A YA thriller, based on a still-unfolding true story
Instagram-famous triplets Cecily, Amber, and Rudy—the children of home renovation superstars—are ready for a perfect summer. They’ve just moved into the site of their parents’ latest renovation project when they begin to receive chilling messages from someone called The Follower. It soon becomes clear that this anonymous threat is more than a simple Internet troll, and he can’t wait to shatter the Cole family’s perfect veneer and take back what’s his.
90’s popcorn teen horror movies and some small vibes of Fear Street series blended in modern generations’ social media addiction with one of my favorite themes: to be trapped in a haunted house!
Oh, yes. It sounds like best way to spend your Friday night, turning yourself into human burrito by wrapping yourself in your fluffiest blanket , munching your snacks, taking long sips from your cocktail as you truly dedicate your attention and entire soul to this kind reading.
Quick summary of the plot-line: Cecily-Rudy-Amber are triplets are children of home renovation stars. Cecily and Rudy are the faces of instagram page as Amber stay behind, doing all the important technical stuff including photographing, photoshopping and editing to help her siblings shine because her lovely parents don’t approve her size 18 style. ( Booing comes at this moment)
But as soon as they move to the house belongs to their parents’ brand new project, an internet troll named Follower started to threat them with cryptic messages. Now their family is under threat to be torn apart and their highly dirty secrets are about to come out! It already picked your interest, didn’t it?
But unfortunately this amazingly great concept and creative idea about building a story around teenager triplets who are successful social media influencers making special videos about renovated house and find themselves in the very wrong house at the extremely wrong time didn’t work with me.
Even though the blended concept and ideas were great, the outcome of the story, not quite relatable characterization and very foreseeable, semi twisty ending didn’t satisfy me enough.
But to be fair it’s still above the average, 3.25 starred reading (it seems like still 3 stars reading but it is not Switzerland kind of neither I hate or I like it reading. It’s better and more potential. So this is still positive three stars. I’m not a fan but I see the potential and with less dislikable characters and less repetitive chapters, this book would be easily a four starred brilliant reading -at least my guts tell me that-)
Special thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS KIDS/ Amulet Books for sharing this digital copy of this intriguing book in exchange my honest review.
This was fun in a cheesy 90’s horror movie kind of way. I liked the characters for the most part (the parents drove me a little crazy), but I did think that the writing over explained things at times and repeated things too much. The Cole triplets run a family Instagram account that shows their family flipping houses. Cecily is beautiful and is the most prominent of the siblings as she does make up tutorials for sponsors. Rudy leads the livestreams. And plus sized Amber is mostly in charge of photoshopping and posting the pictures at this point. The family moves into their most ambitious house yet, but there are a lot of secrets to be found in this house, dangerous secrets.
Social media stalking meets the true crime "Watcher" case. I've seen quite a few thrillers recently based on the dangers of living your lives as online as influencers do, and I'm always pretty interested. There's a lot of really interesting and creepy possibilities to be mined. I've also been really interested in the true crime mystery of "the Watcher house", where a family got menacing letters mentioning things outsiders couldn't really have known, just as they moved into their new dream home. So this book taking creepy elements from both was right up my alley, and while it delivered on the scares and definite menace, there was something about the tone that wasn't quite right for me.
First of all, the danger gets pretty real and pretty dark quickly. The book opens with a teenager's death and goes from there. I like scares and chills but I have a soft heart and a weak stomach so some of this was a little too much for me. I didn't enjoy the unhappiness I felt reading some of this, the way other horror might give me a thrill. That's definitely not universal, this tone was a choice and probably works for a lot of audiences. Teens might appreciate not being talked down to, to have horror with real disastrous consequences
There were some passages that seemed removed, which is especially odd in something that wants to ratchet up the tension, a lot of "Cecily looked at Amber and realized..." language that had me experiencing the triplet's emotions more second or third hand rather than reading them and being right there with them. There was also a lot of repetition about the triplet's goals and hopes. Cecily wanting to start her own channel and talk about science, Amber feeling judged and less than, Rudy not wanting to monetize all of his interests but also having difficulty prioritizing things that aren't monetized. It's realistic that they think about these things often, but it isn't necessarily good writing to have it in the third person narration so often. The first mention of Amber being a lesbian was super awkward and abrupt, but there was a good moment later when Amber is out and considers when she should casually mention an exgirlfriend, just to get it out there.
