Thursday, August 31, 2017

Friend Request

Friend Request

Friend Request asks us to consider- how well do we really know someone? Especially in the age of social media. Louise Williams is a divorced mom and interior designer living in London, and she has a secret- something that only a few people know about, going back to her high school years. We all know high school is formative and fraught with obstacles to acceptance for some kids- and Louise was one of those kids. She wasn't popular but she wasn't at the bottom of the social hierarchy either, and when Sophie Hannigan deigned to hang around with her, she was on the cusp of getting into the "in" crowd. But Sophie's friendship came with a price- how far would Louise go to fit in? 

Twenty- five years later Louise is still carrying around the guilt of what she did. The story is set in both the modern day and in 1989- the year something happened to Maria Weston, the new girl at school. Maria and Louise hit it off early, but soon Louise has to choose between Maria and Sophie. It's a hard choice, as Louise desperately wants to be accepted by Sophie, and by extension the other cool girls. And of course Sophie takes full advantage of that. I think anyone who's been through high school can probably relate to at least something here. Louise knows what she's doing is wrong, but she can't stop herself. 

The kicker is when Louise gets a friend request on Facebook- from Maria Weston. But Maria died twenty- five years ago, didn't she? Louise remembers the night Maria went missing, and her body was never found, but everyone has assumed that she died. Someone, however, is on Facebook, and as the story goes on Louise continues to get eerie messages, and feels like she's being stalked. She's not the only one- Sophie is also contacted. And with the high school reunion coming up, old secrets are being dredged out again. 

This was a page turner for me, in spite of the fact that it was kinda slow. Not necessarily in a bad way- it's just not action-packed or fast-paced, but I enjoyed it. The author takes her time getting into Louise's head, and we get to know the people around her, including her ex- husband Sam and some of the people from school- Sophie and Esther, another former friend and classmate. People change after high school, some more than others, but no matter how much time goes by, do we ever really get over the wounds that are caused, or the triumphs or defeats of our social group? 

That plays a large role in the story. Memories, regrets, and the consequences of things we did in high school. It really makes you think how vulnerable people are in the age of Facebook and social media, where so much of our lives are accessible online. I loved the reunion and the author shows us the excitement and terror as she navigates the old minefields. Later in the story things start to get a little out there, maybe a bit unrealistic, but the central theme is the same. Can you really trust anyone other than yourself? Old friends, ex- lovers, enemies- you never really know what somebody thinks, deep down. There were some nice twists, some misdirection, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. A very nice debut also. 

46 comments:

  1. This book sounds fantastic, Greg, and I need to grab it right away. I just have to know what was done, and how it all ends. Twisty books are the best! Hugs...

    ReplyDelete
  2. These characters sound so compelling and three-dimensional. I love how twisty it seems, too! I think I'd enjoy this.

    Great review :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pretty twisty, and I really liked the high school reunion scenes.

      Delete
  3. Your review of this book definitely sold it to me. What happened back in High School? Arrgghhh. I need to know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's pretty compelling, and Im sure feels similar to many peoples' experiences in high school.

      Delete
  4. YAY! I can't wait to get my hands on this one!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so curious about this one! I'm glad you really enjoyed it and it kept you reading, despite not being terribly quick-paced.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it's slow but not a bad slow, you know, more just a page turning momentum.

      Delete
  6. Ooh, sounds a bit creepy! High school can be such a weird time, and now social media has made it way too easy to reconnect with people. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does raise a lot of issues, for sure. And it was a bit creepy in the sense that who was trying to friend her?? But it wasn't particularly suspenseful, it was more like what happened?

      Delete
  7. I think it would be too slow for my tastes. I quite fancy the film called Friend Request though it isn't related to this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be. I haven't seen the movie!

      Delete
  8. Social Media and online connections are the perfect backdrop for all kinds of thrillers. I don't think we've even tapped into it all yet.

    For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right, so much there. I love this trend though of thrillers exploring all this stuff. :)

      Delete
  9. I was intrigued by the premise, and it seems like the story turned out pretty good. I wonder what Sophie had Louise do to Maria. Trying to be popular is no excuse for torturing another person but being young and stupid isn't really anything new. I wonder if Louise was a likable character for you? Wonderful review, Greg! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Louise was likable for me, mostly. I felt for her because she knows what she did is wrong, and there's a secret that her and her ex- husband know that could ruin her life if it came out, so she has tons of guilt. It was interesting to see too how much (or not) Sophie had changed, and there's another character from the past that I really liked.

