Originally published: 9 January 2020
Author: Megan Angelo
Published by: HQ Stories
Length: 384 pages
Reading dates: 25-30 December 2019
In 2015 we follow aspiring writer Orla in New York as she makes ends meet being an entertainment blogger for website site Lady-ish, writing gossip about 2nd rate celebrities. Sharing her small apartment with party animal Floss, but rarely seeing her, one day she bumps into her arriving at an event she is covering and Floss sees an opportunity to become famous, to achieve the A-list status she aspires to. Using Orla’s skills, she soon becomes the biggest 2nd rate celebrity around, getting sent free stuff, being invited to events and generally being well known for not doing much. When Floss meets Aston, they agree to do a “docuseries” about them falling in love and it seems there will be no end to how far they can climb.
In 2051 we meet Marlow, who lives in the closed community of Constellation. A giant continuous reality TV show, everyone who lives there is on camera all the time, their every move monitored by their followers. Marlow and her parents arrived at Constellation when it was set up so Marlow has grown up and married under the watchful eye of the cameras and her followers (around 12 million of them). Marlow’s mother loves being in the spotlight, but Marlow is starting to find it difficult. When the producers decide her plotline will involve having a baby and she discovers a shattering secret about her birth, it is enough to make her want to escape.
This was fab! I love dystopian fiction and this could easily have been an episode of Black Mirror. The friendship between Floss and Orla was at times touching but mostly was quite cut-throat – both using the other for what they could get. It was interesting seeing the rise of Floss as a social media star – we are used to seeing people who seem to be famous for no reason and seeing it from the other side was an interesting look at how social media can be use to this end.
Although I was sure there must be a link between Orla’s and Marlow’s stories, I couldn’t figure out what it might be. There is talk in both stories about something that happened in 2016 called The Spill…I won’t go into it here but it is revealed later in the book and it is frankly terrifying.
There are lots of themes covered in this book including friendship, but also our usage of social media and what the future consequences of using our smartphones might be. The thought of a whole town being followed on social media feels really believable to me – what with Big Brother and Love Island, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one day this became our reality!
A thrilling and exciting read, this is a great book for lovers of dystopian and is maybe a reminder that we shouldn’t live our lives through the online world!
Many thanks to Jessica at HQ Stories for sending me an advance copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. Don’t forget to check out the other great bloggers below!
About the author:
Megan has written about television, film, women and pop culture, and motherhood for publications including The New York Times (where she helped launch city comedy coverage), Glamour (where she was a contributing editor and wrote a column on women and television), Elle, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Slate. She is a native of Quakertown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Villanova University. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family. FOLLOWERS is her first novel.