There's a pretty strong critique of online and stan culture here, without promoting the idea that teens should be off it completely. The triplets are able to influence people and provide much desired representation but these viewers are not their friends and the commenters say really horrible things either not caring that the triplets can read it, or not even considering them as real people who might. There are downsides to having an online presence, but the real problem seems to be their lack of control over their own content, and the family's need for them to monetize at all costs.
There's an audience who will eat this right up, and I did enjoy some of the thriller parts, but softer readers might not expect the more horror direction some of the darkness goes.
I read an electronic ARC through NetGalley, but did not let that affect my review.
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Follower in exchange for an honest review.
While Kate Doughty does an incredibly job at capturing how teenagers actually talk to each other (bonus points for a realistic sibling relationship between the triplets!) most of The Follower's thriller-claim seem like they should draw on the central mystery and they just don't.
This is the kind of book that tells you everything three times but makes sure to never tell you enough that anyone could reasonably solve the mystery on their own and while I get the appeal of a twist, a good twist should be one that makes you suddenly connect all the clues you missed, not one that makes you go "wow that's so crazy and random! I never could have guessed!" and this book is definitely more the latter.
If only the Cole triplets and their parents had watched the classic film Fatal Attraction, they'd have known to leave the house they were renovating after Speckles, Cecily's pet rabbit, died. Instead, they stubbornly stay on even as the threats keep coming. The teens--Amber, Cecily, and Rudy--are famous on Instagram for various posts and for their assistance with their parents house-flipping business. But as anyone who's spent more than a few minutes online knows, what is posted over has little to do with the truth. For the Coles, image is everything, and even though they are ready to move in different directions, their family is in financial trouble. This latest renovation project in upstate New York just might free them from debt. Even while Amber chafes at being increasingly relegated to the sidelines because of her plus size and Rudy is tired of being seen as only an attractive physical specimen, Cecily vacillates between being obsessed with beauty and perfection and a strong need to explore the science behind makeup. Still, the siblings agree to keep it together for the sake of their parents. But once they move into their new house, they begin receiving threatening messages from a so-called follower of their posts. All this drama heightens public interest in their posts, but as events spiral out of control and they try to do damage control, their fans seem to disappear and are ready to believe the worst of them. Although there are plenty of hints provided about the identity of the follower and some of those posts are chilling, this suspense novel becomes something of a cautionary tale about social media and fame and the disconnect between reality and what is posted online. The ending is interesting and somewhat unexpected, leaving me wondering, but the book seemed a bit longer than was necessary.
I loved this book because it kept me engaged and wanting to read more which is hard to find because most of the books I read bore me. Kate Doughty did an amazing job at all the twists and turns of this book and I had no clue who the follower was until she said at the end of the book. It was a shock to say the least, but it made sense once I connected the dots. This book is a horror book and a mystery. I would recommend this book to older teens and adults because it is a pretty graphic book and pretty violent which I personally don’t think is best suited for younger kids. It is very scary so if you don’t like scary books I would not recommend this book to you.
There isn’t much that I didn’t like about this book, but there are a few things that could make it better. I think that it would’ve been better if she would’ve hinted more at whom the follower actually was instead of giving us so many leads but zero information with each lead. I also think that Doughty should have talked more about the extended family and the little cousin and uncle. I didn’t find anything difficult while reading this book I thought it was very well written.
The theme/message is that things aren’t always as they seem/ you never know who you can or can’t trust. I learned that you can’t always trust what you see on the internet because most of the time it is fake or a version of the truth but not the whole truth. The message was very powerful and a topic that I believe should be discussed more because people are always looking on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. They are always looking on those apps and looking at gorgeous pictures of models, and they want to be like them, but they are most likely not real. I would rate this book five stars because it was an amazing book and very interesting.
When this book came out last year, I was so stoked and excited when I got my hands on a physical book. I put off the book for a whole year before deciding to finally pick it up for the spooky season, unfortunately, I really did not like this book - for many reasons.
First, I liked the premise - and the fact that it’s based on a true story is insane. However, I really did not love these characters at all. I get their teenagers, but I could not stand them. I found them to be super obnoxious and selfish - again, I get their teens… but I just didn't care for them and therefore lost interest in the book.
Another thing I would’ve liked would have been the mystery aspect. I wish that was a bit stronger and portrayed better. Also, the story was a bit slow and long. I think it could have been a bit shorter. There’s just not a super strong plotline there and it’s very forgettable. There’s also a HUGE issue I had with this character and the way they portrayed a particular thing - it would be a spoiler so I won't share.
