Thursday, June 29, 2017

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Release Date -  June 6, 2017
Publisher Website - Raincoast
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like 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…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.
Follow Me Back is the type of novel that would be at home as a television show on the CW network. A mix of mystery, twists, and romance, it will immediately appeal to those looking for their next obsession after finishing Pretty Little Liars. This novel looks at the dark and obsessive side of fandom and crafts an entertaining tale filled with surprises.

So much of this novel is hard to talk about because of spoilers. It, in my opinion, is better not knowing too much before reading this one and just enjoying how the story unfolds. The use of social media and police transcripts to fill in the story is well done and adds a very modern feel to the story. This narration style also ensures a quick, easy to read novel that can be devoured during a day at the beach. It's engrossing enough to keep your interest, and just offers a book that is fun to read.

Tessa has experienced something traumatic and as a result has retreated inside the safe little world of her bedroom. Barely venturing outside her room, she spends her days online and in therapy. I cannot speak to the representation of agoraphobia, but I felt Tessa's panic. A.V. Geiger manages to make you feel what Tessa is feeling. The fear, frustration, and desire to do better are all there. She blames herself for not doing better, and for the events that lead up to the way her life is now. She's a character that is easy to sympathize with, simply because you can imagine what it feels like for her.

I found the parts from Eric's point of view to be the most interesting. A huge pop star who is becoming increasingly uneasy and (at times) paranoid after the death of a fellow pop star. Everything about this was captivating. He is apprehensive about any fan interaction, and frustrated with how his team is brushing off his concerns. Combine this with him being disenchanted with his public image and the path his career has taken and he is a fascinating character study. I would easily read an entire novel based on Eric's storyline. I mean, a pop star growing increasing paranoid after the death of a fellow pop star at the hands of a fan? It has the makings of a fantastic mystery. This novel, however, veers off onto a different direction that makes this only part of the focus. I anticipate it will continue to be important in subsequent sequels as this novel doesn't provide all the answers.

The slow build romance worked for me in this case. I may not have completely bought their connection, but it certainly felt more believable that they would have feelings develop as they got to know each other, instead of the celebrity falling for his fan at first sight that Hollywood based romance arcs in novels tend to do. It allowed me to suspend a little bit more disbelief and kept me in the story.

The pacing, for me, as a bit of an issue. The beginning of this novel is so strong. I was immediately hooked and intrigued by the mystery. The middle, sadly, lags a little. It loses its pacing and it felt noticeable to me. It just doesn't feel as tight has the first part of the novel. It does regain its footing with its ending that sent my thoughts racing. It's the type of ending that makes you wish you had the sequel immediately. It packs the most punch and is something that, for me, saved the novel.

If you're looking for a fun thriller with Hollywood flair, I recommend you give this book a read. It's filled with plenty of twists and reveals and sets up the second novel in this series perfectly. It may have a bit of an issue with pacing, but this is an otherwise a solid read for those looking for something other than romances to put in their beach tote this summer.

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