Follow Me Back Review!

Follow Me Back

Genre : Young Adult

Synopsis : Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

First and foremost I’d like to thank Netgalley for sending me this copy for review.

I’m not sure how to approach this review because while this was a solid read for me, it’s not something I would particularly pick up on my own. I don’t think the synopsis was misleading but I requested to review the book based on the cover. I think we can all agree that the cover of Follow Me Back is extremely interesting. The two main characters are Tessa and Eric. Tessa suffers from agoraphobia, this is a condition that prevents her from leaving her home due to a traumatic event. Eric is a pop star, very reminiscent of Justin Bieber, and is under constant paranoia because a fellow pop star was murdered recently by a stan (stalker-fan). I’m no celebrity so I can’t speak on behalf of what it is like to live that type of lifestyle but I do think that the author seemed to capture that aspect of the story very well. I didn’t like Eric’s personality by any means. I know he is a teenager and therefore angst-y, I just really disliked him overall. Throughout the book he is basically reverse catfishing Tessa. I felt like this aspect really dragged on and the love story was very cliche. On the other hand, I loved Tessa’s character. I really felt like I could connect to her because I have severe panic and anxiety disorder, something that was fueling her agoraphobia. Tessa starts out with having a very emotionally abusive boyfriend in the beginning of the novel, which I thought was never properly addressed. He seemed like a filler character but I personally would have liked more on his behalf. At least someone acknowledging the fact that he was abusive in a way. Tessa’s mother was very absent as she seemed to be a hard working single mother but I hated the way that she was portrayed without any acknowledgment of how actually horrible she was. Any mother that is getting verbally and noticeably frustrated at their daughter for having a disorder and being unable to leave their house is borderline child abuse. Tessa’s mother knew something clearly horrible had occurred to make Tessa become this way and yet she treated her like disorder was a pest and actively showed how disappointed she was in her daughter for not being able to concur her anxieties quicker. I would have loved to see Tessa confront her mother or even speak to her therapist about how she felt when her mother belittled her for not recovering at the pace her mother preferred.

While those problems were minor inconveniences for me and didn’t really take away from the reading experience, Tessa’s therapist was frightening. There were a few red flags in the beginning of the novel (the therapist urging Tessa to talk to strangers on social media to help with her disorder) but the real kicker happened at the end and I feel like I NEED to address it for future readers. This behavior is NOT okay in a therapist.

MINOR SPOILERS ARE COMING

Tessa’s therapist agreed and encouraged Tessa to meet the stranger that she had been speaking to through twitter and even drove her to pick up said stranger. This all happened without the consent of Tessa’s mother as well. NO MATTER HOW COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR THERAPIST YOU ARE, DO NOT GET INTO A VEHICLE WITH THEM. THAT IS NOT THEIR JOB. DO NOT MEET STRANGERS BECAUSE YOUR THERAPIST SAID IT WAS A GOOD IDEA. Not only did this happen but the therapist picked up the stranger and then DROPPED THEM OFF AT TESSA’S HOUSE ALONE TOGETHER WITHOUT HER MOTHER BEING PRESENT. This is so harmful for teens who may be reading this and going through similar therapies or just therapy in general. There are rules in place for what a therapist should and could do with their patient, I want to make it plain and clear that none of this was acceptable or safe.

Now that we got that out of the way, there was a mystery aspect to this story that had me hooked. The ending came to a complete shock for me and once it was all wrapped up nicely with a bow, we got thrown a HUGE cliffhanger. I did enjoy reading this book and I would recommend it to others with the thought in mind that they are aware that a therapist should not be, in any way, like the one in this novel. I will be picking up the next book because I have to know how this is all going to turn out.

Three stars

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Little Black Lies – Book Review

Little Black Lies

I decided to pick up Little Black Lies by Sandra Block because I was approved for the third book in this series on Netgalley. When I initially requested the third book in the Zoe Goldman series I didn’t know that there were two books that came before The Secret Room. I’ve been itching to start knocking out my Netgalley reviews and therefore needed to catch up on this series to do that accurately.

This is a mystery novel about a resident in training on a psychiatric ward named Zoe Goldman. Zoe is taking care of a patient named Sofia. Sofia is in the psychiatric ward because two decades ago she killed her own mother but she now appears docile and ready to be released. Meanwhile, Zoe is going through her own troubles because her adoptive mother has dementia and Zoe is trying to find out more information about her birth mother. Zoe starts digging into her own past to find this information and this is where the story takes off.

The first couple chapters of this were hard for me to stomach because I felt that the author didn’t give off good representation for the LGBTQ+ character she included. I decided to move past this and keep going forward as I do have two more books in the series to review. After I finished the book I was happy that I pushed forth because overall I thought her characters she wrote were very well rounded and vibrant. I felt like I knew each character, no matter how minor, very intimately. I particularly loved Zoe’s brother and his devil may care attitude.

While most of this story is focusing on Zoe’s search for information on her birth mother, there is a small love story on the back burner. Zoe is bouncing back and forth between wanting her very “sexy” French ex boyfriend and wanting to just move on. This part of the story doesn’t take up much room and I was pleased to see that. It was just enough love to make the reader care but it didn’t steal the show by any means.

Also you have the patient Sofia and her story to try and decode. This is basically two mysteries in one book. I wanted to comment on how well the pacing was done in this book. When you throw in so much information and searching into a mystery book it’s hard to get the correct pacing down, for me anyway. I get extremely bored of the endless search for answers and that’s why I don’t prefer to ready mystery novels. This book wasn’t like that. Everything was paced beautifully and I never found myself bored.

The ending of this book was wrapped up neat with a bow and I wasn’t sure if I appreciated that or not. While it’s a nice conclusion to a book it’s just something I’m not used to in my everyday reading. Without any spoilers, the mystery was solved very conveniently but I do have do admit that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. Overall I think this is a very solid and quick read. For mystery enthusiasts I could see this series becoming a favorite. As for me I will continue on with Zoe Goldman and her story.

Three stars