“unRIP” by Aneeta Hall“unRIP” by Aneeta Hall https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/unRIP-640x1024.jpg 640 1024 Reader Views Kids Reader Views Kids https://www.readerviewskids.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/unRIP-640x1024.jpg
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Independently Published (2023)
Reviewed by Leigh Kimberly Zoby for Reader Views (08/2023)
“unRIP” by Aneeta Hall is the tragic story of Karina Stark, a twenty-year-old female gothic death metal band singer whose gruesome murder and self-published diary skyrockets her to legendary status overnight. In death, Karina’s fan base multiplies into a cult-like following as teenage misfits flock to her gravesite to celebrate the short life of a rock star. As the investigation into Karina’s murder evolves, Karina’s self-published diary becomes a bestseller amongst music fans and gospel for true crime enthusiasts. Gloria Stark, Karina’s mother, becomes the focus of both the investigation and the relentless taunts from misguided fans and paparazzi. Unbeknownst to her growing fan base Karina’s fame was based on bullying, lies, and deception.
Gloria Stark cannot grieve her daughter’s death because of her rocky relationship, which reflects poorly in the public eye. Internalizing the trauma, Gloria faces detectives questioning divulging another side of Karina, complicating the investigation. Fans and police alike believe the lies Karina published, making her diary key evidence in her murder and her mother the prime suspect. No one believes Gloria as she defends herself, stating how Karina plagiarized her best-selling song from a schoolmate with Asperger’s syndrome or that her portrayal of a victim of abuse and a vegan activist is a farse to appeal to her fans. With all fingers pointing to Gloria Stark, it is up to her and a small group of friends to gather clues and discover the truth behind Karina’s tragic death.
“UnRip” takes readers on a journey into the complicated life of the lead singer of a Dublin rock band that is willing to do anything for fame. The character Karina Stark is well-written, and her situation is believable as the singer rebels against authority and lashes out at parental figures in her songs. The popularity explosion with the publication of her diary and the power of social media proves death is the ultimate price to pay to reach stardom.
Gloria Stark is a character I had a hard time relating to as it was personally hard to imagine a mother not being heartbroken and distraught over the death of her child, regardless of the state of the relationship at the time of one’s death. Gloria’s nonchalant attitude and her “poor me, my daughter was mean to me” victimization behavior was not something I could empathize with. Although the story has the potential to be great, for me it fell a bit short as the focus was not what I expected. At first, I thought I was reading a paranormal thriller, but then the story became a true crime drama that concentrated on the mother’s feelings rather than solving the crime. I would like to have seen less time spent on Gloria’s love life and more background on the killer’s mindset and fan fascination with Karina.
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