      Delete
  10. Yeah, this one sounds like a slow build mystery I'd enjoy! I'm going to have to check it out. They're making a movie of the same name but not based on this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The slow build was great. Sorta like real life- it was all plausible (until maybe the end) but it was the kind of thing that COULD happen, so it felt realistic?

      Delete
  11. I'm so glad you reviewed this book, Greg. I watched a horror movie with the same title a few months ago and it kinda had the same vibes, so I was wondering about this book a lot. Glad it was such a page turner for you, it seems like it has the elements for keeping you on the edge and start asking yourself a few questions . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep hearing about the movie and it does seem like a fertile ground for a story! It was a page turner, not super fast paced but in spite of that I loved learning about the characters and had to know what really happened!

      Delete
  12. I was hesitant about whether or not I wanted to give Friend Request a try, but your review has made me really want to read it now. It sounds so creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was, a little. And it's realistic so that made it tense

      Delete
  13. Ooh! This sounds good, and I like the integration of social media into the story, which gives the story a modern twist. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I did like this one and it does make you think how social media can dredge up old secrets...

      Delete
  14. This sounds quite good! I think it's interesting because if she was in high school in 1989, she never had ANY kind of internet access (and therefore, internet drama) in high school- so it's quite a change to have it all unfolding on social media. I do love the theme of "do we ever really know someone?" because that is so, SO true. How do you ever fully know if people are being their genuine selves, which is certainly magnified in the internet age. And even more especially, Facebook. What a freaking cesspool. I definitely need to read this one! Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked it! Not a favorite read or anything but I care about the MC and shared her fear at being found out- that came across really well. And yes 89! And ugh Facebook- I used to be on there and now I hate it lol.

      The thing about this one is the whole do you know someone thing- between this one and a couple other thrillers I've read this year (what is it w/ me and thrillers??) that seems to be a recurring theme!

      Delete
  15. I was looking forward to reading your thoughts! It strikes me as a mix of the movies 'Friend Request' and 'Unfriended' which have a very similar plot. I don't think I would enjoy it, though, as I would have thought there would at least be a little action. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I've heard of the movie but it's unrelated as far as I know. But yes it's not very action- packed- there are some tense moments but not a lot of action, per se.

      Delete
  16. This does sound really good and I don't usually care for these kind of books. Thanks for sharing your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks La La! This is sort of a new one for me too, but I liked it.

      Delete
  17. Well... I thought I was going to start with Emma in the Night but this one seems pretty cool too. Also, I really like the cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good one, but a little slower paced. I actually liked Emma in the Night better, but they're both good. :)

      Delete
  18. I'm really happy you enjoyed Friend Request Greg! It's a book I'm very curious about, and I think a slow building story can work very well. It definitely seems like it worked well here.
    I hope you're having a great week!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is slow building, and honestly I think it works for that reason! It's kind of realistic, not out there. And it makes you wonder yikes what could happen?

      Delete
  19. I honestly, I can't stand characters who are so desperate to fit in with the "in" crowd that they do bad things. The FB stalking from someone they thought was dead sounds creepy though! And it sounds like the book did have some deeper messages too. Glad you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I feel like high school was kind of a minefield that way, and while my experience wasn't bad I know a lot of kids' were. And it was a bit creepy- I liked that angle!

      Delete
  20. I admit I wasn't a huge fan of high school and some things have remained with me as if they were yesterday even after twenty plus years. I was never part of the "in" crowd and never really wanted to be really. I do enjoy books like this though. It's interesting how memory and regret and all of that carries over into our adulthood and how it helps shape who we are.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This one sounds so good and you have me curious as to what is going on here! Love the premise. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This one made me think about high school and what I was like then. It just made me think of things differently back then you know? And, yeah it plays with social media and how easily we let people in on social media

    ReplyDelete
  23. Creepy! I love the premise on this one and really want to know what happens. I'm glad that while it wasn't the fastest paced book it didn't drag and I definitely need to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. oh I've been thinking about this one lately. The title got me curios and now after reading the blurb and your review I'm definitely reading! I'm into some high school drama that escalate lately! great review :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, I'm so intrigued by this one. It makes you rethink how we interact online, doesn't it? Thank you for your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete