Primary Genre(s): Contemporary Thriller, Mystery
Published: 10 Mar 2020 by Crooked Lane Books (U.S.), originally 22 Aug 2019 by Quercus
Page count: 352
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Would I recommend it: Probably
Commission Link: Buy Unfollow Me
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
You can’t stop watching her. Violet Young is a hugely popular journalist-turned-mummy-vlogger, with three young children, a successful husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her everyday life unfold. Until the day she’s no longer there. One day she disappears from the online world – her entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or has something more sinister happened to her? But do you really know who Violet is?
Told from the perspectives of her most avid fans, obsessed with finding out the truth, their search quickly reveals a web or lies, betrayal, and shocking consequences.
I have rated most of the books I’ve read lately at 2- and 3-stars. I’ve been craving a really great book and I thought I found it with this one! And I did… almost. Here are my pros and cons for Unfollow Me:
- I am a HUGE unreliable narrator fan. I love wondering if what I am reading is real or not, and when unreliable narration is done well I am in heaven! The two lead characters in this book (Yvonne and Lily), while perhaps not 100% unreliable narrators by definition, at least had a propensity to omit information and skew truth to their benefit. I enjoyed the uncertainty.
- The pacing in this book is spot on! It moved along quickly, but critical elements to the story were scattered throughout randomly and slowly (see Pro #3). I thought the tension and mystery of what was going on was developed very well. I was definitely engaged with the characters and intrigued by the story.
- I love how the author dropped new little nuggets of information into a seemingly boring moment in the book – nuggets that revealed a whole new dimension to the story. These sudden, but powerful, revelations really made the book interesting to me.
- Yvonne and Lily were fantastic characters. I thought their character development was well-done. Oddly, I found myself sympathizing with them, but I was also just a bit scared of them, too.
- I thought the intimate and emotional observation of motherhood was interesting. We learn about issues facing single mothers, women trying to conceive, and a vlogger mom who some believe exploits her children for the sake of internet revenue and fame. There are multiple motherhood/parenting issues that are included in this book and I appreciated how the author treated the issues seriously.
- This is also an interesting look at the influencer and social media culture we live in. How much “sharing” is too much? What happens when fans don’t know how to maintain a distance (physical and emotional) from internet famous personalities? Is it normal behavior to be obsessed with a YouTube personality? Interesting topics for debate and this book delved into all of them.
- Remember when you were a little kid and you are watching someone set off fireworks – like bottle rockets or roman candles – and you were just fraught with anticipation waiting for that flame to reach the firework and explode into a burst of color in front of you? So exciting, right? BUT… occasionally there is a dud and nothing happens. No explosion, no bright colors, no pop… just nothing. Super disappointing! That is how this book was for me. I was getting revved up, wondering what was going on, reading way past my bed time anxious to get to the end, dying to discover the big reveal, craving that exciting conclusion I just knew was coming… and then POOF! Absolutely nothing exciting happens. The ending was banal, ordinary, unimaginative, and so incredibly disappointing. All that build up with potentially TWO unreliable narrators and all I get was basically a “reasonable explanation” for what is going on all along. I was so angry at the end of this book. I really felt let down.
I loved this book. I really did… until the last 20 pages or so. It went from a solid 5-star read for me down to a 3 in one fell swoop. Maybe I should have only dropped it to a 4, because I really did like a lot of things about this book… but I’m still kind of angry about the boring ending so I’m sticking with 3.
I likely would recommend this book to others, not only because of all the Pros I noted above, but also to find out if the ending affects others the way it affected me. I often wonder if I am being overly critical, but I committed to writing reviews that include honest feelings and thoughts about what I read and I was honestly disappointed with the conclusion of this novel.
Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Unfollow Me. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)