FOLLOWERS BY MEGAN ANGELO
Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it's only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretence of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.
Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.
Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.
I love dystopian future books and movies. It probably says something worrying about me because they're nearly always disaster related but let's not read into that too much...
I think a book like this is extra powerful because it isn't too farfetched and you can actually see it happening. Similar to The One and They Both Die at the End, Followers puts the reader in an uncomfortable but eye opening position and makes us really sit back and think about where we could be in 5, 10, 50 years!
Followers is a story of obsession, betrayal, greed and the lengths people will go to in order to get what they want. It gives an unsettling insight into what we have become and where we could end up. The premise of the book felt so real. What Angelo describes and how she illustrated it is our every day live; reality TV, influencers, people being famous for being famous, people sharing everything with the world - I will put up my hand and admit to being 100% guilty on that. It does make you think about why we now have this need to feel like we have to constantly share. Privacy no longer seems to be a top priority for many people.
I think one of the strongest elements of the books are the characters. Firstly, there are enough of them that you have to remember their names but their personalities are so strong and distinct, that you don't need to go back a few chapters and try to remember who this person is. There is nothing worse than being halfway through a book and a familiar name comes and you have no idea what part they play in the story.
Secondly, when it comes to the characters, our main 3; Orla, Marlow and Floss, are very strong and really hold their own throughout the book. I really disliked Floss but we were meant to dislike her, so Angelo did a perfect job at portraying her. I went through periods of feeling sorry for Orla and Marlow but then equally frustrated with them at other points. They were so real and so perfectly embodied how so many of us think and live.
I liked how the stories switched from Orla in 2015 to Marlow in 2051. You knew they would come together at some point and couldn't wait to see what the climactic event would be. In the end, I would say I was a little disappointed...I thought the reveal of the Spill would be more dramatic and exciting and I also thought whatever would bring bring the 2 stories together would be more explosive and jaw dropping. The end did have good closure but it wasn't as gripping or exciting as I hoped it would be.
If you're into dystopian future stories, I would still give it a read. The concept is so interesting and it really makes you think. I for one, need to value my privacy a lot more and really think about what I share and who I share it with. The story doesn't leave you feeling helpless and terrified about what's to come but it does leave you with a deeper sense of yourself.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
'They might have had all of the followers, but they never finished chasing.'
Orla, she felt the most real and was also the one I got the least annoyed at!
SPOILERS INCLUDED BELOW
Don't read the below section if you haven't read the book yet. This section goes into more detail on certain things that I'd be curious to know if others who read the book felt the same.
1. Marlow's Real Parents - As soon as Orla realised she was pregnant, I assumed she was Marlow's mum - we already knew Aston wasn't her dad but nothing had put any doubt on Floss yet, but I still had a feeling.
2. The Spill - I immediately started thinking about how compromised I'd be if the Spill actually happened. Especially when you think of all of those embarrassing photos and videos from your university days.