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Friend Request

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Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn't she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she'd severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria - or whoever's pretending to be her - is known to all.

385 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 5, 2017

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About the author

Laura Marshall

6 books824 followers
Laura Marshall is the bestselling author of four psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, Friend Request, was a Kindle No.1 and Sunday Times bestseller, with over half a million copies sold in the UK. Laura's books have sold in twenty-four territories around the globe.

She grew up in Wiltshire, studied English at the University of Sussex and currently lives in Kent with her family.

For more information visit Laura's website www.lauramarshall.co.uk or find her at www.facebook.com/lauramarshallauthor or on Twitter @laurajm8.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,588 reviews
Profile Image for Deanna .
655 reviews12.4k followers
August 23, 2017
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

When I first heard about this book....I wanted it. I knew I had to read it. Social media fascinates and terrifies me in equal measure. I will try to get my hands on any book that has social media at the heart of it, and "Friend Request" fit the bill perfectly.

The book opens in 2016. Louise Williams is a single mother to four-year-old, Henry. It's an ordinary day when Louise receives the email that will change her life. Henry is at her ex-husband, Sam's house and she has spent the day working. At first she was a glad to see she had an email waiting. However, after opening it, she'd give anything to go back to the boredom she was feeling just minutes before. She reads....

"Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook"

Instantly, Louise feels like she can't breathe, and her first instinct is to slam her laptop shut.

She feels that she must be mistaken, she MUST have read the email wrong or she's seeing things. But when she opens her laptop again....it's still there.

"Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook"

She has no idea who would play such a sick joke on her. She's tempted to delete the message and the friend request. But another part of her is morbidly curious....and wants to know. Curiosity wins out and she hits 'Confirm Request'.

It's been 25 years since she's seen the face staring at her from the Facebook profile picture.

She thinks of her comfortable life. Her little family.....just her and Henry. Is that comfortable life being threatened....because of a friend request? As she thinks of her life the same sentence keeps running through her head "Maria Weston wants to be friends with me".

"But Maria Weston has been dead for more than twenty-five years"

We know there's something that Louise feels guilty about, something to do with Maria that happened in High School in 1989.

"I've been a friend, a daughter, a wife, a mother. Yet all the time, in the back of my mind, this one unforgivable act has loomed - squashed, squeezed, parcelled, but always there".

Is someone playing a joke on her? But who? Somebody from the upcoming school reunion? Or is it something more sinister? Could Maria possibly be alive? And what secrets is Louise keeping that she's feeling so guilty about? What has she done?

Well.....I'm not going to tell you!

"Friend Request" was all that I was hoping for and more. Not just suspenseful, it also has great dialogue and the issues brought up are so relevant to what's happening in the world today. Not just social media but also friendships, bullying, marriage, sex and more. The characters were very well-developed. I just loved little Henry. And I loved to hate bitchy Sophie Hannigan.

Social media really makes us all vulnerable. Sometimes just looking at someone's Facebook page can bring back teenage feelings, insecurities from a time when all you wanted was to be liked. The constant pressure to fit in. The rumors that would spiral out of control. Everyone just wanted to go the good parties, hang out with the popular crowd. Not realizing how so much of it wouldn't matter years later. I had a decent high school experience, though far from perfect. But I also saw things that I know must have really hurt people, and I can remember a few "Sophie's".

The story alternates between past and present. Back and forth between 2016 and 1989. Also interspersed throughout the novel are musings from an unknown source. This adds to the mystery. Leaving the reader to guess whose private thoughts they were. I wanted to know who it was. I had my guesses, but I wasn't even close.

"What would life have been like if she'd made a different choice then, not just for her, but for everyone around her?"

The author really knows how to pump up the suspense and tension until your head is spinning, trying to figure out who is telling the truth....who to trust. With excellent twist and turns, especially in the second half of the book. The last few chapters so tense that there was no way you could have pried the book out of my hands. I was desperate to know what happened.

Not everyone is who or what they seem. Can we ever REALLY know anyone?

This was a well-written and fast-paced exciting read. A fantastic debut novel full of mystery and suspense, real world issues, and relatable characters. I thought the ending was surprising and satisfying. I can't wait for more from Laura Marshall!

Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Crumb.
189 reviews518 followers
June 19, 2018
book binge

What a book! This book was everything I want a psychological thriller to be. It had twists. It had turns. It was gripping and shocking and I couldn't put it down. In addition, it was very timely and topical for our culture today. I often wonder why there aren't more books that deal with social media or cyberbullying. Well, this book was about both facebook and bullying. It tackled these issues and helped bring them to light.

I've always been interested in reading about social media in fiction. There doesn't seem to be a plethora of options to choose from, however. So, when I saw this title, "Friend Request" I knew immediately that I had to read it. In addition, this is a debut novel! This author seems to me as if she has been writing all her life. When it seems like all psychological thrillers start to run together and sound like one in the same, Laura Marshall has an original and authentic voice. I wouldn't hesitate to read anything that she writes.

