Expected publication: out now
My Rating: 🌟🌟1/2
“I’ve never met any of them – don’t even know what they look
like – but they know more about this than anyone in my real life.”
You Can't Stop Watching Her.
Violet Young is a hugely popular
journalist-turned-mummy-vlogger, with three young children, a successful
husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her
everyday life unfold.
Until the day she's no longer there.
But one day she disappears from the online world - her
entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she
simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or
has something more sinister happened to her?
But do you really know who Violet is?
Told from the perspectives of her most avid fans, obsessed
with finding out the truth, their search quickly reveals a web of lies,
betrayal, and shocking consequences...
What attracted me to this book:
Social media is a topic that is becoming more popular in
crime fiction, and without physical boundaries it lends itself to some very
intriguing stories. I often wonder about the potential consequences of sharing
our lives so freely with random strangers, so the premise of this book
instantly drew me.
Violet Young is a “mummy blogger”, a YouTube sensation whose
honest (or not so honest) account of her post partum depression and the trials
of motherhood have earned her thousands of followers on social media. One day
she has vanished into thin air, her Instagram account has been deleted and all
her former blog posts have gone. Her followers are devastated and worried –
what has happened to Violet? And: how dare she do this to them?
From here, the story unfolds through three different POVs:
Lily and Yvonne, who are devoted Violet fans, and Henry, who is Violet’s
husband and a bit of a social media star himself. It soon becomes obvious that
they are all hiding something, which for the women may be the root of their
obsession with Violet, and for Henry something more sinister altogether.
Even as someone who has an Instagram account and a book
blog, I found Lily’s and Yvonne’s addiction to Violet’s social media accounts
fascinating in a horrified kind of way. Both women’s grief and outrage over
finding Violet gone were something to behold, and were definitely on the
boundary of being a mental health issue.
Even though I was drawn very quickly into the story, and
found the whole premise fascinating, I didn’t end up liking the book as much as
I thought I would. The story slowed significantly in the second half, and after
the initial build up of intrigue I found the ending a bit lacklustre and
unoriginal. I also quickly tired of Lily and Yvonne, who became more and more
unlikeable and strange as the story progressed.
I did, however, like the theme of addiction to social media
accounts portraying the “perfect family”, even where reality is very different.
This would make for some great bookclub discussions, especially relating to the
ethical minefield of using your children to become a social media “influencer”.
Do your kids have a right to privacy? Will this exposure of their personal
lives have lasting consequences for them in later life? I would have liked to
talk about these issues with my friends.
In summary, UNFOLLOW ME had some interesting concepts and
good material for discussion in a book group, even though I was ultimately a
bit disappointed in the book’s conclusion. Young mums may find that they better
relate to the themes of motherhood, IVF, post partum depression and the ethical
issues surrounding your children’s featuring on social media. I think that this
book would appeal more to a younger crowd and that my experience was partly
related to the generational gap. All in all a quick entertaining read and an
interesting modern day topic.
you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the free electronic copy of this novel and
for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.