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An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the stunning moment that changes the world as we know it forever

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss ― a striving wannabe A-lister ― who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss's methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can't be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity ― twelve million loyal followers ― Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

380 pages, Hardcover

First published January 14, 2020

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About the author

Megan Angelo

2 books395 followers
Megan has written about television, film, women and pop culture, and motherhood for publications including The New York Times (where she helped launch city comedy coverage), Glamour (where she was a contributing editor and wrote a column on women and television), Elle, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Slate. She is a native of Quakertown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Villanova University. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family. FOLLOWERS is her first novel.

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5 stars
2,977 (17%)
4 stars
6,769 (39%)
3 stars
5,441 (32%)
2 stars
1,467 (8%)
1 star
344 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,467 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,072 reviews38.2k followers
June 6, 2021
”Sensational, futuristic, smart, entertaining, twisty, mind-bending and surprising ARC reading!” I’m about to slap myself because I waited at least three month to start this book and I let it drown at the bottom part of my growing NetGalley pile. I think one day, they will send me glasses for my red rimmed eyes instead of future releasing yummy books all set to be devoured with two bites!

So welcome to the social media madness. Everybody’s lives depend on the likes and visual encouraging comments they take and raising number of their followers. Yes, just an ordinary day of our lives!

The story is moving back and forth between 2015 and 2055. Future parts are more disturbing because the most elite celebrities living in Constellation (not in the space, this is the name of secluded California town.)

We’re introduced with Marlow, feeding herself with her sponsor’s branded drug made her look like all her emotions have been taken out from her heart and forced her act like Stepford wife meets over exaggerated botox application victim. She is followed by cameras. Her every move and every inch of her body fat are criticized by her followers. She is not happy with her marriage and now her husband pushes her to have a baby for the celebration of pretentious, fake marriage.

And when we go back to 2015, we’re introduced with Orla (author has interesting name choices) who is ambitious dreamer, pushing herself hard to write her first novel but stuck with her daytime blogging job at Lady-ish website. Her roommate Floss who has no proper ability or any gift of talent to keep her place at the race, wants her help to become celebrity! (Don’t stop reading. This is not KARDASHIANS’ BIOGRAPHY!) And Orla starts her Instagram campaign as: “Sooo What Does the World’s Most Expensive Brow Gel Actually Do? One Instagram It Girl Finds Out!” (Please resume reading. It’s not Kylie or Kendall Jenner biography!)

So she boosts her likes and followers and their paths cross, force them work together for aspiring and inspirational social media management.

So those three women’s connected with each other and the story gets too many surprising twists starting with the unbelievable success of Floss who has TV show with Orla. And as soon as Orla finds out her longtime high school crush/obsession (she’s social media stalker of the guy for years) Danny leaves his wife and appears in front of their apartment.

And in the meantime (40 years later actually) Marlow starts to dig out more about her identity and begin searching who is her real father.

The characters are vivid, lovely, sarcastic, moving and hilarious. Marlow’s not on drugs version is more animated, wild ( Remember the part she attacked the girl’s face like a real blood sucker!) lost woman who needed to learn about her true self and her expectations from life.

So after surprising twists and revelations later, three women meet at Atlantis (Once upon a time this place was Boardwalk Empire! I can hear Temptations’ ‘Under The Boardwalk’ on my mind) And ending is another epic moment of this book!

As a summary: When Tarryn Fisher promotes a book on the social media, you shouldn’t have any doubts, you just dive in without thinking a second! We have a brilliant new author in the literary town! Congrats! Applause! I already opened the Champagne bottle for celebration!

So my 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for the originality, sarcasm, political, social criticism and intelligent creativity.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House for sending me this incredible debut novel’s ARC COPY in exchange my honest review!

Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews918 followers
October 26, 2019
From the first chapter, this book had me straightjacketed. It snatched me up and held me rapt until the last word.

It's just, ugh, there is no word. Oh wait, I got it...

*using bad Danny Zuko/John Travolta impression* *slinks away in shame*

☆ Megan Angelo's writing is top notch.

She has flawlessly woven a complex, multilayered and intelligent tale of the current state of social media and the dramatic effects it has on society some thirty years in the future.

☆ Angelo offers up a masterclass in character development.

There are a ton of characters in this story but I never once felt lost. She fleshed out the three main characters masterfully while simultaneously creating peripheral characters that were real and memorable.

☆ I really encourage you to read the description before diving into this one (but not the reviews). The author drops you off right in the middle of the lives of the main characters and reading the description helped me to quickly gain my bearings. Just a friendly suggestion.

☆ Side Note: this cover has GOT TO GO. It is entirely too uninteresting, especially considering the jewel that lies inside. Plus, it reminds me of a trademark graphic for a feminine hygiene product.

☆ Although Followers doesn't come out until next year, I already know it'll be in my top 10. It's just that damn good.

** I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Julie .
3,978 reviews58.9k followers
June 17, 2020
Followers by Megan Angelo is a 2020 Graydon House publication.

Dark, clever, and contemplative -

This is the second book I’ve read recently that had a science fiction element. For the record, it’s not the outer space type of sci-fi. It has a dystopian flavor to it- so basically, what qualifies it for the sci-fi category is the futuristic setting. For me this is a big change of pace since I normally prefer historical fiction. As before, I went in blind, thinking this book was more of a current day cautionary tale.

As it turns out, this story has a dual timeline- 2015 and 2051.

The story begins in 2015, with Orla Cadden, currently working as a blogger for Lady-ish.com. Her pieces are usually gossipy celebrity driven articles, but her real goal is to become a novelist- although her goals tend to stay on the back burner due to the many gadgets- based distractions in her life. However, her entire world is upended by her roommate, Floss, who wants to be a star. Orla agrees to work her ‘Influencer’ magic for Floss, creating an image out thin air, which is how talentless celebrity is formed.