I would recommend this highly! It tackles some hot button topics and sheds light onto controversial and sensitive issues. Instead of shying away from these topics, Laura Marshall does a brilliant job of handling them with ease. This would also make an incredible book club pick as it would generate some pretty interesting discussion and debate.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,330 reviews7,101 followers
June 1, 2017
When Louise receives a Facebook 'friend request' from former school friend Maria, her world stops in its tracks, because Maria died 25 years ago!

The story is told in dual timelines and flips between 1989 and 2016. In 1989, Maria transfers to Louise's school in the late senior years, and initially Louise finds her a refreshing change. The girls Louise normally hangs out with are pretty and popular but are also mean minded and cruel. There are rumours surrounding Maria's transfer to her new school, and of course Louise's friends are happy to exaggerate, and elaborate on these rumours. Eventually, Louise begins to feel isolated from her friends and turns her back on Maria in a particularly cruel manner.

Fast forward to 2016, and Louise is divorced with a 4 year old son Henry. She's having a tough time after her divorce and now the 'friend request' threatens to unearth a 25 year old secret, that could change her life, along with the friends who also share that secret.

As storyline's go, this is really current, and I found that it worked rather well. The psychological fear to be contacted out of the blue by someone who supposedly died 25 years ago is truly chilling. If I have any reservations at all it's the fact that I didn't connect with any of the characters. But the storyline did keep me interested right the way through.

*Thank you to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for my ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.5k followers
September 7, 2017
4 Stars.

Have you ever gotten a friend request on social media from someone that gave you pause? One from someone that you thought had some nerve in seeking you out? Well wait, it gets even better. Louise Williams doesn't just get a friend request on Facebook from someone she knew years ago and doesn't actually like, she gets a friend request from someone who died twenty-five years ago. (Can you say creepy?).

The curiosity gets the better of Louise however and she accepts. It is a choice she comes to regret.

Flashing back twenty-five years prior, Maria Weston is the new girl in school, and she isn't exactly well liked. The girls are quite cliquey you see and as a newby, Maria just doesn't make the cut. Louise tries to befriend Maria and in doing so, gets the cold shoulder from the girls. Realizing she had been cast aside, Louise will do whatever it takes to get back into the cliques good graces, much to Maria's detriment.

Louise's actions and secrets haunt her years later. Thus, when she gets Maria Weston's friend request she is stunned. And when she starts getting threatening Facebook messages from Maria, she is absolutely is terrified as she has a lot to lose. Louise however, isn't the only one.

The story then brilliantly alternates between 1989 and 2016, which the author does quite effectively. It leaves you with a chill down your spine. Mine still tingles.

Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Laura Marshall for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 9.6.17.

*Will be published on Amazon on 10.5.17.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
307 reviews2,344 followers
September 5, 2017
Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Innocent enough, right? WRONG! Maria Weston has been dead for over 25 years.

Ooooooh, that sounds creepy and believe me FRIEND REQUEST is a crazy ride from start to finish. 

Louise Williams is a 40-something single mother of an adorable 4 year old boy. She is a reserved, quiet type that prefers to look at the world from the outside in. Especially from Facebook.

Is she really that shy or is something going on here? My suspicious mind is always questioning the main character.  I can't help it! As secrets are revealed about Louise, the story's only point of view, we find she is carrying a huge amount of guilt from her high school days.  Her friend, Maria Weston, went missing that year and was assumed dead. Why does Louise feel so guilty about that? Hmmm.

When Louise receives the friend request from Maria, you can only imagine how freaked out she becomes. Louise is a smart person, computer literate and she goes through all the expected steps to find out who sent the request. She becomes convinced this is not a "catfish" or a prank.  As she receives more messages, she keeps investigating and we start learning more about her past.

The author, Laura Marshall, expertly carries Louise's story in alternating chapters entitled 1989 and 2016. In this style, we are given bits and clues and a red herring or two, and all the reader has to do is put this mystery together. Easy enough. Except this: Louise may or may not be an unreliable narrator. I can't say. You will be wondering as I was all through this book and I take my "no spoilers" oath seriously. So I cannot tell you. Sorry/not sorry. 

The ending is an ugly shock, not my favorite ending of all time, but it definitely is a plausible one. I can highly recommend FRIEND REQUEST. Add it to your TBR now!
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,035 reviews3,556 followers
November 19, 2017
An explosive fast read that will keep you guessing throughout.

Louise receives a friend request on Facebook from Maria. Only problem… this friend died years ago, one fateful night during a high school party. But come on, how can Maria be reaching out to friend her now? As Louise preps for her high school reunion, all her deep-buried fears of that night resurface. She keeps receiving mysterious messages that become increasingly threatening. Louise knows she must face down these fears if she’s to ever have closure and peace in her life. Though it may be at a steep price…her life!

