Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

I requested this book because it's about social media and I am so about that, thanks to one of my tutorials when I was in uni. Normally I read all the non-fiction stuff so it's pretty fun to read fiction where it plays a huge role for a change.

Friend Request starts when Louise gets a request from Maria, a girl that she used to go to school with. That would be quite normal and in line with the purposes of Facebook if it wasn't for the fact that Maria died while they were at school. And truth be told, Louise bullied Maria. Sure, she was 'forced' into it because she wanted to keep her precarious position in the social order (and Louise does genuinely regret it), but as far as anyone knows, Louise was a bully.

This request sends Louise spiraling, as messages from Maria arrive and she's forced to confront the past that she's been running from. A class reunion only provides more trouble and (mild spoiler) when someone is murdered, things take a decided turn for the worse.

For the most part, the book is told in first person from Louise's point of view. It alternates between the present and the past, but most of the action takes place in the present. There are also a few sections where the narration suddenly shifts to third person - I think this was done to heighten tension but all it did for me was to break the narrative flow and I ended up skipping those sections.

Where this book shines is in the relationships between the characters. Friend Request does a good job of showing us how toxic friendships can leave lasting impact, and the hold that your school experiences can have on you. I thought Louise was a very sympathetic character and a good example of someone who did awful things but is now trying her best to overcome her past.

I think this is a pretty good mystery featuring social media. I guess it's going to feel relevant as long as Facebook is the dominant platform, but even if Facebook itself becomes passe, I think the issues of being bullied, having toxic friends, trying to overcome your past will always stay relevant.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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