Fast forward to 2051-

A catastrophic event called “The Spill’ –an online data breach or meltdown, of sorts has entirely changed the dynamics of society. Yet being famous for being famous, and reality television still reigns supreme, but is now regulated by the government in the form of a village called ‘Constellation’, where all the celebrities reside and are on ad supported camera 24/7.

The residents have multitudes of followers, and their lives are discussed and commented upon, in the same way we are familiar with, except they aren’t allowed to respond or participate in the conversation. But for Marlow- one of the most popular celebrities, with a healthy twelve million followers, makes a shocking discovery that tempts her to go rogue.

This is a wickedly sharp and timely satire that puts our current society in front of a mirror. Do we like what we see? Is it possible for our future to come to his point? Could an event on par with ‘The Spill’ prompt the government to step in and attempt to restore our trust? Are we really this shallow and celebrity obsessed?

Ha! Yes. But the story examines a few other serious topics, along the way, framing the heaviness in a darkly comedic vein. The story is one that required my undivided attention and presented me with a little bit of a challenge. It was a little confusing at times and I had to read slowly and carefully to figure out how the past and the present were connected and to keep up with the people and developments. The pacing is also a bit uneven- but under the circumstances that might have been an advantage for me personally. The slower portions probably saved me from having to re-read passages.

But I have to say I thought the story was brilliant! It will really make you think about the internet and how society has changed since social media has overtaken our world. In many cases it has become the basis on which so many people live and die by its double- edged sword.

Although the future doesn’t look all that pleasant, the story isn’t entirely without hope, and it definitely gave me pause. This is still a cautionary story for the present and the future. It’s a frightening and topical tale, but also highly entertaining!

Overall, this is a smart, impressible debut from Megan Angelo!

4 stars
January 18, 2020
3.5 stars.

Timely. Thought-provoking. Relevant.

How many social media accounts do you have? How many online sites do you trust? How much of your personal information is online waiting to fall into the wrong hands? Scary questions, right? This book will make you rethink your online presence told through a fictional story of two friends who find themselves at the height of online stardom.

This was one big step outside my comfort zone. I don’t usually read books set in future times, but this one worked for me. The concepts presented throughout this story are extremely relevant and eye-opening. The affects of social media and the openness of the internet have a large impact on the world and these characters are living the afterlife once the internet “breaks”. Very interesting concepts!

The writing was great. I enjoyed the characters. The storyline was a bit too long and therefore, my attention wavered slightly in the second half. Overall, an intriguing and thoughtful-provoking read. I think many will love this!

This was a Traveling Sister read with Brenda and Norma. Thank you to Harlequin for sending us physical review copies!

Followers is available now!
Profile Image for talon smith.
705 reviews113 followers
January 25, 2020
Now that I have had a day to think about this one, I have decided that I did not love Followers nor did I hate it. In fact-- I really loved the premise of the story itself. It's what encouraged me to read the book in the first place (as well as the cover). When it was all said and done, I felt like what I had read was two episodes of Black Mirror crammed into one book. The mediocre ones.

Followers was lengthy and wordy. There. I said it. It was. I think the words in this one took over and at some point(s) you don't even know what is going on because the author gets so long winded. I had to start paragraphs over multiple times. But maybe that was just me.

I think the ending really killed this one for me. That's all I will say about that. Moving on...

HOWEVER, with me saying all of the above, I really loved the concept of this story and the way it was laid out. I think for me, it was a very realistic story that fits into the world we live in today. For an author to write that out, it was fascinating to me.

Thus concluding: I believe it's definitely possible to enjoy Followers and not be annoyed by what annoyed me. There were some great elements and like I said above, the premise of the book as a whole was so interesting. I just wished the writing flowed a little better for me. And about 2000 words were removed.
Profile Image for Paige.
152 reviews283 followers
November 22, 2019
Followers is a timely debut novel about the power of social media, the internet, and technology. It demonstrates the effect it has on our relationships and the damage that can be caused because of its influence. Have our friendships and family dynamics changed because of the prominence of social media? How has the internet changed us? What is the purpose of social media, and who is accountable for what is promoted on our pages/feeds: society or individuals? In Followers, a dystopian atmosphere is painted to show different outcomes that could occur if balance is not reached.

Chapters alternate between Marlow and Orla:

Is privacy only an illusion? In Marlow’s world, in 2051, her life almost seems to be choreographed in order to keep her followers online. But, can likes replace loneliness? Marlow’s world consists of pleasing a tyrannical pharmaceutical company, Hysteryl, who helped create her brand. Marlow starts to question the difference between friends and online followers. How can her life feel so empty when she has millions who watch her every move? When asked to take the next big step in her life in order to pacify the public, Marlow realizes that she amounts to more than publicists, branding, and marketing. How will she escape when the program can track her, bots can automatically identify anyone in passing, and everyone recognizes her from the media?

Orla, a struggling writer in 2015, lives in an age promoting endless distractions. Until she creates a name for herself, she feels that she must rely on trends and the rich and famous to maintain a prolific workflow in New York as a budding blogger. Meanwhile, her new roommate looks for fame and wants to market herself on social media as a career. Constantly buried in their devices, how different are they really? What is the value of their work, and how does it influence their relationship and those around them?

Rating explained: I really enjoyed this novel and recommend it to readers who enjoy dystopian fiction. This was 4 stars for me instead of 5 because there were several subplots that caused the intensity of story line to subside. In the end, there was a big moment where I had to suspend belief regarding a city in the future called Atlantis, especially concerning the economics involved.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. Opinions are my own.

More on this:
Watch Megan Angelo talk about 'influencers' that provides insight and background for her book.