This book started off a bit slow for me. I was having a hard time connecting to the characters. I thought oh, no! Here we go again - another episode of mean girls (which, in my humble opinion is really getting overdone lately). But I couldn’t have been more wrong! The book absolutely picked up for the second half and I was flying through the pages! Of course, I was trying to find out who could be behind the friend request and messages. And I began pointing my little detective’s finger at everyone and creating the most off the wall scenarios to make them fit. Like the square peg in the round hole! Though some of my sisters had even funnier theories than mine! And once again, I was proven to be completely wrong! (But had fun doing it!).

Highly recommend for all thriller fans!

A Traveling Sister read with Norma, Brenda, Diane, Nikki and Berit.

Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Laura Marshall for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review.

For our full Traveling Sister review please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous Book Blog http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,695 reviews14.1k followers
December 18, 2017
3.5 A friend request from a person you know is no longer alive. You know this because you were part of something you are ashamed of now, something that could cause great harm in the present. You have a son, a life, you don't want to lose what you have. What do you do?

Mean girls, bullying in highschool, cliques and wanting to be one of the in crowd, subjects covered in many books. What makes this one so suspenseful is not only the way it is written, but the steady pace, and how things keep changing as you read. As I told my fellow readers in the sisters group I was gobsmacked by the ending. Totally hadn't a clue. So there's that but despite this being a thriller and it also has something important to say. The terrible toll bullying takes on the bullied, those close to them, and even the guilt years later of the one who had a part in the bullying. It also can serve as a warning to those who post pictures, and expose details of their lives on Facebook.

A well done, thought out thriller.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews149 followers
March 8, 2018
Laura Marshall's debut novel is alright, but I really didn’t care for the main character, Louise. Maybe I’m just tired of simpering weak women feeling guilty about the past. Something that happened in high school is coming to a head 27 years later when something happens at a class reunion. Too much handwringing and worrying made the first half of the book drag. Fortunately, the book uses a larger font and leading, and it was really not as long a book as its 370 some pages would indicate. In the end, I felt meh.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,001 reviews58.9k followers
October 13, 2017
Friend Request by Laura Marshall is a 2017 Grand Central publication.

“That night was the end of everything, and the beginning. The end of something is always the start of something else, even if you can’t see it at the time.”

Facebook. UGH! I have to say, I do use the social media network more than I care to admit, which is why the title of this book grabbed my attention, mainly because I have been dealing with a spate of weird friend request recently, and they always creep me out.

In this case, though, Louise receives a friend request from a girl she went to high school with. Common enough, right? Sure, except this girl, ‘Maria Weston’ vanished on Prom night way back in 1989, and has been presumed dead. So, I’d say Maria wins the award for the creepiest Facebook request, ever.

Was this someone’s idea of a sick joke or something far more sinister? Well, it would seem Louise, and her group of friends back in high school, may have, in some way, been complicit in Maria’s death.

So, besides just being plain ghoulish, it the request could also have a menacing tone. Is it possible Maria is still alive or could there be someone out there seeking revenge?

As her class reunion approaches, Louise’s thoughts flashback to 1989 and the events that led up to that tragic night, while in the present day she becomes convinced her life may in be real danger.

This story deals with the aftermath of a tragic, and presumably, the untimely death of a high school girl, the details of which are sketchy, which is why most of the characters are suspect, in one way or the other, and is the source of all the tension that situation generates.

Yet, there are other prevalent themes running throughout, with the spotlight shining on the mistreatment of classmates, the intense desire to belong and be accepted, especially as teenagers.

Girls, in particular, can wield their own special brand of subtle torment. That part never changes, no matter if it is 1989 or 2017, as you will see. However, I would hope those who may have held court in their high school fiefdoms, feels the level of regret Louise does.

The other very timely theme explores our use of social media and the many ways we can lurk around other people’s lives, spying on their current relationships, jobs, hobbies and other friends. Looking at it from that prospective, it feels a little unnerving, knowing that sometimes people are lurking around your page and can access a wealth of information about you, quite easily.

Not only that, who among you can honestly say you haven’t lurked around on someone’s social media page at one time or another?

This story might make you think about the way you treat others, remind you of what it was like to be a teenager, or when your kids went through those periods of angst, and how both parents and children can be scarred from it, for many years to come, even if it is a more sophisticated form of bullying, it is equally dangerous and psychologically damaging.

Although I spent some time discussing these social issues, they are underlying themes the book is based upon. But, I assure you, the story is all thrills, chills, and psychological suspense from start to finish, with some real nail biting scenes and plenty of surprise twists along the way.

Overall, this is a clever psychological thriller, written with precision pacing, well timed revelations and is very appropriate to the time we live in. Fans of PT's will want to give this one a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
609 reviews479 followers
May 26, 2021
Review Request came out back when I first started rewiewing books, and it was always on my radar, but I picked it up only now, thanks to my friend Amanda who suggested it to be our next buddy read. my friend Monika also joined, and we had a marvelous time discussing it.

