Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Happy Thursday! Once we get through today, then we’ll only have one more day until the weekend. Unless you’re one of those lucky butts that get every other Friday off and tomorrow is your off day. Then happy early weekend.

Today I have a book that I heard about, ironies of ironies, on Twitter. You’ll understand once you read this review.

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Title: Follow Me Back {368 pgs.}

Genre: Young Adult/Thriller

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Summary:

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…

Quick storytime: When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I was obsessed with Jonathan Brandis {under the age of 30? Google him}. I had every Bop, Teen Beat, and Tiger Beat poster of him, and I used to watch Ladybugs and Sidekicks religiously. I even watched Seaquest DSV even though I was terrified of the ocean. I wrote to him once, sending off the letter to a PO Box that I had convinced myself was his home address. He never wrote back, and that sucked when I thought about it, but that didn’t mean I stopped obsessing over him. I was madly in love until the day he died.

In the 90s, it was letter writing. Now, it’s Twitter.

Tessa suffers from agoraphobia and can barely step outside of her bedroom without having an anxiety attack. So she spends her time on Twitter, obsessing over her celebrity crush, Eric Thorn, the hottest singer in the world. Or that’s how it feels. But on the other side of the Twitterverse, Eric Thorn is lonely and angry, terrified of his mostly female fanbase because of the recent murder of another popstar at the hands of a crazed fan. Eric detests most of the girls who tweet at him, so he creates a second account to tell those girls exactly what he feels. Except…he doesn’t. He chooses one, Tessa, the girl who created the hashtag EricThornObsessed based on her popular fanfic. The more they talk, though, the more Eric falls for her, and the deeper Tess falls for Taylor, the name Eric has chosen for his secret second account.

But danger seems to lurk from every corner for these two, and while they try to navigate the new world that they’ve created for themselves, they can’t put aside the fact that looking over their shoulders is a common occurrence for them both.

Let me just get this out of the way: Twitter is a scary place. It’s wonderful if you’re not a hateful troll that only wants to make people angry at you being a jerk, but it’s really scary, too. I could get on there right now and say anything to millions of strangers {well, I’m not that popular, but you get the gist}. I could start a war on Twitter or threaten a favorite celebrity with some kind of creepiness. Eric’s tweets reach hundreds of thousands of people, and the people who respond don’t seem to care about what he says, but more about him seeing them.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be seen?

This story is told through narrative, tweets, and police transcripts. We get Tessa’s daily life in her room, Eric’s crazy whirlwind of a life, and then everything that happens in between. This is why I’m also putting it under the thriller section: the police transcripts hint at something sinister happening, but we have no idea until the end, yet I still tried to solve the mystery with what little hints I was given. It’s in my DNA.

My first dip into the Wattpad pool came a couple of years ago, when one of my students told me I had to read a popular fanfic about one of her favorite bands. I had no idea what Wattpad was, let alone a fanfic, but I went anyway, because I love my students. The story was terrible, mainly because these were real people this person was writing about and she was making them do horrible things. She made him into this psychopathic love machine, and it was so embarrassing to read the violence he incited and the love the main character continually harbored for him {no, it wasn’t Fifty Shades of Grey, although it felt interchangeable}. Like, it was terrible because I put myself in this celebrity’s shoes and felt absolutely ashamed at some of the things she made him do.

Happily, this second time was a lot better. A.V. Geiger’s writing shows that, maybe, she has been obsessed with a celebrity before {you’re lying if you said you’ve never had a crush on a celebrity}, but she also writes Eric’s sheltered and crazed life like she’s lived that, too. It’s insightful and sweet and funny and terrifying, and it does keep you guessing until the very last line {because did I forget to mention that this is Follow Me Back #1? I did? Probably because I cried a little knowing that I’d have to wait to find out what happens}. Basically, she’s awesome, and I’m so glad that I found this book on Twitter and that NetGalley deemed me worthy enough to receive a galley of it.

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