Romance (Teen)

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I thought this would be an interesting take on the way social media allows people to connect with each other, and the way that social media can become a dangerous place. I have to admit that my own social media accounts are quite sparse; I rarely use Instagram or Facebook and I don’t even have a Twitter account. I wanted to get a feel for the Twitter-verse … so what better way than through an interesting teen thriller? Here is my review:

Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. But through Twitter and the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn, the world has opened up. She looks forward to his rare tweets to his fans: it makes her feel like his message is just for her.

For Eric Thorn, social media is a nightmare – and so are his obsessive fans. Their devotion can get frightening and he doesn’t feel comfortable engaging with these teenage girls. It doesn’t help that his PR team doesn’t understand his reluctance and wants him to encourage his fans’ fantasies. When a fellow pop star is murdered by an obsessive fan, Eric knows he needs to do something to ruin his online image fast. His plan? Take down one of his top Twitter followers.  But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Wow. I wasn’t expecting this novel to be … so … bad. In the beginning, I was intrigued because the first chapter opens up with a police transcript. Immediately, the reader knows that things get serious. However, as the story continues, it becomes apparent that this is nothing more than just some fanfiction romance. This novel reads like fanfiction. And it’s not even GOOD fanfiction! We have a whiny, condescending pop star with an irrational fear of his fans. We have a PR team with no empathy, or conscience whatsoever. And we have an insipid fandom that apparently consists only of shallow girls. Oh, except for our one unique fan, Tessa, our snowflake. This bothered me so much because fandoms are really not like that at all. I’m not very involved with any fandom but I know that there are a lot of fans who take the time to get to know the celebrities they love, who analyze their work, and who really appreciate the celebrity for their art and for their personality. It’s not just “about the abs” as Eric depicts it in the book. This novel suggests that it is going to be a thriller but is really just a romance. At the 80% mark, we finally see the thriller that we are promised but it is really badly executed. We have the introduction of a random character with their random plan that was not properly incorporated at any point in the story. It was just such a mess, and it was so confusing to read. And then there is another cringe-worthy romance scene, followed by another twist. And the story ends as a cliffhanger, with the promise of a sequel. It was just too much for me to handle. My concluding thoughts? This is just some really bad fanfiction that is full of cringe-worthy and hard-to-believe romance (seriously, these characters DO NOT understand what love is) and a last minute thriller thrown in as an attempt to satisfy readers. I will not be reading the sequel and I will not be recommending this novel to anyone. 1/5 stars from me.

 

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