Entertainment Exclusive's article on Followers.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews11.8k followers
January 18, 2020
Absorbing, futuristic, & relevant!

FOLLOWERS by MEGAN ANGELO is a fabulous, timely, smart, and electrifying tale that was quite the entertaining and captivating read. Once I started reading it I was absolutely hooked and so intrigued in the futuristic aspect of this storyline and the dystopian atmosphere that I was flipping those pages as fast as I possibly could.

MEGAN ANGELO delivers an original, intelligent, creative, intense, and well-written read here that is told in two timelines and alternating perspectives between our main characters, Orla and Marlow. Orla is the present timeline and Marlow’s is in the future. I would say that I was equally drawn to both timelines/perspectives.

I thought that the author did a fabulous job with creating a futuristic world that was so easy to visualize that was both so fascinating and horrifying to read. The story did lose a little bit of steam for me and I was getting a little impatient for the story to move forward near the end but all in all it was quite the entertaining and immersive read for me.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Beautiful, effective, eye-catching, intriguing, and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Clever, suspenseful, intriguing and a fabulous representation to storyline. I love the title of this book. So good!
Writing/Prose: Well-written, compelling, smart, and readable.
Plot: Clever, intriguing, fresh, intense, timely, thought-provoking, relevant, suspenseful, steadily-paced, absorbing, enjoyable and entertaining.
Ending: The ending was satisfying although some of the revelations were easy to predict because of some foreshadowing and the subtle clues interspersed throughout. It was also easy to see where the story was headed with the plot shift but I found that it was an extremely satisfying tactic though.
Overall: 4.5 Stars! It was such an intensely irresistible, enjoyable, and entertaining book to read that reminded me so much of The Jetsons. Just because I always thought that show was ahead of its time, well I think this book absolutely nails it here with how relevant and timely this story was. The concepts that were presented in this book is scary stuff that’s for sure! Read this book!!

This was a Traveling Sister read with Brenda and Lindsay. Thank you so much to Harlequin for sending us physical review copies! Also, thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a finished copy of this book so I could partake in the Bookstagram Takeover on Instagram on Saturday, January 18th…..coincidentally my granddaughter’s first birthday!
March 13, 2020
3.5 stars

Social media and our future with it terrifies me! Megan Angelo has created a scary social media future here and has given us some things to think about. She challenges some dark realities with our need to be seen, how dependent people are on followers, following and liking on social media and how that affects the vulnerabilities of everyone involved. She shows us a bleak reality of social domination that left me wondering if it could happen.

The story is told in two timelines, where we see how one character controls followers by creating an influencer and another character is controlled by the government for her followers. There is a lot of depth here to the story and things to question and think about. Megan Angelo shows us how easy it is to create the fake and how hard the real is to achieve. A lesson I learned quite quickly from my time on social media. She provokes some questions and a few things to think about however, at times, I did become distracted from those thoughts and questions I wanted to explore. Things got a little complicated and I started to lose focus, and the story moved a bit slow for me.

In the end, I am not sure the dark realities of social media were seen or if anyone cares. I guess that the realist thing of all.

Followers makes for a great group read for readers who love to ask questions and think deep into the story. I highly recommend.

I read this one with my Traveling Sisters Norma and Lindsay. We received copies from the publisher.
August 20, 2019

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I have other ARCs that I should have been reading before this one (deadlines, yo), but after reading a few pages of this book to "sample," I ended up not being able to put it down. I picked up FOLLOWERS because it sounded a little like Dave Eggers' THE CIRCLE, only without the terrible sex scenes and unrealistic protagonist that made THE CIRCLE seem like a social media version of RED SPARROW (i.e. exploitative and bad).

FOLLOWERS is coming out in January 2020, which is really the perfect time, since it's the time of new years, new resolutions, and FOLLOWERS is all about people who will do anything to tap into that idealized version of ourselves we all wish we could be and then becoming famous. There are two different narrators, set in two different timelines. In the present day, there's Orla, a wannabe writer who lives with a wannabe starlet. One day the two of them hatch a scheme that ends up catapulting them both to fame with disastrous results. The second plotline takes place in the future and is about a woman named Marlow who's famous for being famous, but having an existential crisis because of it.

Both Orla and Marlow are great heroines because they're heavily flawed and make a lot of bad choices, and the book explores the effects of those choices and the possibility of redemption. The dystopian aspect of it explores the superficiality and vapidness of listicles and famous-for-being-famous celebrities of the Now, and a Truman Show-esque-like post-social-media future, where technology and psychology have merged to the point that everyone can tune in via brainwave and everything and anyone can be filmed and viewed for one's voyeuristic pleasure.

I think the messages of FOLLOWERS and THE CIRCLE are both very similar, in that they both take a "social media is bad" approach. Social media is not inherently bad in my opinion, but it does act as a magnifying glass-- acts of good become hyper-focused, but so do acts of bad, and sometimes with disastrous consequences. The cataclysmic event in this book that ends up causing the rift between our Now and Marlow's Future capitalizes on this nature of "bad," by showing that a lot of us are a bit too cavalier with what we choose to share online, and that the internet really isn't as durable or secure as we'd like it to be; it's far from being compartmentalized, and we should be careful in how we use it.

The reason I'm not giving it a five is because I didn't really like the ending-- it felt too easy. I also feel like, for a dystopian, this book really didn't do the best job painting the future as horrific and doom-laden, which I look for in books of this nature. I was kind of hoping for a social media version of Brave New World or 1984, and while I sort of got that, I also sort of got a book that felt more like chick-lit, in that the focus was on mid-life crises, family, and finding yourself. And that's totally fine and it was done pretty well here, but I don't think it's what people reading this are signing up for.