The story follows Louise who gets a friend request on Facebook from a friend who died back in 1989, when they were in high school. During their time together, L. was mean to Maria (that is the name of the late girl), bullying her and making her life misserable, so now after getting that request, and pretty disturbing messages, L. becomes more and more paranoid, afraid of a person who's standing behind Maria's profile and secrets that could come out.

In my opinion, this novel was an amazing pick for our buddy read. We had so much theories about what would happen in the book and who is standing behind all of it, and at some point everyone was suspicious. I didn't trust anyone, and all of the characters seemed shady, the only one who was obviously innocent was L.'s son Henry.

The story is written in first person, with chapters written in italics, that weren't clear about whom they were about.

The writing style was good, very easy to read, and I have a feeling I read it faster then my kindle would count.

The end was good, but little unresolved and I wasn't perfectly happy about it.
Actually, I wasn't too happy with the way "grand finale" was resolved, so easily and kind of unlikely.
Honestly, the was L. behaved in the last few chapters made my eyes roll.

But all in all, I had really good time reading Friend Request along with my friends and I would recommend it to thriller lovers.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
November 29, 2017
Traveling Sisters Review by Norma and Brenda with Kaceey, Berit, Diane, and Nikki

FRIEND REQUEST by LAURA MARSHALL is a creepy, gripping, shocking, suspenseful, and a clever psychological thriller novel that kept us on the edge of our seat throughout this whole book. We all found the social media aspect of this novel quite clever and it added a scary and spine tingly feeling for us as we read this story.

When our main character, Louise receives a heart-stopping Facebook “friend request” from a former school friend that died 25 years ago it quickly brings out some long-buried memories and some dark secrets that could change everything for her in the present.  She is haunted by some of her past choices and as her past catches up with her we really could feel her desperation and angst.   

LAURA MARSHALL delivers an intriguing, well-thought-out and well-written read here that alternates between present day 2016 and the past from 1989.  We also hear from an unknown narrator which added some suspense and mystery to the storyline.  We all really enjoyed the voice of this unknown narrator and liked discussing and guessing who we thought it might be.

Although, this story didn’t grab some of us at first because of the mean girl stuff going on within the storyline we did appreciate the different perspectives from being a mean girl and someone who is targeted by a mean girl.  As the story progresses though it definitely picks up when more of the mystery within reveals itself and then it is less about mean girls.

We didn’t think the plot was all that unique with the mean girls, bullying, etc. but the social media aspect definitely was which added a scary unsettling feeling to it. We all absolutely loved the ending and none of us saw any of those great twists coming.  

This book had us guessing right from the very start and we had a few out there interesting theories adding some laughter to our discussion. Would highly recommend!

All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our blog:
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews986 followers
January 16, 2018
3.5 stars from me for this slow-burning thriller with a little bit of a creep factor. Many of us use Facebook, and a lot of us have had unsavory experiences on it. Maybe someone randomly insults us, maybe we're upset by insensitive things our friends post... some of us have even gotten hacked. But I don't know anyone who has experienced what Louise does... a friend request from someone she has thought was dead for the last twenty years. Alternating between 1989 (the last time Louise saw Maria) and 2016, this book slowly fills you in on events from the past as adult Louise reconnects with former friends and digs into exactly what happened so many years ago.

That simple friend request sends Louise into a panic. She had more to do with Maria's disappearance than she's let on... and she's lived with it her whole life. Through her marriage, her career, the birth of her son, her eventual divorce... it's always been in the back of her mind. Now she's afraid her secrets might come out. Her career immediately begins to suffer, and she cannot confide in her very best friend. Her secret has always affected her life, not quite ruined it... but that time may be coming.

The characters were well-developed, even if not always easy to like. Intriguing plot and surprise ending I didn't see coming. It definitely threw me way off. A great debut for the author and I look forward to see what else she comes up with next. It didn't quite make it to four stars for me, but it was close.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
November 14, 2017
4 solid stars, with a twist! Imagine receiving a friend request on Facebook from somebody you knew in high school who you thought was dead, what would you do?!?!

Another fabulous psychological thriller! WOW do these books suck me in! I just can’t seem to get enough, and this is a good thing because there are a lot of them out there right now! Keep them coming, eventually I will figure one of these out!

Louise tried very hard in high school to fit in with the popular crowd, this led her to do something that she has felt guilty about ever cents, and now it has come back to haunt her.... how can Maria be sending Louise a friend request when she is dead? Or is she? This Book alternates between 1989 when these characters were in high school and present day.... I thought this was done very well, the two stories unraveling at the same time, both of them kept me on the edge and kept me trying to figure this all out (and I never did)...

