Friday, November 1, 2019

Review: Followers - Megan Angelo

by Megan Angelo
Publishing: January 14, 2020 by Graydon House
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

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.


4 Stars
Orla Cadden wants to be a writer, but not just the gossip column writer she is today, she wants to be known in the literary world. A publishing deal seems impossible until her wanna-be famous roommate shares a plan that could catapult them both into success. Floss is willing to throw ethics out the window for her A-List dreams and Orla finds herself along for the ride, her social media smarts catapulting them both into stardom. The fame, though, is not what it seems and Orla soon discovers the dark side to popularity.
Several years in the future the world has changed after a devestating event called The Spill. Young Marlow is an internet sensation, selected by the government to live in a California village where the cameras are always following you. With twelve-million followers and the perfect life, Marlow should be satisfied, but long buried secrets make her question the on screen persona hand-picked and spoon fed to her. Marlow has never lived outside the private village, but in her desperate hunt for answers she flees security for the unknown.
Orla, Floss, and Marlow once lived for followers, but while popularity is a powerful drug, there is a dangerous side to obsession.

"It's not good to be a follower."

Followers is one of those books that stays with you, because it is almost too believable. The settings are places we know and the future state of America feels like something that could easily occur. It's a profound story that's layered and complex, with just a hint of science fiction to take this story into the scary future Megan Angelo created. Main narrators, Orla and Marlow, are complicated women, each feels held captive by their own lives, but their thoughts are colorful and intelligent. They envision something different for themselves and as the book progresses we see just how far each is willing to go to change their lives. Megan Angelo takes the role of social media influencer and fame to the next level with this twisted, realistic tale that I could not put down.

"She had grown up seeing paper as synonymous with secrets."

Culturally significant, Followers is a read that I truly think everyone needs to read. We are so attached to our phones, to the ease of access to information, and to the celebrities that give us regular glimpses into their lives. We know what will get the most likes, we can name the latest famous baby, but do we even know our own best friend's birthday without the help of social media? It is a poignant reminder of just how much the world has changed, and in such a short period of time, since the creation of the Internet, computers, and cell phones. The Spill, a significant incident in this book, was not quite what I expected it to be, but as a reader I could easily take the events and imagine something quite similar and significant happening today. I loved the brain fog that regular phone and computer users experienced in their later lives, their forgetful nature something that made me think quite a bit about how much I rely on searching the web for answers. The ending, though quite simple, was a nice wrap up for such a fast paced, suspenseful read.

"There were so many ways what happened next might not have happened."

Followers by Megan Angelo is already in the running for one of my favorite 2020 releases. Megan Angelo showcases her incredible writing talent in this well-plotted novel that held my attention from start to finish. Followers, the word itself used in several clever ways throughout the novel, is a story that has left a lasting impact on me, ironically since I did indeed read it on a tablet.

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