As much as I was interested in a story about Instagram influencers, The Follower just fell flat for me and I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.
Thank you to the publisher for my gifted physical copy - all thoughts are my own!
I am a new reader and seeing how many words were on each page kinda made me nervous. And because I am a new reader I am very slow reader also. So this book felt very slow to me till the very end with a lot of different plot twists at the end. Would recommend!
The Follower is a YA story that follows the story of teenage triplets, Cecily, Amber and Rudy Cole. They are the personalities that front the family's social media influencer account about house flipping. They take on multi million dollar makeovers, live-streaming and photoshopping their way to sponsorships that increasingly become needed due to the family finances. The majority of followers (The Cole Patrol) are in awe. The triplets each had their own "thing" on social media. Cecily does make up and wanted to delve into the chemicals and science of the make up. Amber has been relegated by mum to the behind camera operations, despite wanting to promote her plus size fashion tips and Rudy has become the "host with the most", when all he wants to do is investigate and dabble in his music. But all is not as "prefect" as it seems, both on social media and in their lives. The triplets are increasing fed up with their mother's control of their output (mainly due to financial pressures) and the never ending need for the perfect shots to up the follower count. When they take on a house in the New York suburbs that has been empty for a few years after a suicide, the locals are none too happy and neither is one particular follower. This is when things start to totally unravel for the Cole family. The Follower posts messages to their account warning them off "my house". The family ignore these until strange things start to happen. Items are moved or disappear, doors are locked that were previously open, shadows are seen, footsteps heard...but no solid evidence. The normally encouraging and cheerleading followers start to take notice of The Follower's postings and accuse the Coles of fake news and faking accidents for internet hits, turning against the family. I wanted to tell them to stop posting, but like all horror stories, characters always do things we all know would be sensible not to. The incidents become increasingly life threatening but are difficult to prove to the police. Rudy takes on his own investigation, with the support of his sisters and a couple of local teenagers they have befriended. This just increases the rage of The Follower. The tension builds during the story, clues lead in a range of different directions until the final, slightly bemusing denouement. I felt there were not enough hints earlier in the story to have possibly worked out who The Follower was. However, the explanation added to the depth of the back story. There is no final "happy" ending...we are left wondering what will happen next. There are some difficult themes in this book: loss, disfigurement, stalking, death, suicide, as well as the overarching theme of social media portrayal of life vs reality (lies vs truth?), which leads the narrative and is very uncomfortable at times. There are some follower posts between each chapter, on a background of a shadow (The Follower). These add to the creepiness of the story. I noticed that the shadow is not always in the same place, which added to my unnerved feeling. Cover and other illustrations are by Hana Anouk Nakamura. This is a story loosely based on an ongoing true story. It is deeply unsettling. Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books/ABRAMSbooks for an eARC.
THE FOLLOWER is a campy horror/thriller read that features influencer triplets, Rudy, Cecily, and Amber. They run a triplet account that chronicles their family's career in flipping mansions with some personal features, like makeup tutorials and clothing features on the side. Recently, their parents have taken over the management of the account, maximizing their profit and controlling what they post. Due to their father's gambling addiction, they need the income from it.
This has left Rudy and Cecily in the high pressure spotlight, and Amber behind the scenes, running herself into the ground with taking photos, late night editing, and writing captions. Amber is plus-sized and so their mother does not want her in front of the camera (fatphobia). On the first day in the new mansion they are flipping, the triplets are live-streaming the walk-through when the realtor reveals the house's history - someone died there.
When the account begins to receive threatening comments and messages claiming that the house is theirs and that they need to leave, the triplets begin to look into the past more. As horrible things keep happening, this follower begins to seem more and more horrifying.
What I loved: This definitely has some campy horror vibes with the ghost story and horrifying events that happen. These vibes keep the pace moving quickly as the triplets and reader try to figure out who could be behind it all. The added financial pressure of the parents help to explain why they are still seeing the renovation through while also keeping up their influencer posts. The events that happen definitely add to fear as they escalate over time.
The other themes around social media were also interesting, showing the impacts of negative comments and the ways that people interact through social media (often in toxic ways). The way that the account was being run by their parents was lamented by all the siblings who missed it when they used to do it for fun, and this turning of something fun into a job shows the toll that such changes can have. Importantly, there were some messages around Amber, her size, and the way that she is received that were also interesting. Her mother has pushed her to the background, but when she begins to get a chance to shine, the reception on social media may be mixed, but Amber gets to do what she loves and there is power and confidence in that. I also appreciated Amber's own self-assuredness and her LGBT romance.