If you like a well-done psychological thriller that keeps you turning those pages until the very end, I would definitely recommend this book! I’d also like to mention I am very grateful I do not have a Facebook account, and now I have one more reason not to!

narration pull in the narrator really did a fabulous job! However the editing was a bit sloppy, I can’t ever remember reading a book where I heard the narrator clear their throat, and that did happen in this book also a few lines were repeated, clearly this is not the narrator‘s fault, I was just surprised...

this was another fun Traveling Sisters read with Brenda, Norma, Diane, Nikki, and Kaceey ... we definitely had some wild theories as to what Was going on, and I don’t believe any of us were right, LOL as usual an enjoyable read with you ladies!💕

You can find all the Traveling Sisters reviews at Norma and Brenda ‘s fabulous blog...
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,928 reviews2,018 followers
September 3, 2017
EXTRACT: 'Henry seems like a nice little boy. I hope you watch him carefully. It's so easily done, isn't it? You turn your back for a second and they're gone.'

THE BLURB: A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston's dead. Isn't she? 1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything Louise's other friends aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: Those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone with whom she'd severed ties in order to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria-or whoever is pretending to be her-is known to all.

With her mesmerizing debut, Laura Marshall offers a timely and essential story of how who we were shapes who we become, the hidden cost of our increasingly connected world, and the dangerous shape that revenge can take in our modern era.

MY VIEWS: Firstly, this is an amazing debut novel. I read it in one sitting, totally mesmerized and enthralled. Laura Marshall has taken two topics, common to most of our lives, and written a deliciously twisted psychological thriller that had my heart pounding and my nails dug into my palms.

Most of us have, at some point in our lives, been either bullied or the bully. Just as most of us have an online presence, whether it be FB, Twitter, Instagram or any one of the many other social platforms available out there. And now the two are often combined, so that bullying and stalking have become a common occurrence on social media. And although there was no social media when Louise and her friends were tormenting Maria, this is the means someone has chosen to let her and her friends know that their actions have not been forgotten, and that there will be repercussions.

And now, with the proliferation of people living out their lives in the public arena, it has become almost impossible to hide. Someone always knows where you are, what you are doing and who your loved ones are. And really, how do you know that the person you 'friend' is really who they say they are? 'Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It is easy to hide behind a faceless page on the Internet.'

Laura Marshall has done a superb job of bringing Louise's guilt over her past behavior and her fear of the impact it could have on her adult life, to life on the page. It is exciting to see such new writing talent emerging. I look forward to another sleepless night when her next book is published. I hope you are writing frantically Laura! 4.5 very bright and shiny ☆ for a gripping debut novel.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Friend Request by Laura Marshall for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review is also published on my blog https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews303 followers
March 9, 2022
Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn't she?

Out of the blue one-day, Louise receives a notification on Facebook that Maria Weston wants to be friends. She knows, unless someone is trolling her, that can't be. Maria Weston is dead. Because if she isn't dead, then Louise could lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Now Louise has to reconnect with old friends best forgotten. As the pieces of the puzzle on what happened that day fall into place, Louise realizes she never knew the real truth. There are more buried secrets than she can imagine.
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,043 reviews362 followers
October 5, 2017
Laura Marshall has written written a marvelous thriller that hits several hot tops from single parenting and online dating to bullying and social media and she doesn't shy away from these vulnerabilities in the least.

In Friend Request, Louise Williams receives a requst from a friend from long ago. The problem is this friend is dead - or is she? Further, Louise and her clique were complicit in this girl's death while they were in high school. It is a secret they all have shared for a decade, a secret that now threatens to come to light.

Marshall examines these secrets with rapid fire prose using a past/ present sequence that works brilliantly. Her writing is taut, the characters are well developed and the twists are never ending. Once you've started reading the book, you won't want to stop until the final page! This is a must read for all suspense fans.
Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews239 followers
April 6, 2021
Louise, receives a friend request from a woman she bullied in high school. The only problem is it’s been 25 years and the woman died on the night of their senior prom.

The friend request kicks off a chain of events for Louise, bringing back her pain and fear from those years, long ago. It was difficult to read how Louise and her friend, Sophie, were so cruel to Maria back then. Teenage girls can be so vicious, yet they suffer too in their own lack of esteem and self importance.

This is a well-written book, with clues and lies that change the direction of the story more than once. Louise’s fear is palpable. She is now a single mother who adores her 4 year old son. So she feels the stabs of her past transgressions all the more. But how far will she go to hide truths and protect the lies of the past and her part in Maria’s fate?

There’s a bit of repetition in the book, but it held my interest to the point that I wanted to know how everything played out and how such innocence turned so tragic. It’s interesting as we don’t understand the lasting effect of people who’ve been bullied and traumatized at young and impressionable ages. I think many of us have been bullied before, but not to the degree displayed in this book (hopefully).

All in all this was an excellent read where I both detested Louise, but also rooted for her based on her self imprisonment. Most of all this book broke my heart a little.
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
724 reviews4,629 followers
March 2, 2019
This story had promise. The social media premise is timely and of course a source of fascination. We've all heard stories of the "perils" of the internet and social media.

