For her fortieth birthday, Livia is throwing herself the party she never had on her wedding day. Hastily marrying Adam due to an unexpected pregnancy, Livia has been waiting for and anticipating this day for twenty-two years, putting aside money to pay for a lavish party with all her friends and family there.
All of her family except her daughter, Marnie. Marnie is studying abroad and can’t justify the expense or time-off from her studies to come home for the party.
Set the day of the party and unfolding hour-by-hour like an episode of 24, B.A. Paris’ The Dilemma finds storm clouds gathering on the horizon the day of Livia’s big party. Both Livia and Adam know a secret — a secret which could devastate the other if found out and would certainly taint the party and the long-anticipated celebration. But as the day unfolds, can Livia and Adam keep those secrets. And if they do, will keeping them hurt them more in the long run? Continue reading
Audrey Miller is the queen of social media, chronicling her life to millions of followers. Her carefully cultivated on-line person is finally opening doors in the real world, landing her a high-profile job at a Washington museum as the queen-bee of their social media presence.
But Audrey’s huge following and thousands of likes come with a downside — it’s left her vulnerable to an on-line admirer who is willing and ready to cross the line from fan to sinister stalker. Moving to D.C., Audrey finds herself in the orbit of her workaholic friend, Cat, and her ex-boyfriend who she keeps finding her way back into bed with.
Kathleen Barber’s Follow Me is a compulsively readable, grim reminder of just how much of our privacy we can willing give up these days in order to gain followers, likes, or comments. The first half of the book is page-turningly fascinating as we jump from chapters from Audrey, Cat, and the stalker’s perspective. There are times when the story reaches chilling heights and there are multiple suspects as to the real identity of the Audrey’s on-line stalker.
It’s once Follow Me reaches the final third and answers start to be revealed that the book goes a bit off the rails. For one thing, Audrey is so self-absorbed that it becomes harder and harder to feel sympathy for her. It also feels as if the final few pages of the novel try too hard to keep us in the dark as to who the stalker really is — and once we get the reveal, it’s not quite as satisfying as it could or should have been.
By the last third of the novel, the most interesting and honest character of Cat is relegated to the sidelines.
And yet, there is still something sinister in the warnings given here. It may make you re-examine just how much of yourself you’re posting in our new digital world.
As a summer read, this one is breezy and light. It feels a bit like the far better You, without necessarily making us root for the anti-hero stalker at its core.
Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer, 2020 Edition.
While I’m a bit late to the party, I am going to join retroactively. Continue reading