What left me wanting more: The ending felt a bit rushed, and I felt like some information was lost in the confusion. The major questions are answered though.
I would also add content warnings for gruesome animal death, poisoning, deadly allergies, murder (past and present), suicide (presumed), mental illness (not treated sensitively), home invasion, and disfigurement.
Final verdict: Creepy and fast-paced, THE FOLLOWER is an intense thriller with interesting side themes around social media. Recommend for fans of THE COUSINS, TEETH IN THE MIST, and RULES FOR VANISHING.
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Author: Kate Doughty Genre: Mystery/Thriller Age Range: Young Adult Format: E-Book Advanced Reader Copy Published: 23rd March 2021 Pages: 777 (Just to note this is what netgalley had as the page count while I was reading however every time I started reading a new page it jumped forward 3 numbers so I assume this was a formatting error and it will not be 700+ pages) Rating: 3 Stars
A spine-tingling YA thriller, based on a still-unfolding true story
Instagram-famous triplets Cecily, Amber, and Rudy—the children of home renovation superstars—are ready for a perfect summer. They’ve just moved into the site of their parents’ latest renovation project when they begin to receive chilling messages from someone called The Follower. It soon becomes clear that this anonymous threat is more than a simple Internet troll, and he can’t wait to shatter the Cole family’s perfect veneer and take back what’s his. The Follower examines the implications of what it is to be watched in the era of social media fame—as well as the lies we tell and the lengths we’ll go to uphold a perfect image, when our lives depend on it.
Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Gambling Addiction, Blood, Murder, Death, Animal Death, Loss of a friend, and Grief.
This review contains spoilers.
I love mystery/thriller so when I saw this up for request on Netgalley I decided to request it. As soon as I read the first chapter I was immediately curious about what was going on as it honestly gave me the chills. One aspect of this novel that I think was really well done was that it captured the creepy atmosphere perfectly, there were multiple moments where I was on the edge of my seat and had goose bumps. Another aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed was the look at influencer culture, it was interesting to see what was going on behind the scenes and the fact that the triplets weren’t posting the content that they wanted to but instead what their mother wanted them to. Also, I was so frustrated with how their mother was behaving and how she treated them. Now, let’s talk a bit about the characters, I will say I wasn’t overly attached to any of them but I did thoroughly enjoy Amber’s character and in my opinion, her POVs were the most interesting. Cecily was an interesting character and I felt so bad for her after her attack. I really wish Rudy had more development throughout the novel as all I really know is that he likes to make music so I would’ve liked to have seen more of his backstory and personality. While the final plot twist shocked me, I can’t say that I was a huge fan of it. Another issue I had was that I felt that at times the pacing was a little off. However, I did really like that this novel had an ambiguous ending.
Overall this was a decent mystery/thriller with a creepy atmosphere that examines influencer culture, however, I found it to be a little slow-moving in places and the characters were a little under-developed.
**Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of The Follower by Kate Doughty through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for this opportunity.
The Follower by Kate Doughty is a young adult mystery thriller novel about a set of triplet social media influencers. The Cole triplets move from house to house with their parents as they flip homes. This new house is their last chance, but it seems that maybe they've bitten off more than they can chew. The Follower is due to be published on March 23rd, 2021. I rated it 5 stars on GoodReads.
Here's the summary from GoodReads:
A spine-tingling YA thriller, based on a still-unfolding true story Instagram-famous triplets Cecily, Amber, and Rudy—the children of home renovation superstars—are ready for a perfect summer. They’ve just moved into the site of their parents’ latest renovation project when they begin to receive chilling messages from someone called The Follower. It soon becomes clear that this anonymous threat is more than a simple Internet troll, and he can’t wait to shatter the Cole family’s perfect veneer and take back what’s his. The Follower examines the implications of what it is to be watched in the era of social media fame—as well as the lies we tell and the lengths we’ll go to uphold a perfect image, when our lives depend on it.
This was such an interesting book. I didn't really know what to expect going into it, but I'm genuinely so glad that I read it. It's been a long time since a book actually freaked me out, but this one did. I was reading it before I went to sleep but I had to put it down several times because I was so freaked out by the concept and the potential of what was going to happen.
I loved that it was a multi-point a view story and that we got the perspective of each of the Cole triplets and got to see their view of the events. Each triplet was well developed and I really appreciated how different they were and also how they related to each other. They were understandable characters, and it was interesting to see from the perspective of the social media influencer rather than just seeing their posts.
