Cover Girl Gone Viral: A polaroid of a man and woman looking at each other.

About the Book

Title: Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2)
Published: 2020
Series: Modern Love
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

First Impressions: Inaccurate
What’s Your Type?
Slow burn, friends to lovers, protective men, overcoming traumatic pasts, forced proximity, flirting with hay, you love the movie The Bodyguard
The Lean:
Pine Away
We Need to Talk:
Emotionally Raw
Was It Good For You? 
Climb On In

Trigger Warning: There are some depictions of emotional abuse by a parent, and PTSD flashbacks caused by experiences a character had in war.

First Impressions: Inaccurate

It’s clearly part of the same series as The Right Swipe and I appreciate that. Cartoon Jas and Katrina are super cute—though they would NEVER pose for an Instagram photo. 

What’s Your Type?

  • Slow burn, friends to lovers
  • Protective men
  • Overcoming traumatic pasts
  • Forced proximity
  • Flirting with hay
  • You love the movie The Bodyguard

Dating Profile

Katrina King gained some notoriety as a model in her younger years before marrying an insanely wealthy older man to escape her father’s abuse. After her husband died, she moved to a secluded compound and invested her money wisely in worthy start-ups, like her friend Rhiannon’s dating app. She’s finally worked through many of her intimacy issues to realize she’s lonely for a certain kind of companionship.

Jas Singh was a former soldier-turned-bodyguard for Katrina’s husband, and after Hardeep passed she kept Jas on as the head of her private security. Not that Jas would’ve gone anywhere, because he’s been in love with Katrina King since practically the moment they met. He’d never do anything inappropriate to jeopardize his work relationship with Katrina, but when he hears she’s thinking of dating again, he can’t help but feel like he’s missed his shot.

Meet Cute

Jas and Katrina have known each other for almost ten years, so this is definitely a different kind of set up compared to the beginning of The Right Swipe, which started with a one-night stand. They have a solid employee/employer relationship, but lately Katrina has NOT been able to keep her eyes off Jas’ perfectly formed ass or the way he fills out those white button-downs so nicely. She’s realizing she’s been secretly in love with him for years, but she’s terrified to confess and scare off the one solid man she has in her life. Plus, she’s well aware she’s his boss, so she doesn’t want to cross any lines.

But then the “incident” changes things. An innocent conversation at a coffee shop between Katrina and cute-but-doofy stranger is turned into a faux rom-com by some attention-seeker’s twitter storm, complete with potentially damaging photos of Katrina. Now a woman obsessed with her anonymity is suddenly threatened with viral exposure—her worst nightmare. Katrina is desperate to get away, and the only place Jas can think of? His family’s isolated peach farm in Northern California, where he owns a house he never visits.

The Lean: Pine Away

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

I love a good pining situation, especially when the couple is forced together in unusual circumstances. Jas and Katrina are the only ones staying in his old family home, so compared to her compound where he has his own space to retreat to, they are suddenly all up in each other’s business. They both have their own hang ups that prevent them from making the first move or even realizing that they’re both warm for each other’s forms. Gimme all the tension!

They got together almost a little too early for my tastes, especially since I knew once they gave in to their passion it was going to be a done deal. But there was enough outside stuff for them to work through that it didn’t bother me too much.

Dirty Talk

“You don’t have to be gentle. Pull my hair. Show me what you like.” His words were muffled against her body, the puffs of air from his breath hitting her in a spot that made her body shake.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
His dark gaze met hers. He turned his head and nibbled at her inner thigh, making her stomach clench. “I don’t mind that kind of hurt.”

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

Nitpick, but at one point Jas “lifted her breasts and licked each nipple” and something about the term “lifted her breasts” is distinctly NOT sexy.

We Need To Talk: Emotionally Raw

It’s Alisha Rai, so we’re gonna get our romance with a side of serious talk. Katrina’s past abuse combined with her panic attacks has made a hot mess of her psyche that’s taken years of therapy and quiet to heal. Luckily for her, she has the time and money to do so. She’s a very giving sort of soul, which pairs perfectly with Jas, who is also a nurturing sort, albeit the strong silent kind. Jas suffers from PTSD after a mission gone wrong where he had to testify a fellow soldier. He doesn’t trust many people and hardly anyone knows what he really went through. His family was a delight, even his rambunctious grandfather, and I liked how the forced proximity brought them into contact with Katrina long before Jas would have EVER let them meet.

There’s also plenty of discussion about internet infamy and the idea of social media consent. This book is, I’m going to guess, strongly based on that incident that happened on a plane about a year or so ago where a passenger live-tweeted about what she thought was a “meet cute” happening in the row in front of her. (If it wasn’t, then Rai is a prophet.) She took pictures and wrote out their conversations while hypothesizing about their burgeoning relationship, and it got a ton of views and news coverage. We all love a good love story, but in reality that isn’t what happened for those strangers OR for Katrina and the surfer bro she met at a café. And, hey, even if it WAS the beginning of a beautiful relationship, they did not give permission for anyone else to share in their story but themselves.

I also liked seeing a bit more of the characters from the first book, and I was also trying to figure out who we would focus on next. Will it be Jia, the silly but savvy YouTube star Rhiannon brought from home to live with them (she’s the sister of a character from a previous Rai series)? One of Katrina’s investment employees?

Was It Good For You? Climb On In

Jessica Alba flips the covers open and gestures to come here.

It was! Though if you’re looking for a light, fluffy beach read, this ain’t gonna be it. There’s fun moments, to be sure, and the romance is satisfying and sweet, but it’s a hard-won happy ending for two emotionally fragile people who have been through the wringer and come out (eventually) stronger. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Avon. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Girl Gone Viral is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.