BLOG TOUR REVIEW + Giveaway: CAM GIRL by Leah Raeder

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she's been running from—those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself...

This really means ALL the stars! Cam Girl was just simply spectacular! It's one of those books you can't stop thinking about long after you are done with it. 
I'm a newbie Leah Raeder fan, I read Black Iris not too long ago and it too was fantastic, I was not just in love with her writing (Leah is truly a poet) I was also in love with the characters. Cam Girl was no different.
The synopsis reeled me in right away but once I started reading I was completely immersed in Vada's world and deeply touched by her struggles.
Vada and Ellis are complex characters looking for the right balance in life and with each other. Things are complicated between them and they are both hurting. They are pulling in different directions and pushing towards each other at the same time.
A terrible accident complicates things even further, rather than bringing them together after having experienced this traumatic event, the circumstances in which they find themselves afterwards distances them even more. Ellis doesn't seem to remember anything about that night and Vada can't go a day without thinking about it. 

Their relationship was anything but healthy to start with, they both had an inner struggle and neither was willing to really face it. I felt like I wanted them to work things out but then I also wanted them to move on and stop hurting each other.
Eventually the ghosts from the night of the accident and the tension in their relationship will push them completely apart and Vada's life becomes a dark place.

“This is what they don’t tell you about losing someone: It doesn’t happen once. It happens every day, every moment they’re missing from. You lose them a hundred times between waking and sleep, and even sleep is no respite, because you lose them in your dreams, too.” 

Vada is an artist but after the injuries she suffered in the accident she wasn't able to continue on. Her job wasn't really paying her bills, and between being broke and heart broken she finds herself hitting rock bottom. It was then when she meets opportunity. Becoming a Cam Girl paid well and it gave her back some control. Life was still dark and she was still depressed but when she was in front of that camera she controlled the room and the attention and praise was on her
After the accident she made an unlikely friend, just as broken, just as dark, just as devastated by it as she was. This friend and camming is what keeps Vada going, what helps her deal with missing Ellis and the writhing hole she left in her life. 

“I felt like an animal in a cage being stared at by other animals, all of us anonymous, mindless, interchangeable.” 

 Then one night she meets Blue. A mysterious client who wants her all to himself. Soon enough though Vada finds herself attracted to this stranger who seems to understand her like no one has in a long time.
They meet often, he knows she is lonely and hurting and somehow is able to make her feel things she hasn't felt since Ellis. 

“I thought of Blue. “Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger.”  

Things will take an interesting turn though when Vada feels the need to meet Blue in person. This man that has sparked life in her again.
But everyone has secrets, and bringing Blue out of the computer screen and into her real life will also bring back the past.
I love this book because of the story it tells. I've never read anything like it and that alone scored so many points. The characters were lonely and broken and it was impossible not to feel completely devastated for them and their struggle.
I was overwhelmed by emotion at various points of this book, and it takes great storytelling to evoke that much emotion.

There is one quote that will stay with me I think forever because I find it to be so true.

"Maybe we needed to break a little, so we could put ourselves back together more beautifully than before." 

I can't recommed Cam Girl enough, it's most definitely one of my favorite reads this year.

(Photo credit: Ursula Uriarte Instagram)

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Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. She is also the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at

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