#ATBR2020 – Followers by Megan Angelo

Released yesterday!

Thanks to Graydon House for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

FOLLOWERS – Megan Angelo (Released January 14th, 2020)

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Book Description:

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever.

Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars

Hasn’t it already started? Where the internet famous are the royalty of the people these days?  Followers takes it to a new level where the not so distant future actually places people (the elite) right into their own stardom.  But, as always, what you see isn’t always reality.  There certainly are positives and negatives on each side.  Seemingly, every one still just wants what they can’t have.  The grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s still grown from shit.

I’m very impressed with this debut novel.  As the author takes us in dual time lines, I was a bit confused at first and actually thought the future internet stars weren’t even real – that they were like SIM characters… don’t ask – my brain is weird.  But once I figured it all out – PHEW.  And the fact that this is pretty damn plausible.. well, it’s a bit frightening quite honestly.  While I love social media, and I do, I think if I had to choose between having my entire life constantly being filmed and scripted to having my privacy… well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really enjoyed keeping things closer to the vest.

I did feel the book was a bit drawn out.  Unfortunately I felt my attention ebb and flow throughout the read.  Sometimes I was really intrigued with Marlow and other times I was more intrigued with Orla.  I didn’t connect with either character, but I also don’t need to connect always to enjoy a book.  There was just *something* missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.  The lesson is great with this read and I’m certainly glad that I read it.  However, I think that while the social construct is clear, I think I was expecting something a little different and it didn’t quite resonate with me like I wish it had.

My Thoughts: 4.5/5 stars

Talk about a debut novel! I couldn’t believe that this was Megan Angelo’s debut – it was thought-provoking, suspenseful at times, and an intriguing topic. FOLLOWERS makes the readers examine our world of social media, reliance on technology, and the world of celebrities and influencers. I loved the dual timelines and getting a glimpse into the possibilities and consequences we can have in the decades to come with how much we put into social media.

We meet Marlow, Orla, and Floss – some very unique names from the author – and their journeys with social media and all that it has to offer. The good and the bad. As we see all the time now, one wrong photo or message can spiral a person’s career and reputation, but at the same time it can propel you into celebrity status. Our story is split into two timelines – the mid-2010’s and decades into the future. Seeing the author’s thoughts on where social media can go and might go.

Overall, like I had mentioned before, this was really thought-provoking. How far IS social media going to go? What’s going to happen with our dwindling privacy from the world? Are likes and followers going to have more control over what we do? It raises so many questions and I both loved it and was scared by it. The potentials are endless and the author’s take didn’t feel entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Memorable characters – all with their own distinct personalities and wit. There’s plenty of suspense and that ending was great! The only reason I took off a little was because it took me longer than I anticipated to get into the story. Who knows, could have been me and the mood I was in or if I was distracted by other things. However, once I did get into it, it was hard to put down!

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