Perfect for Fans of Skins and Euphoria | Review: We Were Promised Spotlights by Lindsay Sproul

7:07 PM

This one won't be for everyone, but I definitely appreciated We Were Promised Spotlights for what it was!


The Miseducation of Cameron Post meets Everything Leads to You in this queer young adult novel.

Taylor Garland's good looks have earned her the admiration of everyone in her small town. She's homecoming queen, the life of every party, and she's on every boy's most-wanted list.

People think Taylor is living the dream, and assume she'll stay in town and have kids with the homecoming king--maybe even be a dental hygienist if she's super ambitious. But Taylor is actually desperate to leave home, and she hates the smell of dentists' offices. Also? She's completely in love with her best friend, Susan.

Senior year is almost over, and everything seems perfect. Now Taylor just has to figure out how to throw it all away.

Lindsay Sproul's debut is full of compelling introspection and painfully honest commentary on what it's like to be harnessed to a destiny you never wanted.

We Were Promised Spotlights by Lindsay Sproul 
Rating: ★★★☆☆

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

First things first: if you're looking for teenagers who act like teenagers, you'll likely appreciate this one! We Were Promised Spotlights accurately portrays a specific lifestyle of one category of teenagers of the era it's set in. At times, its characters can be unlikable and cringy and immature but this is what makes it stand out as realistic. Lindsay Sproul's prose is lively and humorous, with just the right amount of real life issues sprinkled in for good measure.

A lot of concerns I've seen about the novel itself are much of the same. Too much problematic behaviors and statements. I agree that there are a lot of things in We Were Promised Spotlights that are on shaky ground. At the same time, I think in the case of this novel it makes the story more authentic to its timeline and setting.

It honestly reminds me of something that I'd have read as a teenager, in midst of my love of the Gossip Girl books and the television series Skins. Further, it was easy to feel like this was happening in my old high school--that these classmates were once mine.

We Were Promised Spotlights contradicts my opinions of it many times. I find that I neither liked nor disliked it. Yet, I wasn't indifferent, either? I could sit here and point out its flaws and its strengths, but realistically I'd be leading you in circles.

There's something about We Were Promised Spotlights that is both highly compelling and a bit underwhelming. What I appreciated most about We Were Promised Spotlights, aside from Sproul's beautiful prose, lays within the narrator herself.

Taylor Garland is refreshingly complex and flawed and, at times, absolutely awful. Dreadful. Tied deeply into stereotypes at first glance before gradually unraveling. It's in her awfulness that we see the cracks upon the surface and as we spend more and more time in her head, the more we begin to understand her. We may not always like Taylor, but we know Taylor.

Walking away from We Were Promised Spotlights I can honestly say that I didn't like Taylor but the story wouldn't be as indulgent and impactful without her as the narrator. Through the course of this novel, we see these vulnerabilities, these secrets, chip away at Taylor in a way that makes her unflinchingly real.

We Were Promised Spotlights won't be for everybody, but I think it's worth a second glance and there's something about it that felt refreshing.

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