It was a fast paced read and the end was a twist that I hadn't predicted. Why then just a 3 star rating? The book just didn't capture me like I thought it would. Like I said, it had promise but it fell a bit flat for me. I simply didn't feel for anything positive for Louise as the main character. I found her whiny and weak and at times even annoying.

The twist I didn't see coming was actually a negative for me as well. I enjoy not being able to predict what is going to happen. I welcome being wrong or stumped but I also like being able to think/look back and see subtle clues that were there all along. You know those well placed clues that you miss but at the end give you a satisfying "aha" moment. Friend Request didn't have that - the twist was more of a shock factor that came out of nowhere. I wasn't a fan of the way this one played out.

Overall Friend Request was an okay read. Just not one, I'll remember for a long time to come.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
684 reviews1,050 followers
July 4, 2021
“I don’t even know if there is such a thing as the truth when it comes to relationships, or only versions of it, shaped by love and fear and the way we lie to ourselves and others.”

Louise does not miss her school days, the nasty, vindictive bitchiness. She has done her best to move on from her past. She has a son now, recently divorced and she is determined to focus on her child.

When she receives a Facebook friend request from Maria Weston, a young girl who died during their school leavers dance Louise panics. Does someone know her secrets? And how far are they willing to go?

This was a fast paced thrill ride, I enjoyed the different twists and plot points. Sometimes no matter how hard you run, the past has a way of catching up to you.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,093 reviews1,509 followers
August 13, 2017
Louise Williams has spent most of her adult life trying to forget the past and make up for the mistakes she made while in high school. However, when Louise gets a friend request on Facebook from Maria Weston her heart nearly stops as the past comes flooding back into her life and the memories that have haunted her for years are brought back to the surface.

Around twenty five years before Maria had disappeared one night and with a search turning up nothing it was assumed that she had died but the body was never found. Due to peer pressure Louise has blamed herself believing all these years that it was her fault that Maria had died that night.... but had she really? Is there a chance that Maria is really alive? Either way it's now time for Louise to face the past that has haunted her since high school.

Just seeing the title of this book I knew that I needed to check it out seeing how today's society is so focused on social media so I figured it would bring that creepy edge to it. I'm happy to say my instinct was correct as far as the use of social media in the story. Louise is like most people these days with being concerned with her Facebook and the friends she has and basically socializing through a computer instead of face to face.

Now the story in here takes a reader back and forth from the present time and the past high school days for Lousie. Adult Louise is dealing with what it means to have a dead girl that she felt responsible for popping back up in her life. Then the flashing back to the high school days shows the reader just what had happened to Maria that night to make Louise live her life full of guilt. I'm not even sure which side of the story had me more engrossed as they both certainly kept the pages turning looking for answers.

As for the ending to this one, I thought the author did a great job keeping it a believable outcome overall while adding in a few extra little twists to the story. Definitely one that I think most fans of thriller will enjoy quite a bit.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,055 reviews600 followers
September 27, 2017
4.5 Stars

"When you leave something behind you, you think that’s it. It’s gone. But you can’t leave yourself behind. This is it; this is you, for life."

Maria Weston wants to be friend with Louise on Facebook. They were classmate on high school. At that time Louise wanted to be friend with her too but she had another friend, Sophie. Sophie was one of those popular girls who every one wanted to be friend with her. Sophie and Maria weren't good with each other so Louise chose Sophie and they bullied Maria. Now after years, Louise received a notification on Facebook that Maria wants to be friend with her but there is a teeny tiny problem:

"But Maria Weston has been dead for more that twenty-five years."

This story cought my attention from the first chapter! I really liked it and I really enjoyed it. The suspens, Mystery was perfect for me! From the first I had a theory and I was sure that I know what’s happening but when I was reading more and more, I got more confused and at the end I found out that how wrong I was!!! It was well-written and well-paced. all the characters were well-defined. My only problem was the first half alternates between the past and the present almost chapter to chapter. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind these changing but in this one it was annoying for me. I think it wasn’t necessary! It didn’t tell anything that you didn’t know. So I liked to skip them and read the present but of course I didn’t do that and read all of it!

"I wish that I could tell someone the truth without being judged, or worse. I wish that I could loosen this secret knot within me, a knot that is tied so tightly I don’t think anyone will ever be able to get their fingers into its intricacies to tug it apart, however hard they try."