Overall, though, this was a pleasure to read, and I think it will be a hot item for book clubs and might even become a movie (although hopefully, a better movie than THE CIRCLE ended up being). If you enjoy thoughtful, speculative fiction and would like a gentler dystopian novel with mid-2000s chick-lit vibes and flawed heroines and some pretty on-point jabs on social media and click-bait, this will be a great book for you. It even gets in some laughs at Donald Trump's expense, which I support.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

4 to 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Brandice.
800 reviews
March 27, 2020
Followers is a dual timeline story about the obsession and dangers of social media — Never being “off” or away or checked out has its price.

Orla moves to NYC and dreams of being a successful writer. In 2015, she meets Floss, who dreams of being a star. Together they hatch a plan launching them into the world of fame, though things aren’t always as they seem.

In 2051, Marlow is constantly on camera in the world she lives in, Constellation. The network decides her storyline and she rarely has a moment to herself. Marlow begins to question things in her life and feels compelled to answer some of the unknowns. The two stories flip back and forth, ultimately interweaving.

Though Followers is fictional, at the general rate of obsession with social media and content consumption in today’s world, some of its elements don’t seem too far off, though the story also includes “other world” aspects. I stayed interested enough to see the story through, despite not caring for Floss and Orla as main characters, but felt the book’s premise was more interesting than the execution.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,381 reviews11.7k followers
February 4, 2020
Kirkus definitely oversold this book to me with its glowing review and promises of great speculative fiction. This is, instead, a fast moving, easily readable women's fiction with some poorly developed and underthought elements of spec fic. It's the kind of light genre fiction that writers like Ruth Ware and Taylor Jenkins Reid produce. Easy to read, but never digs deep enough to have an emotional or intellectual impact.

But I did like half of Followers. The half set in present time, where two young women chase and achieve online fame. This stuff is really compelling. We all have seen those people on the net who will do anything for clicks. It would have been a better book though, if the author, instead of detouring into the futuristic world damaged by the cell-phone created chaos (your phones will melt your brains!!!) leaned into the aftermath of internet fame, and its effect on child "stars" specifically. I want someone to imagine what poor Ryan from Ryan's Toy Review is going to be like after 20 years of making his parents YouTube money. I don't want to read a silly Trump's wall satire that makes no sense. Someone else can do the futuristic/dystopian part better to be sure.
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
489 reviews239 followers
February 7, 2020
Okay, so I received this book as an advanced edition paperback a few months ago and was incredibly stoked because I had already seen a lot of great reviews. I got about 200 pages in it and nothing had really happened yet so I decided maybe it wasn't the right time and shelved it, moving on to some other books.. Since then publication day has come and gone and I've continued to see amazing reviews on it, so many that I decided to give this a second chance and start it back over again, but this time in audiobook AND regular book format... Alas, I STILL could not stay interested. I just finished it and really had to sit here scratching my head, wondering why so many people love this book. I just don't get it. Absolutely nothing about this book stood out to set it apart from any other normal release, IMO. This book, along with the whisper Network which released last fall, had all this crazy hype and just like a sucker I bought into it. The thing is, this was not a thriller, it wasn't funny, and there was really no mystery element to it either (all of my favorites). If anything, it was a bit scyfi that had it's romantic and political moments. There was a message that would certainly apply today with the social media celebrity craze being so prominent and important (those darn Kardashians set trends without even intending to!). Outside of this message / statement I couldn't find anything that garnered more than a 2 star rating from me. Now please don't get me wrong, the writing is on point, it's just I didn't feel like this was all that it was worked up to be. Had I not read all of the hype going into this I might have felt a little less disappointed. This will teach me not to buy into all of the hype yet again and just go in with no expectations the next time!
I'm sure I'm in the minority and I will be roasted for this opinion, but I had to put my thoughts out there. Maybe one day in the future I will try this book yet again, who knows. I'm still going to give Angelo a chance and pick up her subsequent release as I do feel there is potential. Moving on to the next great release!
Profile Image for Dennis.
724 reviews1,387 followers
October 21, 2019
If you told me that Followers would be the debut novel of Megan Angelo, I would've told you that you were lying. I actually had to double check Ms. Angelo's Goodreads profile because I actually didn't believe it for a second. Followers showcases the dark reality of society's addiction to technology, instant gratification through social media, and the world of the celebrity. As it alternates between 2015-16 and 2051, it shows the vast differences between society's role in the aforementioned themes. The three main characters, Orla, Floss, and Marlow, all battle with the attention that they've been given. With its perks, comes great responsibility.

Between the two time periods, society was affected by what has been titled as "The Spill"—an "emotional terrorism" attack on society that has affected technology profoundly. As the three women navigate through this society overpowered by the pheromone of celebrity and influence, it's vastly entertaining. I really could not put this book down if I tried and I'm sad that it's over. It doesn't dab too much into the realm of make-believe, so science-fiction skeptics can still enjoy it. I definitely recommend and I'm excited to see what Megan Angelo has up her sleeve next.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,081 reviews1,655 followers
February 13, 2020
In 1998, we had "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey. Truman Burbank is an insurance salesman, who doesn't realize that his entire life is being telecast, around the globe 24/7. The producer of the show tries to control his mind, even removing his true love Sylvia from the show and replacing her with another woman. A movie ahead of its time.

Now we have Followers:

2015: Orla, New York, New York

A blogger (Orla) and her roommate, Floss, an aspiring singer, demonstrate the use of the social media platforms we have today, to create celebrity in these chapters.

2051: Marlow, Constellation, CA

Marlow is the "talent". (2051's Truman)
She has been given her story "arc" by the Government and she is to play her role, 24/7.
She must pretend to "just be living" (oblivious to those watching her every move)
To acknowledge the existence of "followers", is against employee policy.
Bots deliver and remove things from the set, depending on how they are trending.

