A review by paigedc
Followers by Megan Angelo


A gripping, uncomfortable, and prescient story about fame, social media usage, and predictions of its impact on our future. I couldn't put it down!

Orla lives in NYC in 2015 and works as a writer at a celebrity website. She and her roommate concoct a plot to help make her roommate famous, and it's surprisingly easy, knowing how fame works in this day and age. Her chapters deal with the rise and fall of tangential fame (red carpets, reality TV deals, "keyboard warriors", network management, lackeys) and the ways she changes in relation.

Marlow lives in 2051 in Constellation, a private town where residents are filmed all the time, like The Truman Show. She is the star, and with 12 million followers, she must provide quality content to them and do whatever the network demands. No longer beholden to her phone, she listens to her "device", a chip implanted in her wrist that intuits with her brain. When Marlow finds out that some secrets from her past have been kept from her, she must decide to go off-script or stay in the limelight. Orla's and Marlow's stories converge eventually in a not-so-surprising way.

The twists in this story are not hard to see coming, but the statement the book makes is where the impact hits hardest. It is so timely and relevant and truly makes you think about the ideas of sharing online, chasing fame, and seeking approval.

"And she missed, sometimes, the power she had felt when she was young, with a phone in her hand, pretending. Pretending Floss was famous, pretending Danny was important, pretending her skin glowed golden tan with the help of a button on Instagram. Pretending followers meant something. Once in a while, she still got phantom urges: to look down at something in her hand when she found herself alone at a table, to fix her face in a way that would work for a photograph taken at arm's length, to conjure a stream of updates on how other people were doing. But every time she remembered her phone wasn't there, she felt relieved and free all over again. Like she'd been given more life to live."