I also really enjoyed the use of social media to start the terror for the triplets. It was a good place to start to develop the fear, and it made me wait with baited breath for how the threats were going to come to fruition. It really hammered home the lesson of be careful what you post, and I found it really intriguing how the culprit drew from the knowledge of what the triplets had posted online to torture the triplets for changing the house.
This book made me cringe as bad things happened. Not in the way that they were cringeworthy and awkward, but in that they tended to really gross me out and I sometimes felt like I had to look away from what was going on. The follower was a truly disturbed and it really made the book feel like the triplets' actions had consequences.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this book and I definitely recommend that you check it out if you're at all intrigued by the concept. I really only have good things to say about this book.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel!
One of the things that most caught my eye about “The Follower” by Kate Doughty is that in the description it says that it’s ‘based on a still-unfolding true story’. Sure, I’ve seen ‘based on a true story’ until the cows come home, but ‘still-unfolding true story’? I don't know what that means. I did a little digging, and found out that this book takes some inspiration from the still unsolved “Watcher” case, in which a family moved into a house, and started getting harassing and threatening letters from an unknown person. This went on for awhile, the person was never caught, the family moved out. HERE is an article about it if you want to know more, and you probably do because it’s BANANAS. But ‘still-unfolding’ may be a little misleading, as it sounds like it’s stalled out and will probably never be solved. That said, “The Follower”, though taking inspiration, does not leave the reader hanging like reality did! In fact, it captured my attention and held it, making it so I had a really hard time putting this book down.
What I liked best about “The Follower” was how fast paced and generally addictive it was. We hit the ground running in the very first pages, and we never really paused to take a breather. This made for a book that I just kept on taking in, which was great in the moment. While it’s true that sometimes this fast paced momentum meant that we’d feel like we would trip through moments that needed maybe a little bit of a slow down, this only happened a couple times and the awkward pacing wasn’t too distracting. I also liked all three of the Cole Triplets, when I assumed that at least one of them was going to fall more by the wayside. But all three of them had well rounded personalities and motivations, as well as insecurities and flaws that made them feel human in spite of their ‘influencer’ lives. I especially liked how we got to explore Amber’s drive to be a fashion master while being plus sized, and how while she was hurt by how people (specifically her mother) think that she isn’t as valuable because of her body, she herself is happy with how she is because why shouldn’t she be? Also, the snippets of the social media comments were a fun way to show how their experience at the house and with The Follower was being perceived, and how when ‘fans’ on social media get whipped up into a frenzy of perceived wrongdoing/their own entitlement and or outrage, it can be REALLY damaging. I’m not going to say that it’s going so far as to be a critique of so called ‘cancel culture’, but I will say that it raises good points about how toxic fandoms can be towards living breathing people because of the faux intimacy of social media.
In terms of the actual mystery of who “The Follower” is, there were parts that were pretty obvious from the get go if you are familiar with tropes that go with these kinds of stories. If a character has a beloved pet, it will probably meet an untimely end. If things move around and no one fesses up to doing it, that may mean something more. The family can’t leave the house in which they are being terrorized because it’s a money pit. And so forth. It’s not BAD, per se, and these tropes are familiar and cozy in a way that means that they work just fine. But it also didn’t really make for many big surprises as the story went on. There were a number of moments that should have been ‘ah HA’ in nature, but because I knew the tropes and tricks from many stories before, almost all of them were not surprising, and even somewhat predictable. That being said, I’ve been consuming these kinds of stories for many years now, so for readers who are just getting started there could be things to discover.
“The Follower” was a comfortable read for me that gave me all the reliable elements that I like of a YA thriller. I look forward to seeing what Kate Doughty comes out with in the future, and will definitely be checking it out, whatever it may be.
Now this will get you wanting to sleep with your lights on! Need a good old Haunted House storyline to get you ready for October this is for you!
Besides the Horror aspect, this had a HUGE social media premise. I could go on and on about the hold social media has on almost every single person, but this review would be LONG AF! The Cole triplets… Instagram influencers with thousand of followers. When things turn up suspicious at their new home; people wonder, is it clickbait or is this actually happening?
This book got me looking around at times. I didn’t even wanna go to the bathroom at once because I was scared what would be behind the curtains!!!! The suspense was INSANE! I read this book in about 6 hours, it was such a page turner! I didn’t expect a lot of the twists that were coming (except for the one…. IYKYK 🐰).