Eventually, the two alternating narratives will come together.

I have read several books about protagonists being "followed" and "unfollowed" and they have all been light and fun!

THIS book is different-the dystopian 2051 timeline, imagines what today's norm may look like in the near future. It may not even be that far off!

I found the pace slower, and found it hard to stay engaged. Perhaps, I am just growing tired of this theme...or perhaps, at 382 pages, it was a bit too long.

I wasn't riveted. so, I am going with 3 stars...liked it, but didn't love it.

Favorite Quote: 'There aren't heroes or victims or villains. Not in our story, and probably not in anyone else's.
I know you know this deep down: It's all in the edit."

Thank You to NetGalley, Graydon House and the author for the digital copy I received in exchange for a candid review. This book is available now!
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
413 reviews14.4k followers
February 16, 2020
In the age of social media, how do we define our worth? I’ll admit as a blogger, I’ve had my fair share of moments where I compare my following, popularity, likes, shares, and other metrics to others. This is the time that we live in, where many of us feel that some of our value is related to how others see us.

I read an advanced copy of Followers back in mid-fall of 2019, and it was without question the best book I read in 2019. Followers holds a special place in my heart because it pulled me out of the worst reading slump I’ve been in since blogging. I was still consuming books, but oddly enough as a print-reader, I could only do audiobooks. I couldn’t focus at all on a book.

Alternating between 2015 and 2051, Followers tells a story about the culture of celebrity and influence and the way even small mistakes can be misinterpreted and have long-term impact on their lives. It’s also about how our relationship with others through social media can derail our understanding of who we are at our core, and what makes us happy.

In 2015, an aspiring writer and current blogger for a celebrity gossip site Orla Cadden is living with aspiring singer Floss. Despite talent, both Floss and Orla struggle to make progress towards their dreams. And so one day Floss asks Orla to help her in a different way—make her a celebrity. The idea seems outrageous at first, but between Orla’s role blogging about celebrities and Floss’s grit and determination, the two succeed. Floss becomes a Kardashian-like superstar.

But what people in 2015 don’t know is that they are headed towards an event that will fundamentally change society forever. The Spill.

In 2051, Marlow lives in Constellation, California—a closed town that houses government-selected “celebrities” whose lives are broadcast 24/7 to their followers. The residents of Constellation can view comments from the followers, but their job is to act like they don’t know they are being broadcast.

Marlow barely remembers life before Constellation, her mother and father moved her there as a child. In fact, though Marlow isn’t happy, she isn’t used to making decisions about her own life. Until she learns something shocking about her past that will shatter everything she knew.

As Orla and Floss head unknowingly towards the Spill, Marlow seeks to understand life outside of the small bubble she lives in.

All of the characters in this book were fascinating. In their own ways, each character was deeply flawed and also redeemable. Orla and Floss, for instance, had such a unique relationship. Because we hear the story from the perspective of Orla and Marlowe, Floss is a character that can seem ridiculous or overly ambitious through most of the book. But then Orla has these moments of clarity and reflection about Floss, and suddenly you’ll see her in an entirely different light.

Orla is a bit of an underdog, which in and of itself makes her rootable. But Orla also lacks a bit of conviction for some of the novel. She knows what she wants but seems incapable of taking action to make it happen. Marlow, on the other hand, doesn’t know what she wants. Everything in Marlow’s life has always been decided for her, so she never learned to introspect on what she wants. I loved seeing them grow and take form in the book.

Then there is the Spill. I was SO curious exactly what that was and why it changed technology and society so fundamentally. The concept is fascinating. In fact, I’m rooting for a sequel that focuses on different characters, but during that point in time. I was hooked! And the whole message of the book really makes you think. The message about how we evaluate our own self-worth in an age where social media rules so much of society. The messages about friendship, ambition, and what we lose when we are so connected to the anonymous external world that we lose sight of what is directly happening to us.

I loved this book so much. I have already read it twice, and I know I’ll read it so many times that the book will become worn and the pages will become soft with use. All I can say is—read this book. I hope you love it as much as I did!

Thank you to Kathleen Carter for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Blaine.
712 reviews574 followers
April 27, 2020
Followers is a story told in two timelines, on opposite sides of a societal upheaval referred to as the Spill. In the 2015 timeline, Orla Cadden is a wannabe writer, stuck working as a blogger and churning out clickbait stories about celebrities. Her new roommate, Floss Natuzzi, has a plan to work with Orla to achieve her dreams of fame and life as a social influencer. In the 2051 timeline, Marlow is a young woman living in a city in California where everyone knowingly lives their lives on camera 24-7. Her life is one-part Truman Show and one-part Handmaid’s Tale, until something prompts her to go on the run to learn more about her past.

The future timeline shows one possible result of our society’s obsession with social media and celebrity culture. Like many other reviewers, I found the current timeline more interesting. Orla and Floss are both deeply flawed young women, yet their evolving relationship is compelling to read—even though at times they are so immoral that it’s almost a hate read. Their story exposes the symbiotic relationship between the tabloid press/clickbait culture and the fake celebrities that somehow become actual celebrities simply because of the insane, undeserved level of attention they receive. But the novel goes deeper, exploring topics as varied as motherhood and privilege and how today’s social influencers—obnoxious as they may be—accumulate and use their influence in ways not at all dissimilar to the way televangelists and politicians have done for decades.

Some of the plot twists are predictable, but some were not (at least not by me). And some of the plot lines are more realistic than others. But when you finally learn what the Spill is, it’s fascinating and believable, and leads directly to the emotional climax between Orla and Floss. A thoughtful and thought-provoking story. Recommended.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,286 reviews637 followers
January 11, 2021
Ok, I just purchased a load of blue light blocking reading glasses after reading “The Followers” a highly rated speculative fiction novel…. just in case. If you think you might have a problem with checking your computer for updates every five minutes, then this is a great novel for you.

