Author: Sara Shepard & Lilia Buckingham
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Published: January 5th, 2021 (Delacorte Press)
Synopsis: After a video she makes goes viral, everyone knows Delilah Rollins. And now that she’s in LA, Delilah’s standing on the edge of something incredible. Everything is going to change. She has no idea how much.
Jasmine Walters-Diaz grew up in the spotlight. A child star turned media darling, the posts of her in her classic Lulu C. rainbow skirt practically break the Internet. But if the world knew who Jasmine really was, her perfect life? Canceled.
Fiona Jacobs is so funny–the kind of girl for whom a crowd parts–no wonder she’s always smiling! But on the inside? The girl’s a hot mess. And when someone comes out of the shadows with a secret from her past, it’s one that won’t just embarrass Fiona: it will ruin her.
Who wouldn’t want to be Scarlet Leigh? Just look at her Instagram. Scarlet isn’t just styled to perfection: she is perfection. Scarlet has a gorgeous, famous boyfriend named Jack and there’s a whole fanbase about their ship. To everyone watching online, their lives seem perfect…but are they really? The sun is hot in California . . . and someone’s going to get burned.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Delilah Rollins has been catapulted into the world of social media influencers after one of her videos unexpectedly goes viral and she moves to LA, and she finds fast friends in Jasmine and Fiona. Child star turned popular influencer, Jasmine Walters-Diaz has grown up in the spotlight, but is beginning to feel boxed in and suffocated by the image she must maintain in order to keep her fanbase. Aspiring actress Fiona Jacobs struggles with a secret from her past that could ruin her career if it became known. Then there’s Scarlet Leigh, who seems to have the perfect life and is something of a mean girl, but how much of it is real? Influence is a glimpse into the world of influencers and the darker side of celebrity – the glamour we see is not always the entire story.
This book is not the type typically found on my TBR as I largely tend to avoid anything contemporary, but after reading Bookish and the Beast last year, which illustrated how life in the spotlight isn’t as amazing as it appears to be, I was quite curious to know more. I liked that we got to see the world of influencers through different perspectives, from newbie Delilah to experienced stars like Scarlet, Jasmine and Fiona. Between the pressure of maintaining a perfect image, staying on brand, the online bullying, everyone has something to hide. Secrets abound, and if that wasn’t enough drama, there’s a murder thrown in for good measure.
It was interesting to get a glimpse into what the life of an influencer is like – both the good and bad. While this book is a little slow to start out, it does an excellent job at giving us the backgrounds of these four influencers and what their lives are like away from the camera, taking the time to really build their characters. I enjoyed the writing style and the POVs were very well balanced, making it easy to keep track of everything. The story did take on a darker tone than I expected, but if anything, I feel it has probably been toned down for the book.
However, while the build up of the mystery was good enough, the ending was a bit lacklustre, not only for who did it, but how the reveal came about was quite haphazard with a few too many false leads. I also didn’t really like the final twist which still leaves a question hanging that was completely unnecessary in my opinion.
Influence is an engrossing read that you will not want to put down. Mystery aside, it perfectly illustrates the travails of fame, especially at a young age, and is very thought-provoking as it explores themes that are very relevant in today’s world where social media plays such a large role. The importance of being yourself is a constant message throughout and this is a book I would highly recommend to all readers!
Influence releases on January 5th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!