The timing/speed of the book did seem a bit slow, like I wasn’t fully intrigued. But it quickly made up for it throughout the book with crazy moments! I will say… I wish it had more of the psychological/ghost/haunted ending to it then who the actual “follower” was but I was still not disappointed at all!!
Social media talk: ________________
I HATE when a book covers people that have a HUGE social media presence. It’s just plain ANNOYING! Oh wait did I forget to say? The mom is the MOMAGER of their account. I could not STAND her! 1.) obviously your not posting Amber because your fat shaming her and won’t let her even TRY to let her presence known. 2.) no matter what happens they HAVE to post. I mean come on!!! Your daughter has a chemical burn for damns sake and your pressuring your other kids to post?! What kind of mom are you? 3.) Just being a momager in general is annoying asf, and I couldn’t stand her narcissistic ass!
I do love how the “follower” was tied in for the horror aspect. It didn’t make it seem like some basic kids with a huge following. It actually helped build the suspense!
Of course as the reader, you know exactly what is going on with the twins. You know what is clickbait and what was real life. It SUCKS to read what people comment and not know what’s actually going on. It really makes you think for IRL what is clickbait and is actually happening. (Hopefully nobody is going through what the Cole Triplets are going through😂)
✨ if you are in a reading slump I would HIGHLY recommend this book! It’s a bit slow at first to get used to the writing and how the narrators talk, but once you about 70 pages in you will finish this in no time!
This book was a fairly quick read and is a thriller/ mystery that follows the Cole family (who are Instagram famous) as they move into a new house that they plan to do up and sell. But they learn that there was a suicide in the house and they want to find out more. Then this follower starts commenting on their posts telling them to leave the house and leaving things like ‘this is my house’.
The chapters are written from a different triplet’s view, but is written in third person. I found myself not really reading the triplet’s name at the start of the chapter and having no issue following the story. This felt a little odd, as I didn’t really feel like there was much else to distinguish who the chapter was meant to be following. The triplets didn’t really have different personalities as such.
I kinda guessed the main twist but more in a ‘it’s probably them, but I don’t understand how it’s going to be revealed and I’m probably wrong’ kind of way. The ending twist felt a little rushed and something just didn’t feel right, almost like it was just thrown in there. Apart from one thing, it didn’t really feel like the reader was being lead to be able to understand who and why it is that person. A good twist should be ‘it’s kinda obvious now I think about it’ and when you reread, you should be able to pick up on more clues. But this felt like it was going more for a shock factor.
There are other things that bother me about this, but I think that’s just down to personal preference, mainly how reading this, I could already tell that the ‘follower’ would be shown to have a history of mental health issues and history of being medicated. There’s just something about having a thriller using mental health as a way to show that the person is ‘dangerous’ that feels not only predictable, but also adds to the stigma around mental health.
I don’t like to end on a negative, so here’s one thing I did enjoy about the characters. I like that Amber is fat, and is into fashion and posts about body positivity and breaking ‘the rules’ around plus size fashion. I liked that at no point did she try to lose weight to fit into other people’s ideals when she was posting fashion things on instagram, and that she gets into a relationship with a girl, that isn’t toxic.
Amber, Cecily and Rudy Cole are seventeen years old triplets, and bonafide social media stars. Posting collectively under a shared social media handle (@ColeTripsHouseFlips) they each feature in their own speciality (fashion, makeup and health / fitness/working out) combining their efforts to promote their house flipping endeavours, documenting each property as they move into it, renovate it, and then sell it for a healthy profit. However, as is so often the case with social media, when you scratch the surface, all is not as it seems. The triplets are all home- schooled and are subject to the modern day “stage mom” who dictates their brand and directs their content. The financial burden of supporting the family falls far too heavily on the children, and with the new project that they have taken on, the cracks in the family may soon be too big to hide..
Taking over a historical house with a murky past, the family settle in to carry out their usual works, but when they start getting mysterious messages from an online fan, is it a simple case of trolling or will the answer lie in the history of the house?
I enjoyed this book, I liked the premise and I’m enjoying the current run of thrillers examining the potential problems of living life online - it reminded me in parts of People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd, which I read recently and which had similar themes. The characters were decent although I felt like they could have had a bit more depth, particularly the parents, although I appreciate that I’m more than likely older than most of the target audience!! I liked the format of the book with the chapters being broken up by ‘online comments’, which I enjoy as a device. I thought the tension built well and the book was well paced, there was a good range of potential villains and I didn’t guess the ending too early which is always a bonus. An enjoyable read and I’d definitely look out for more by this author.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel!