“The Followers” hilariously shows the dark side of those “influencers”, the ones who tweet, Instagram, u-tube, etc. for the sole purpose of getting “hits” “likes” or what have you. I listened to the audible production, narrated by Jayme Mattler, and she was voice-perfect in her dramatizations for the vapid characters. Mattler made the characters real.

The story is told in two timeframes, 2015 and 2051. In 2015 we learn of how high-profile influencers are made. It’s a cut-throat world, and author Megan Angelo has a fun time writing over-the-top silly characters. Well, some of the reality TV shows on currently (any of the “Housewives of” series comes to mind) which encourage competitive and selfish behavior are on par with this story.

Two unseeingly compatible girls end up roommates in NYC. One girl, Orla, wants to be a successful author or blogger. She’s more intellectual in her employment pursuits. She is a blogger for a website called Lady-ish. Her roommate is Floss, who, similar to most of the Kardashians, has no talent or reason to be noticed, is a wannabe celebrity. Floss is one of the most self-involved characters ever written, and she makes reading this story fun. The girls scheme plans to get noticed, well Floss wants to be noticed and Orla writes about it. And it becomes a campy storyline.

In 2051, Marlow lives in a California town inhabited by only reality TV stars. Every moment of her life is on camera. There are cameras in every room of her home and school. The cameras follow her everywhere in her town. In fact, she’s only known a life on camera. When the network determines that Marlow should have a baby with her husband, she learns some disturbing information surrounding her parents.

The two story lines to converge, and it becomes a cautionary tale of fame and those who follow the famous. There is an event known as “the spill” that changed the internet, but the reader only gets a few clues about what “the spill” was. Angelo does a fantastic job making the reader take a closer look at privacy on the internet, along with health issues resulting from all the time we spend in front of those blue light devices.

I really enjoyed the audio of this one.
Profile Image for Blair.
1,731 reviews4,082 followers
January 14, 2020
(3.5) The very definition of an addictive read. 'I'll just read a bit of this and see what it's like...' 'I'll just read maybe 30 more pages...' and before I knew it, I was setting aside a whole Sunday night to power through the second half.

In 2051, we follow Marlow, one of the inhabitants of Constellation, an entirely artificial town where everyone is a reality show star; their lives are streamed to the world 24/7. Marlow has grown up in Constellation and is the face of an emotion-suppressing medication but now, at 35, she's starting to doubt her place in this fishbowl world. The alternating chapters set in 2015 seem, at first, to be unconnected. In New York City, Orla, who writes for a BuzzFeed/Jezebel-style website but dreams of being an author, meets fame-hungry Floss. The two become roommates and make a deal: Orla will use her online platform to help Floss become a star, and Floss will share the spoils of fame (and, Orla hopes, get her a literary agent). The plan works rather too well – when Floss lands her own show, Orla becomes a minor celebrity too.

In this story's reality, a disastrous event in 2016 – 'the Spill' – brought down both the internet and the USA's power grid. Life gradually went back to something approximating normal; Marlow's Truman Show-esque existence is the most dystopian thing in the novel. It's a smart way to engineer a near-future setting, and surprisingly believable too: a huge data spill is a pretty plausible type of cataclysm, and I liked the fact that a couple of generations later, people have already forgotten why being careless with their data was such a bad thing in the first place.

Followers doesn't just feature reality shows, it mirrors their appeal. It's soapy, fast-moving, and almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger. It's easy to miss that you're slowly becoming emotionally invested in the characters, until the very end, when the narrative suddenly grabs hold of you. And then it becomes clear what it's all really been about: family and fulfilment and ambition and disappointment. Like the best trashy TV, it tells a bigger story.

It's been a while since I finished a book with tears streaming down my face, but the last chapter of Followers did that to me. Up until the ending I had some reservations – it's too long, the subplot about Honey could've been cut, some scenes and sequences are confusing – but the way things were wrapped up, particularly for Marlow, raised my opinion of the whole book. You might not expect it from the high-concept premise and candy-coloured cover, but this book has the most beautiful (and surprising) ending.

I received an advance review copy of Followers from the publisher through NetGalley.

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Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
685 reviews4,625 followers
April 16, 2020
3.5 (rounded up) Futuristic, Thought Provoking & Timely Stars

This one drew me in and had me rapt, furiously turning the pages. Followers details the perils of the use of social media to promote celebrity focusing on the obsession, backstabbing, lies and corruption in that often dangerous climb to fame. What would you do to gain followers and become a famous influencer? The higher your numbers get, the greater the perks... but at what cost?

The concept was so relevant and timely when you think of some of our so-called celebrities of today? How did they become famous? These days you are more apt to gain notoriety from a meltdown, wardrobe malfunction, who you're dating or who you are seen hanging out with than for any real talent. I enjoyed that aspect of the book immensely. I wanted more focus on The Spill - the event that changed the technological world as we know it. I was a bit underwhelmed by how little time was spent on it, especially considering that this wasn't a short book. I wanted, no needed, more! The ending also didn't leave me as satisfied as I would have hoped after my initial investment.

Yet, I did take away quite a bit from this book. During this crazy time in our lives when we are reevaluating how we do things and what we find important, I found this book quite thought provoking. Megan Angelo penned quite the fictional commentary on society, politics and our dependency on both technology and social media. Followers depicts a dystopian future that doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility. Thankfully, it also highlights that no matter how much emphasis we place on our electronic world, the most important connection we have is between people.
Profile Image for Alessandra Torre.
Author 46 books15.7k followers
November 10, 2019
I'm so torn over this book. I really really loved it. Then I got to the end, and my love faded to a muted simmer. I still love it, but I feel like this story deserved a stronger ending.

