, finding a boyfriend, and keeping her job. Despite Tom's reluctance to capitalize off Cass's magnetic energy and weird habits, like speaking in inspirational quotes and eating habits, Jane shapes Cass into a leading wellness influencer for the elite. What ensues, though, is less than glamorous as Jane comes to terms with her ambitions and the complexities of power and beauty in the age of social media.

By far, the strongest part of The Glow was Gaynor's wit and the outlandish details of Jane's "partnership" with Cass and Tom. I can't even count the number of times I laughed out loud––Gaynor captures the utter hilarity and ridiculousness of the PR industry and the existential crisis of 20-something-year-olds.

Although hilarious and clever, Gaynor's commentary fails to go beyond surface-level critiques of our influencer-saturated world, social media, and the rise of health and wellness. Yet, her commentary on the PR world hits the mark, and my God, I was laughing out loud at Jane's inner thoughts and the ridiculous behavior of PR professionals (as a fellow PR professional).

Ultimately, The climax didn't do much for me, and I felt the author forgot about it. If 40 more pages had been added detailing a dramatic, shit-hits-the-fan climax, the novel would have been wrapped up in a nice bow.

Wildly entertaining and witty, The Glow sharply criticizes the beauty and influencer industry but loses its luster by the end.

Random House and Netgalley provided this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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