Rummanah Aasi
Description: Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss's methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can't be wrong.

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 to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on 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.

Review: Megan Angelo's clever dystopian debut novel, Followers, is a social and cultural analysis on how and why we use social media. Followers has elements of the film Truman Show and George Orwell's classic dystopian 1984, but it manages to stand on its own. In alternating narratives beginning in 2015 and 2051, she creates two chilling versions of celebrity culture entrenched with technology.
  In 2015 staff blogger Orla Cadden writes for a website called Lady-ish , an online version of tabloids meets Cosmo. Orla is an aspiring and talented writer who is stuck at a dead end, soul sucking job unless she can catch a break and possibly land a literary agent. Unlike Orla, her roommate Florence "Floss" does not want to take the winded road in showcasing her talent as a singer and is willing to do anything to become a famous Kardasian type celebrity. Orla and Floss combines each others strengths (Orla's writing and social media skills and Floss's physical beauty) to create a public profile for Floss which is kicked off by a post titled “Sooo What Does The World’s Most Expensive Brow Gel Actually Do? One Instagram It Girl Finds Out” in which a Maybelline mascara tube is scrubbed off for the photo shoot. The post goes viral and soon Orla and Floss become overnight celebrity names.
   In the 2051 plot, we meet Marlow, a young wife in Constellation, California, a closed town populated with government-selected celebrities devoted entirely to the production of a reality show watched by everyone who does not live there. Marlow's story line is the most disturbing of the two as her privacy and freedom are stripped away and technology is literally embedded into people's bodies. Everything is either scripted or sponsored and all actions are curated to maintain the optimum numbers of followers.
  Both the 2015 and 2051 plots revolve around a mysterious event called the Spill, which was bit vague considering its buildup and characters' reaction to it. The alternating timelines show a cause and effect of the main characters' decisions and actions. I was less interested in the reality tv aspects of the story and more interested in the character arcs. The book is highly readable and fast paced with short chapters. This is a smart dystopian novel that asks us how addicted are we to social media, fame, and attention and to what lengths are we willing to go in order to uphold them.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, allusions to sexual situations, and a suicide is mentioned. Though it is an 'adult' book, it is has massive crossover teen appeal and is suitable for advanced high school readers.

If you like this book try: The Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, The Circle by Dave Eggers, Sociable by Rebecca Harrington, Attention: a love story by Casey Schwartz
3 Responses
  1. I keep thinking that we should all stop using FACEBOOK and see what happened to our interactions. I know I'd use the phone more.

  2. What a clever idea to take the reality TV shows and current social media stuff and make a dystopian novel out of it!

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    Ooo I like the sound of this and how it is one of those what if books. What if something like this really did happen sort of thing. Definitely gets you thinking!

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