It's set in a really cool future world where there has been a digital crisis and everything is kind of turned upside down in terms of technology and privacy. The book jumps between present and future, and it's a bit of a mystery (which I love!) in figuring out how the two worlds interact.

I'd definitely recommend this title and am so impressed that it's a debut. Absolutely grab it when it releases.
Profile Image for Jessica.
324 reviews359 followers
November 8, 2020
Followers by Megan Angelo is a very unique story that grabbed my attention from the first page.

Followers switches between Orla, Floss, and Marlow’s stories. The stories work their ways towards each other from two different time periods. All of the characters made mistakes and questionable decisions. I enjoyed how the characters changed throughout the novel. Social media affected every aspect of these characters’ lives. I quickly get invested in these characters even though they weren’t the most likeable.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jayme Matter and she did a fantastic job. I will definitely be listening to more audiobooks she narrates in the future.

I highly recommend Followers to anyone looking for an interesting novel about how social media affects people.

Full review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...
February 11, 2020
In 2015, Orla Cadden struggles to pursue her aspiration of becoming a writer while she works as a gossip writer for a New York City magazine. Her days are spent following the frivolous activities of movie-stars and society’s big shots. Orla is stuck on the outside of celebrity until her new roommate - the boisterous and ambitious Floss Natuzzi - hatches a plan to that will bring them both into the limelight. However, neither of these women realize how fame will shape their lives, or how high on the social ladder they will climb.

In 2051, Marlow is under constant observation: she lives in Constellation, California, the city for stars. Marlow wakes up every day to her twelve million followers and her corporate sponsors from the Network. Despite her huge following, Marlow feels trapped and wonders what her life would be like without sharing every moment. After an upsetting discovery about her family history, Marlow will find out what that life could be.

A look into the possible dark future of social media, Followers by Megan Angelo weaves a narrative through time about three women and a catastrophic social media event. Through it all, this book shows that no matter how much emphasis we place on our electronic world, the most important type of connection is between real human beings.
Profile Image for Justin.
266 reviews2,234 followers
April 5, 2020
In another time and place, this book would easily be four stars, so don’t let your eyes quickly gloss over my three star rating and somehow give you the false impression that this book is just average. Also, never mind. Let’s continue...

Here’s the deal, friends. And we’re all friends, aren’t we? And we’ve been practicing social distance long before that was a thing. We’re all way ahead of our time, aren’t we, Goodreads? Anyway,

I ended a sentence we a comma, or I broke a sentence into another paragraph. Either way, I don’t care enough to fix it.

I started this audiobook back when things were relatively normal. What is normal anymore? Sitting at home playing video games and reading books. Watching comforting television programs. Playing basketball with the kids. Cooking meals from Hello Fresh and warming up the leftovers the next day. Not getting a haircut. Wearing a hat more often. Considering bringing back the caveman look. It’s been way too long.

I listened to this story on the way to and from work, at work, like a normally do. Then, working from home went from a nice perk of my job to a mandatory thing. I didn’t, I mean I couldn’t listen to audio books or podcasts the same way. There were other things going on around the house. There wasn’t a commute. So it took me way too long to finish this.

I really liked it though, but I was so ready to be done reading it. I didn’t give it a fair shot to be better than I know it is. The whole concept of social media followers and fame and influence mixed up into a science fiction time bending tale was awesome. The writing was sharp and witty. You should definitely read it if the plot strikes a chord with you at all. It’s better than I’m rating it.

I mean, what the hell else are you going to do? Read this funny sci-fi romcom fictional tale and take your mind off things for a while. It’s a good option right now. I may revisit it again down the road so I can truly appreciate it more than I did this time around.

I really need a haircut, man.

Profile Image for Sarah.
566 reviews142 followers
January 28, 2020
Followers is a story about the power of social media, and also a warning about the dangers of oversharing. We follow the timelines of two women. One is Orla and her story starts in 2015. The other is Marlow and her story is taking place in 2051. Orla is a blogger with dreams of publishing a book living in New York City with a roommate, Floss, an up and coming social media star. Marlow is living in a town where her every movement is recorded and broadcast to her 12 million followers. She gets one hour of privacy a day, between the hours of 3 and 4 am.

When I first started reading, I was immediately swept away by both narratives. I thought they were both cleverly plotted and paced. The writing was sufficient (good- but maybe not particularly memorable). The cast, mostly all women, was fantastically done. They are all flawed. They have dreams and desires and needs outside of romance and families. They are all at times, unlikeable (I don’t mean that as a critique- I love stories with unlikeable characters).

Each chapter ends on a note that left me immediately wanting more of that narrative, but then would dive into the alternating point of view. I think for some that could be a frustration, but it only took me a few paragraphs to get me reinvested in the other story line. It did feel a little bloated after about the 2/3s mark. I ultimately slowed down and wasn’t reading a hundred pages a day. But not enough to really hinder my enjoyment.

There are references to a weird internet related disaster event throughout the book (called “The Spill”), and at times I wondered if I would ever get answers or if it would just be this vague point on a timeline, but eventually all is revealed. It does require a little suspension of disbelief I think, for the fallout of the event, but I enjoyed the overall moral enough that I was willing to look past it.

I deducted a star ultimately, because the ending was frustrating for me. It wasn’t the ending I wanted for Marlow. I think the characters all grew sufficiently, their stories are resolved, and we aren’t left wondering where any of the characters end up. It’s hard for me to get over a “bad” ending (again- the ending isn’t bad or even unhappy, just wasn’t what I wanted). It sort of soured my otherwise awesome experience. Your Mileage May Vary.