Told in dual POV, both in 1st and 3rd person. It’s a stand-alone novel. Overall, I really liked it, hope you enjoy it as well!
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
494 reviews244 followers
September 21, 2017
I absolutely loved this debut novel from Marshall!! For some reason right now I am just absolutely loving these new British authors and their psychological thrillers! This story is about Louise and her childhood girlfriends and a tragedy that occurred at her high school on prom night in 1989. She puts the tragedy behind her and thinks that everything is long forgotten and left in the past until one day, decades later, she receives a mysterious friend request, putting to question, can you ever escape your past??
The plot was original, switching from the past to present, keeping me at the edge of my seat. I was genuinely surprised by how the mystery was wrapped up and did not see the reveal coming at all! The only thing that kept this book away from being a five star for me was the ending. A little unsatiated with how everything ended, it seemed things were even left a bit unresolved, unfortunately. This is definitely going to be an author that I keep my eye out for and read every subsequent release!!
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,882 reviews1,630 followers
July 14, 2017
Louise is a middle-aged, single mother of one young son. Being able to work from home, she likes to take breaks to keep up with her Facebook account... not that she has many friends. Today she has a new friend request ... from Maria Weston. Maria and Louise were friends once in high school, but they didn't remain friends for long. Louise can't understand why Maria would reach out to her now... especially as Maria has been dead for 25 years.

This is a brilliant psychological thriller. The book bounces back and forth between today and those days in high school. I think most of us remember our high school days .. and not always favorably. There were always the cliques, the bad boys, the bullies.

It brings to mind memories of wanting to belong..somewhere... and Louise knows exactly what that was like. Young people don't always make the wisest or safest decisions.

Back to Maria ... is it possible she is still alive? If so, where has she been all this time? Is it someone who knows what happened all those years ago and wants Louise to be afraid? Louise knows that if the truth ever sees the light of day, her life, as she knows its, will be over.

Somewhere along the line, the reader hears an unknown voice .... who is this? Maria? Someone closer to her?

The author has captured the angst of being a teenager ... the self doubts .... Louise, as an adult, is that person who has lived with guilt and regrets her entire life. Will it ever end?

Again, this is a brilliant psychological thriller. Characters have a real feel to them ... I probably knew a few of them myself while in school. The story line is credible .... teens today aren't that much different than 20 or so years ago.

I highly recommend this one! It does not read as a debut novel ...and I can hardly wait to see what the author comes up with next.

Now ... off to post my review in Facebook.

Many thanks to the author / Grand Central Publishing / Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
462 reviews288 followers
July 19, 2017
I wouldn't have picked this book up normally but when it landed in my inbox, I couldn't resist. A great concept for a mystery thriller that had me in suspense throughout. The idea behind a Facebook friend rising from the dead and making contact after 25 years was definitely a spine chilling prospect and you really wonder about the absurdity of the whole Facebook thing and how open and vulnerable you become when you expose yourself on such a public forum as this book demonstrates. It reminds me why I decided to delete my personal account, the idea of people you barely know getting such a personal glimpse into your inner sanctum and keeping in contact with everyone you ever met from high school days seems an odd thing and the perfect basis for a revenge style vendetta so I did quite enjoy the storyline. I was surprised by the ending and felt it was done well. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who likes a good mystery thriller and also anyone who has ever had a Facebook account could really relate to some of the themes that run throughout this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hatchette Australia for my advanced readers copy.
Profile Image for Skyler Autumn.
226 reviews1,390 followers
November 9, 2017
4 Stars

"Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook"

With one simple Facebook notification Lousie Williams' carefully constructed life is turned on it head. Is this some sort of a sick joke? Maria Weston is dead. Isn't she? Louise's dread and guilt is brought to the surface as the story moves back and forth from the present day Lousie; now a 40 year old single mom faced with going to her High School reunion and the past insecure 16 year old Louise who in an attempt to win over the popular crowd coordinated an ill-fated prank that ended with a young student never being seen again.

Don't you just love it when a book surprises you? When you go into a read with expectations down and it completely blows you out the water. That's what Friend Request did for me. As soon as I read the premise I was thinking this is going to be like a cheesy horror thriller in the same vain as all those B-level slasher movies that revolve around social media. So imagine my surprise when this book revealed itself to me as a grounded, smart, nail-biting thriller with a powerfully dark conclusion.

The chapters revolving around 16 year old Louise were so utterly powerful. They immediately transported me back to my insecure self where it felt like one popular girl/dictator held my social life (which felt like life and death back then) in her well manicured hands. These chapters were instrumental in revealing what Louise did in her past and due to brilliant execution on the authors part you were still sympathetic to Louise and in a weird way understanding about her mind-set at the time. And that's saying a lot about Laura Marshall's writing ability because I was severely bullied in elementary school and am very sensitive with that topic. I will immediately condemn the bully as horrible little shit but in this novel to my disbelief I found myself almost siding with Louise and her horrible behaviour. She was just young, stupid, insecure, and desperate to find her place in the social stratosphere that is High School and as adult Louise condemns herself for her past actions (something I wish fills my bullies with shame everyday) you almost want to reach out and let her know not to be so hard on herself.

This entire novel is on the shoulders of our protagonist and I applaud the author for writing Lousie as both vulnerable and insecure and strong as hell. You really see the strength in Louise form as you're taken into the story and by the end of the novel you realize that although her life was littered in bad judgement and mistakes there is a certain strength in not letting the past define your present.

