Reading/listening to What’s Not to Love, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the early days of the Sam and Diane romance on Cheers. One scene, in particular, kept standing out, when during an argument that ends up with Sam and Diane smacking each other, Sam points out that he didn’t hit Diane as hard as he wanted to. It’s a dark moment for the show, one that indicates just how opposite these two romantic partners really are.
Of course, if you’ve watched Cheers (and if you haven’t, why are you still reading this?!? Get to streaming it immediately!), you know that Sam and Diane were on-again, off-again for several more seasons before she left.
I bring up that moment because it feels like the kind of moment you can’t really come back from — and there’s one like it in the middle of What’s Not to Love. Ethan and Allison have been rivals for all four years of high school, competing against each other with ever-increasing stakes and a blatant disregard for themselves or the people around them. Both of them want to get into Harvard and are on the school paper, which brings things to a huge boil when both parties do something equally unforgivable in an attempt to sabotage the other — again, not thinking about if or how their actions might impact other people in their lives. 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.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us what are the top ten books on your summer to-be-read list. Here are a couple of mine.
- Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
- The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
- Magic for Liars by Sarah Galley
- Recursion by Blake Crouch
- Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence
- Star Trek: Captain’s Oath by Christopher L. Bennett
- The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
- Doctor Who: Scratchman by Tom Baker (audiobook)
- Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead by Peter Grimwade (audiobook)
- The Queen Con by Meghan Scott Molin
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks which books are tops on our TBR list. I’ve already got to read one of my most anticipated books of the summer, the latest Stephen King novel, but here are some others that I’m looking forward to reading.
1. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
2. When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
3. Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned by Peter David
4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Updike
5. I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
6. Alive by Scott Sigler
7. The Fold by Peter Clines
8. Hero of the Ages by Brandon Sanderson
9. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
10. Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Agenda
Some of these are part of 20 Books of Summer Challenge. It’s going to be a good summer for reading.
So, what did I miss that I should add to TBR pile?