Today, I'm doing a quick-fire review of Followers by Anna Davies.
It doesn't come out until late June, but I think that this is a book that horror/Goosebumps/R.L. Stine fans will definitely enjoy!
Paperback, 224 pages
Expected publication: June 24th 2014 by Point
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads:
When Briana loses out on a starring role in the school's production of Hamlet, she reluctantly agrees to be the drama department's "social media director" and starts tweeting half-hearted updates. She barely has any followers, so when someone hacks her twitter account, Briana can't muster the energy to stop it. After all, tweets like "Something's rotten in the state of Denmark . . . and a body's rotting in the theater" are obviously a joke.
But then a body IS discovered in the theater: Briana's rival. Suddenly, what seemed like a prank turns deadly serious. To everyone's horror, the grisly tweets continue . . . and the body count starts to rise.
There's no other explanation; someone is live-tweeting murders on campus.
With the school in chaos and the police unable to find the culprit, it's up to Briana to unmask the psycho-tweeter before the carnage reaches Shakespearian proportions . . . or she becomes the next victim.
A) raise your eyebrows and back away slightly at the awesomely creepy Children of the Corn-esque cover (a.k.a. Jess), or
B) If you were a Goosebumps/Fear Street fan like me, be seriously stoked that you get to relive your horror YA-reading days, with this nice addition to Scholastic's revived Point Horror series.
In Followers, author Anna Davies introduces readers to Briana. She's a young, socially-awkward drama student who's always felt a lot of pressure to live up to her mom's talents, and that pressure only increases after she fails to get a starring role in Hamlet.
However, she still agrees to become the play's social media director, tweeting about the production until weird things begin happening. Threatening, creepy tweets are now appearing, and people begin dying...
Davies does a nice job of setting up Briana's story, emphasizing both the physical and emotional isolation that Briana experiences while on campus, which only gets creepier as the menacing, deadly tweets begin to appear. The pacing between the appearance of each tweet and corresponding body count is expertly done, with Davies subtly spinning a web of questions, concerns and misdirection, as Brianna tries to get to the bottom of what's going on.
Davies is especially adept at using an ordinary, day-to-day social media tool like Twitter, and turning it into a tool for people with a motive to use. I can easily anticipate readers thinking beyond the story, and wondering how communication tools like Twitter - which are generally seen in a positive light - can be used for a negative purpose.
Even though some elements of the book are fairly standard for a mystery of this genre and length - e.g. the clueless parents; the unreliable secondary characters - I was still sufficiently creeped out by the story, and thought it was an enjoyable throwback to my Goosebumps days. I can definitely anticipate horror fans enjoying the story.