This is a great suspense that immediately drew me in. I think fans of Ruth Ware's Lying Game will be equally infatuated with Friend Request by Laura Marshall.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,028 reviews661 followers
April 24, 2018
Most of us have already lived through our high school years when peer pressure is at its zenith. Being accepted and fitting in will never be more important than it is during this period. For the most part, we emerge relatively unscathed and ready to tackle real life. Not so for Louise, who has turned into a whiny sad sack of a woman. More or less amicably divorced and raising a young son, her thriving interior design business is not enough to vanquish the unresolved feelings of guilt from those school days of yore. They have haunted her all of her adult life. An oddly timed Friend Request on Facebook coincides with an upcoming 27th high school reunion. The individual who is asking should neither be in the market for friends nor reunions.

Profile Image for Sue.
1,320 reviews5 followers
April 29, 2019
FRIEND REQUEST is the gripping debut psychological thriller by Laura Marshall. For me, this novel ticks all the boxes for being a great psychological thriller, with its twists and turns and I predict will reach a wide audience. It tackles issues in the forefront of today’s society; dealing with social media on Facebook and cyber-bullying.


In 1989 Louise becomes friends with Maria in their senior year. They hit it off immediately and within a few days, they are on their way to becoming fast friends.

In 2016 Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Memories come flooding to the surface of dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she'd severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria--or whoever's pretending to be her--is known to all.

I kept flipping the pages to find out who was behind the friend request…and the messages.

A must read for all thriller fans…a well-written debut novel with an important message to all.

Be careful what you post on social media online forums. The message still runs true!

Many thanks to the author, and Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley for my digital copy.
June 1, 2020

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

Introvert me is like: This is why I don't have friends. You can't trust friends.

As with 90% of the books on my Kindle, FRIEND REQUEST was an impulse buy back from when it was on sale (and should not be confused with the terrible movie by the same title). Set in England, FRIEND REQUEST is the story of a woman named Louise, told in dual timelines: 1989, when she was a teenager; and 2016, as a middle-aged woman with a son.

Louise is the type of character that I find really fascinating in fiction because we don't often see them portrayed well. She's spineless, insecure, self-centered, cowardly, and horribly flawed, and yet, because it's narrated in first person, we get to see all of the mental gymnastics she performs to try to make herself out as the good person, even when she's doing terrible things. And when she receives a friend request on Facebook from a classmate long thought dead, all of the dark secrets of her own personal Pandora's box come flying out as we slowly figure out what happened on the last night that she saw her ex-friend Maria, and what is at stake for her now, as an adult.

I saw that some people didn't like this book because it was really slow and I totally sympathize with that. Even though this book wasn't particularly long, it took forEVER to read because so much of it was build-up (and the pay-off really wasn't as satisfying as it could have been). That said, I can be all about slow-paced books if they are immersive enough, and FRIEND REQUEST is as much a fascinating character study about the cruelty of teenage girl cliques, as it is a murder mystery. Parts of it really reminded me of Megan Abbott, who also writes quite prolifically on the intense and dark dynamics of teen girls at their worst. Obviously, the 1989 parts were my favorites.

Anyone who likes slow-paced mysteries will really like this. I actually just read my first Riley Sager book, and I think that Laura Marshall's style (once you get over the chatty, very British narrative) is pretty similar-- at least in terms of pacing and what she sets out to accomplish with her book. While this isn't a book I would reread, I would definitely check out more from this author in the future.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,939 reviews776 followers
September 23, 2018
One thing struck me as I read this book and that is that one should not post too many personal details about one's life on Facebook, nor should you befriend a person you thought was dead and that you feel guilty about. Now, many of us probably don't have to worry about dead old classmates coming back to life to haunt us, but it makes an excellent story in a book.

I have a bit of a hate/love relationship with damaged female characters in psychological thrillers. It's a pretty standard thing, and if you read many psychological thrillers will you encounter a lot of this kind of women that have skeletons in the wardrobe and who is driven to paranoia. However, if it is done well will the woman in question be someone you will cheer along the way. If not, well then you have a problem. I'm a bit torn in this book between liking and being a bit frustrated with Louise. I can honestly say that young Louise did I not like especially much, but I can still understand her situation. I have also been young and school girls are awful. The grown-up Louise is a bit easier to like, although I often just wanted her to go to the police and tell everything, but that had made it too easy and not made it a good story if the character did that. Also, towards the end, I did understand her hesitance to do so.

Friend Request is a very good book, through flashbacks do we get to see what happened in 1989 when Louise and her friends made Maria's life a living hell right until the very last night she disappeared. The ending of the book, the truth of what happened that night was something that I did not suspect until the very last moment before it was revealed. I just knew that something was wrong, and I was right about the direction the book would take.

The book is very well written and I'm looking forward to reading more books by Laura Marshall.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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