I highly recommend the book and am looking forward to reading more from Angelo in the future. Thank you to the publisher who provided a review copy.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,040 reviews1,501 followers
May 8, 2020
Followers by Megan Angelo is a dystopian science fiction fantasy that to me felt a lot more like a contemporary read with a bit of sci-fi to it. The story is told from different points of view and across two timelines from 2015 and 2055.

In 2015 Orla Cadden is a writer that has yet to write the novel she plans but instead writes celebrity gossip pieces to pay the bills. One day Orla meets Floss, a want to be A-lister who comes up with a plan for them both their big dreams. Then in 2055 Marlow lives in a small town for celebrities and lives every moment of her life on camera in front of millions when she discovers a secret from the past.

So for me Followers by Megan Angelo was one of those books where I don’t quite get the hype and feel left out of the secret to it’s success. Consider me on the outskirts with this one as everyone else seemed to love it but I spent the most part of this one fighting the urge to put it down and read something else. The story reminds me a lot of say the Kardashians or one of the Housewife types shows and those aren’t my cup of tea so I suppose what I wanted was more scifi wow then the contemporary feel it had.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Kelli.
844 reviews389 followers
February 7, 2020
In the beginning, I was all in on this one. As a middle-aged mom raised in the idyllic time before technology, back when children were free to roam and every single mistake/misstep/accident/poor fashion choice was not recorded and broadcast, I am afraid for us all. Are most of us too addicted to social media? Are most of us spending more and more time online? Are we finding it challenging to remember things, like phone numbers and appointments...or are we not even trying to remember them and relying instead on our phones to store all of that information and recall it FOR us? Should we be more concerned about everything we text? Why are we so mesmerized by online influencers? Are we less connected in real life? I could go on and on.

This book takes us there. It is well written and it presents a future that for many would seem very off-putting...and potentially imminent. Much of it seems scarily believable. As invested as I was in the beginning, I found the back and forth timeline was a little clunky. My interest waned in the second half as the story got too long. The ending was better than expected, but it was a long road getting there. 3 stars
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
981 reviews239 followers
January 16, 2020
This was an INTENSE read which was made even more intense by the fact that although it was futuristic, everything that was occurring in the future seemed realistic and plausible.

Without a word of a lie, this novel is enough to make you want to delete all of your social media and get rid of all of the technology that you so heavily rely on. With that being said, will I delete or get rid of any of mine? No, I will not. Again, this makes the message of this novel that much scarier.

This novel is definitely one that is thought provoking and will make you think about society. Whether it be society in the past, present, or future. Some of the events in the novel would have me shaking my head but at the same time, what seems laughable in the story is also occurring in real life.

When it comes to the ending, I was able to predict what had happened but I think that was mostly due to the foreshadowing and hints left throughout the story. It was not a blatantly obvious ending but it also did not come out of nowhere.

This book would be great for a book club or even just to create a discussion. This novel combines both fiction and non-fiction which makes me think it would be interesting to read this novel years from now to see how it compares to the future.

***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Monica (crazy_4_books).
642 reviews114 followers
July 14, 2021
2051-California: Marlow has been living almost all her life in this celebrity closed community where her every move is 24/7 streamed online nationwide by the Government, which runs the Internet now. Marlow is simply tired of living a wealthy but dull life and wants more out of it. However, she has to do whatever the network that owns her tells her to do, like having a bad marriage and a lab genetic made child. Marlow doesn't get along with her mother Floss, so when deciding the genes that would go with her future child, she asks to only include her father's side. It turns out, the father she's thought all her life to be hers isn't her biological dad. This sets her on a trip, escaping the facility to look for answers about her roots.
2015-2016- New York: Orla, a young aspiring writer, gets involved in a toxic friendship with a woman who only wants to be a reality show star and social media influencer. Their business bring them temporary fame and money, but there's a lot more to it, concluding with a nation wide technological hacker event that destroys internet and communications as we know it. Then, the government sets its own type of Internet that works as a means to keep everyone under surveillance. These two women seem to be unrelated at first, but soon you'll discover a huge link between Marlow and Orla
The book is written in alternate chapters between present and past time lines.
There's clear influence of "1984" and "Handmaid's tale" and films like "The Truman show" and "Gattaca"
It's a sci-fi dystopian tale set in a near future that involves a mystery and some drama too. If it gets picked up for the Goodreads choice awards 2020 will probably end up in the mystery/thriller category even though it isn't exactly that.
It took me about 80 pages to be fully hooked into the story, it comes a little bit confusing at the beginning, but after that 80-page mark it is very fast and thrilling.
Highly recommended. First top favorite book released in 2020!
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
585 reviews18.4k followers
November 6, 2019
This story follows two friends, Floss and Orla, in two alternating timelines. The first timeline starts on 2015, in which Orla helps Floss become Instagram famous. The second timeline takes place 35 years later in an exclusive village where the residents are recorded and streamed for entertainment. Sort of a futuristic Truman show but with government involvement.

I was intrigued by the premise, the novel has elements of scifi and explores social media, privacy rights, connectivity, and female friendships. Although it started strong for me, it felt a bit long in some sections.

Still, I liked it and think the story feels relevant and relatable to issues we face today. Overall, I recommend it to readers of contemporary and speculative fiction.

ARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley
Profile Image for Kelly  (UnshelvedEdition).
99 reviews15 followers
January 13, 2020
Welcome to the future of technology, and yes it is just as twisted and damaging as we were warned it would be. A world where everyone is a follower for the right price

This book sunk its claws into me and took me on a ride. The story is a generational study swapping between 2015 and 2051 showing the way technology, our minds and society has changed. It was inventive and unique and honestly felt like the direction our world could be heading

Megan Angelo’s writing is absolutely insane and I am going to need more books from her stat. She paints a beautiful picture of both of the worlds the book lives in and finds a way to successfully make each and every character a successful component the story

See more reviews on instagram @UnshelvedEdition
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