Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review of FOLLOW ME BACK: A.V. Geiger

Mystery / Thriller
Date Published: June 6, 2017

"Follow Me Back is the perfect mix of fandom with just the right amount of suspense. An enthralling page turner from beginning to end." —Anna Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the After series
Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...
Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.
When a fellow pop star is murder at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...
Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts, this thriller for the online generation will keep you guessing right up to the shocking end.


A Promising Start – But Disappointing Finish

Tessa Hart. Tessa Hart is a girl with a problem. Although a teenager, a severe trauma has brought on a case of agoraphobia. She can’t leave her room and can’t talk about what caused things to change so drastically—not even to her therapist. Now? Now she makes due by mad crushing on Eric Thorn via Twitter. Eric Thorn. Eric Thorn is a superstar with a problem. Locked into a recording contract that dictates his every move, he might as well be in prison. He yearns for something that’s his to control and begins to resent fans like @TessaHeartsEric. She doesn’t even know him and yet she wrote fan fiction and started hashtag #EricThornObsessed. He just wishes he could talk to her and find out what’s really going on in that mind of hers to imagine she’s in love with someone she’s never met.

I’ll state at the outset that at 20% done, 40% done, 70% done, and at 90% done, I was prepared to give this book five stars. I mean, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would. I was #tearingthrupages and assimilating data faster than if caught up in the Matrix. But then I had to go #ruinitall by reading #thefinalpages. Silly me! If I’d only known! But let me start with the #goodstuff.

There’s really so much to love about FOLLOW ME BACK by A.V. Geiger. The story is so well-written and the characters—the characters are likable and intriguing. The structure of this novel is divine. It’s divided up so that a police transcript tells you what happened in real time. You’re then taken back via Tess and Eric to find out how everything got to that point. Of course, the mystery of why the police report was necessitated isn’t revealed. It’s yet another mystery, but there’s a lot of that intentional withholding of pertinent info and the technique works beautifully.

Another big plus plus plus is A.V. Geiger’s knowledge of Twitter and social media. The conversations going back and forth accurately portray what takes place. She even nailed down that primal urge to check on messages. No one can resist! All those details add to the genuineness of one that has been there and done that. The fleshing out of Tessa, Eric, and the other main players is another area where the author excels. She does an excellent job of letting us in on what’s ticking in pretty unstable, dysfunctional heads. But applying the microscope to Tessa and Eric allows the relationship to build organically rather than forcing it in any one direction … which brings me to the ending … yeah, #thatending …

Have no idea what the author was thinking, #none, but that ending did not fit the story. We’re talking at all … in no way …. None! Yes, there was some suspense sprinkled throughout the story, but would you expect the ending of Pride and Prejudice to be Elizabeth Bennett stabbing Mr. Darcy through the heart because she decided that remark he made really was unforgivable? Or how about, Jane Eyre? Would you expect Edward Rochester to go at her with a meat cleaver because she’s turning into that wife he just got rid of and women are all alike? Yeah, no, I wouldn’t either. I wouldn’t appreciate either.

Put bluntly, the ending A.V. Geiger offers us just doesn’t work. Would it ever? Yes, if she changed the genre to something else and added #tonsofsuspense. Right now, the dialogue reads “romantic suspense” and what she would need is to dirty the conversations up and add some paranoia by not having such a light-hearted approach. If that kind of rewrite took place, she could have a solid thriller rather than the oh, so readable YA fluffernutter she has now. The banter just doesn’t fit with the drive off the cliff—the one that is destined to take the reader with it.

As for the climactic scene that precedes this big plot twist? Yeah, that lost me, too. It was too long and I didn’t think Tessa was that much of an idiot, but apparently …. #shewas!!! I’d really tighten up that whole encounter and make it taut and #creepychilling.

In summation, my score for the first 90% is five stars. However, my score for that ending earns 1 star. This averages out to three stars which is a shame.

I think A.V. Geiger is immensely talented and I really do look forward to reading more of her stories. If the ending were different, this would be a slam dunk five star winner.  #nodoubt

For intents and purposes of fair disclosure, I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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