THE FOLLOWER by Kate Doughty is a fast paced and addictive YA thriller that takes some inspiration from the true story of "The Watcher", an anonymous troll who sent letters to a family that bought an old house and harassed them until they packed up and left. The mystery of who The Follower is has a lot of predictable elements to it, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It kept me interested and it kept me reading, and while I was able to predict a number of twists and turns, and while there was a bit of a reliance on old hat tropes, I really did like The Cole Triplets. I felt that all of them were well rounded and realistic in their aspirations and passions, as well as their insecurities. I especially liked Amber, the plus sized fashion maven who has been relegated off camera because her mother thinks that she isn't 'on brand'. I liked that while Amber was understandably hurt by her mother's judgements and misconceptions, she herself was perfectly happy as who she was and didn't have any moments of doubting her appearance, which I thought was a good message. I also liked how Doughty does bring up the pitfalls of being famous and having a large online following, as as things start to go south, the fans assume that Coles are lying, and start to harass, smear, and denigrate them. I wouldn't call it an attack on so called 'cancel culture', but I do think that it brings up how the faux intimacy of social media can make fans feel like they know more than they actually do, and how it can make them feel entitled to get whatever they want from those they 'admire'.
So while it was predictable and trope-y, THE FOLLOWER was a quick read with likable characters and a fast paced speed. Teens just getting into the thriller genre will probably find a lot to like, but so will those who appreciate the genre as a whole and the building blocks that go into it.
Cecily, Amber and Rudy are the triplet children of mildly famous house flippers. They run an Instagram that was taking in mild amounts of money; when the house flipping business got into trouble, their mother seized on the Instagram, and now it's the major source of income for the family, with everything held to a rigid schedule. The triplets aren't really enjoying it as much any more; Rudy is tired of having to always be 'on' for the viewers, though he loves interacting in the comments; Cecily can't talk about the things she's really passionate about, because it's not 'worthy'; Amber is barely on screen any more, because she's a size eighteen and her mother thinks the viewers won't be interested.
Their newest house is already a difficult flip, very badly run down and with a short timetable. When unexplained things start happening, the triplets and their parents brush it aside. Accidents keep happening, though, and the triplets know they have to solve the mystery before the Follower reaches their end game.
There's a lot going on in this story. Social Media bullying, body shame and positivity, a lesbian relationship, horror, long term illness and recovery - which, when you list it all out, makes it sound like a very heavy, packed novel! Kate has a light touch, though, and everything moves along quickly. Parts of it are genuinely creepy.
BE AWARE that there is a section with some medical grade grossness - I'm desperately trying not to spoil anything, but if you have difficulty with non fatal gore, be very careful. There is also some animal violence.
Kate managed to keep me guessing; the villain is someone I suspected at one point, but since I suspected almost everyone that's not saying much! It did all make sense when it came together, except for the sequel hook, which I can't reconcile with anything else we learned during the novel. I hope there's a sequel to explain it!
This is a great, fast paced novel that will really creep you out.
The Follower by Kate Doughty is a YA novel about a set of triplets who are Instagram influencers. The Coles are not your typical family. Mr. Cole got into some debt. It's up to Mrs. Cole to remedy the situation. Rudy, Amber, and Cecily's job are to run the Instagram account for the family: Rudy is the hype boy, Amber captures content and Cecily is a beauty guru. Generally, things go smoothly; however, when the Coles get a new follower that starts threatening them, things get out of control.
The Coles move to a small town to renovate an old house that Mr. Cole got a deal on. The family is met with hostility as the house is a historical landmark, but that's not all... This house has a frightening history that the Cole family's new follower doesn't want to be exposed. At what lengths will this follower take? You will be surprised!
In general, I liked this story. It's a story relevant to teens today. I am a social media manager, so I know what it's like to obsess over engagement, content, and followers. The writing is good. The characters are interesting. Totally loved the thriller and horror aspects.
The only issue I have is the repetitiousness. I am on the fence with this too. I am thinking about being seventeen and an Instagram influencer. Yeah, I think it may just be the characters themselves and not the author. Readers will love this story or hate it.
I give it a pass because the writing is good and it kept me engaged.
I flew through this book! There were a lot of creepy parts that kept me on the edge of my seat, keeping me hooked on the story. Further, I really liked the triplets! The characters were well written and I liked getting to know the real triplets in comparison to how they depicted themselves on Instagram. I connected with them and cared for them throughout the story. However, I wasn't a fan of everything in this story, hence the 3 stars. The main issue I had with this book, was its portrayal of mental health. Mental health issues are presented to show that the villain in this story is dangerous, which adds to the stigma around mental health. Next to this, I detected some predictable tropes which are seen often in thrillers. Even though they made this read a bit more predictable at times, I didn't mind much because they didn't give away the main reveal: "who is the follower?". I did have a problem with one of the tropes but this is a personal problem (skip the next part to avoid a spoiler). When Cecily's pet got introduced, I already predicted that it was going to die and I was right. This death didn't sit well with me because I absolutely love animals and just can't bear to read about them dying in books. All in all, this was an addictive thriller that kept me hooked but which did contain a few issues.
Thank you to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for providing me with an e-arc. This did not affect the honesty of my review in any way.
The Follower follows the story of triplets Cecily, Amber and Rudy who run a popular Instagram account which documents their parent’s renovations, however things at the latest house take a dark turn when an internet troll goes too far.
The book was a fast paced and creepy read, it was fun to read and I really liked the eerie atmosphere to the story. The book is told from the perspective of each triplet and right from the start we know things in their lives are not as perfect as they portray, they all have their own personal problems, and I liked their distinct voices and their relationship together. As the triplets are influencers it was interesting to read about their daily lives and what goes on behind the scenes for their content.
The plot focuses on the family renovating a new house which has more history/issues than they expected, and I really liked the creepy atmosphere in the book and what happened to the family and how they dealt with everything. The book is fast paced, and a lot happens in it, because of this it felt like some things were not addressed that well or enough and so the mystery side of the book was lacking build up. There were too many aspects to the plot which were dead ends/lead nowhere and so there was little build up the actual reveal. The ending itself was kind of disappointing and rushed and I personally did not like the final reveal.
The Follower by Kate Doughty is a ya thriller about an influencer family who starts to get online threats when they move into a new house. Soon the threats turn into something more sinister.
The book has an interesting concept that is executed pretty well. The triplets are actually quite likeable and have a nice and realistic relationship which is refreshing, they sometimes argue but they deeply care for one another.
I also liked that there was some nice lgbtq+ and body diversity representation.
Small details but the instagram comments at the end of each chapters were a really nice touch
However, one thing that really bothered me was that when one of the kids got seriously injured, the parents decided to stay until the open house because they couldn’t afford to stay at a motel. While I do understand that money was tight, would any parents risk the lives of their children for a week or two of motel money?
The mom was also very annoying with the social media stuff and it made her really unlikable.
I saw the plot twist coming but I never would’ve guessed who the follower was so I was still pretty surprised by it.
All in all, it wasn’t a perfect book but I still enjoyed it.
Thanks Abram Kids and Netgalley for the digital copy in exchange for my honest review.
a family of instagram-famous house flippers move into an old masion with a grim backstory, and as they begin their renovations, things start to go horribly wrong. so, i didn't actually read the summary blurb before starting the book, and that's my bad, because i wouldn't have bought it knowing it was about social media lmao. this was marketed as ~inspired by true events~ which was pretty obviously "the watcher" (which is super fucking creepy & compelling & i def recommend watching the buzzfeed unsolved episode about it if you aren't familiar with the story) and i was like, yes, great, i'm into it, lets fuckin go. if you're like, into the whole insta-famous culture thing then this will probably be way more your cup of tea, because the author really went hard with the details of constantly checking follower engagement & going viral & making sponsors happy etc. the actual mystery bit was... fine-ish? i felt like from the moment the family takes their first tour of the house, half of the reveal of the big mystery is really obviously shoved in your face, but the "who is doing this" aspect was decent. idk. meh. 2/5
Though I used to cut YA books more slack when it comes to good writing and plotting, I have now read so many excellent ones that now I feel the bar deserves to be set much higher. Though this is an engaging book that kept me turning the pages, I found the characters to be lacking and the plot to be a bit convoluted. A compulsive read—albeit with issues—that is fairly forgettable.
I thought it might be fun to read a book about Instagram influencers in a haunted house, but honestly, the social media aspect just kept taking me out of the book, especially since there were some blatant and confusing errors when it came to how social media platforms actually work. In addition, each of the issues that the three siblings are dealing with felt tacked on, and I wish that their development could have been a more integral part of the story rather than a side effect.