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The Atmospherians

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  381 ratings  ·  154 reviews
A “dazzling” (Bryan Washington, author of Memorial and Lot ) and brilliantly satirical debut novel for fans of Women Talking and Red Clocks about two best friends—a disgraced influencer and a struggling actor—who form The Atmosphere, a cult designed to reform problematic men.

Sasha Marcus was once the epitome of contemporary success: an internet sensation, so
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Atria Books
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May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy is a 2021 Atria Books publication.

Okay- well, that was different- in a good way!

Satire is hard to balance, but if it is done right, I love it! This book hits an uncomfortable mark as it examines influencers, toxic masculinity, and body image, and perhaps the role we play in it.

Sasha is a successful influencer, until an unforeseen tragedy sends her popularity plummeting, turning her into a pariah in an instant. At the height of her anxiety, her old friend, Dyso
May 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoy satire, when it's done right, so this book was great for me.
It's bizarre, funny, and relevant.

𝘋𝘺𝘴𝘰𝘯 - 𝘢 𝘩𝘢𝘴-𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 '𝘩𝘢𝘴' 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 '𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯' - 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘶𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘚𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘢 - 𝘢 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘭𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘰'𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 '𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥' - 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘹𝘪𝘤 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴.

𝘖𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘋𝘺𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘚𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘢 𝘥𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺'𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰
Michael David
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: widget-received
“‘So you’re abandoning me? Tossing me overboard to the sharks?” I made grotesque sucking and biting sounds. “Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the sharks eating me whole.’”

Sasha Marcus is mortified with everything going on in her life. Just recently a social media star who ran a wellness brand for women, everything fell down when she responded to one troll...with devastating consequences. Now, most of the world hates her, there are people camped outside of her apartment shouting death threat
lark benobi
Apr 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Atmospherians by Alex McElroy manages to be both completely serious and completely funny at the same time, the same sentence. What a delight to read. It’s very good at threading a path between the serious and the satirical and the narrative voice rollicks forward. It’s perfect that Mat Johnson has blurbed this novel—like his work it’s in that rare category of satire that uplifts the reader instead of leaving her drowning in a pool of nihilistic cynical despair. Lovely.
Alex McElroy
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I know the author
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I finished the book all of 5 minutes ago, and I can’t wait to gush and recommend it to everyone I know. The Atmospherians is an under the radar, cutting satire destined to make my best of the year list. Yes the topic is timely and seems a bit ripped from the headlines, but the approach is so fresh, the dark humour so perfectly balanced, that I didn’t feel like I was reading yet another “anti-toxic masculinity manifesto.”

The story follows disgraced influencer and wellness guru Sasha, who is recr
Sassy satire and wicked humor, I think this is the book that many people will love and others will simply just not think it is funny at all. That is satire at its wicked best! Masculinity, characters that are hard to like, cults, influencers, and our ways of living are questioned in this unique read! Would love a better more compelling cover as this one seems more bland than I would expect from such a cutting edge book! Definitely a worthy read to challenge your way of thinking and laugh out lou ...more
Megan Collins
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A canceled wellness guru and a former background actor with body dysmorphia start a cult to reform terrible men. A clever and impeccably written satire, aimed at toxic masculinity and influencer culture. Alex McElroy’s word choice constantly surprised and delighted me. I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Valerie Solanas is probably better known for being charged with attempted murderer than her radical feminism. And yet a phrase she coined prior to shooting Andy Warhol has been arguably her most significant contribution to modern society, a phrase most, if not all, of us have heard, and which many of us have uttered ourselves: “men are scum.”

Actually it’s the tome of which the phrase was derived that stands as Solanas’s greatest achievement. Self-published in 1967 and commercially pub
Apr 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Happy pub day! The Atmospherians is available now! 5/18/21

When I say this book involves a cult created to rid men of their toxic masculinity, some of you might applaud that and some of you might feel a heated need to come to the defense of one gender. The latter group might think this is a book of man bashing. Hear me out for a moment: Yes, the author highlights some unsavory male behaviors, but they also look at the root of those behaviors. They closely examine childhood environments and social
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Jan 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book! It’s due to release later this year.

The Atmospherians is a modern cultural satire about a cult/rehabilitation group centered around changing men and ridding the world of toxic masculinity. Our main characters are a disgraced social media star and her longtime friend.

This is a hard book to rate, but I think I’m going with 3 stars simply because I feel so indecisive. As I was reading the book I enjoyed it, but I fee
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alex McElroy Fans, Drama/Humor
4 It's An Onion Stars
* * * * Spoiler Free-A Quick Review
My dad taught me a phrase that has stayed with me over all these years. He used to say, "Oh, he's kidding on the square". This little phrase works perfectly with this book because, with the onion reference for all the layers, "kidding on the square" is the partner in crime when thinking about all that happens.

This is a sarcastic flavored, yet insightful look at social media and the power it holds over those who follow it without limits. It
Kasa Cotugno
Sasha and Dyson, who have failed in their previous choices in life, establish a "camp" to help men relieve themselves of their toxic masculinity. In order to accept this premise, the reader has to buy into the fact that there is a pandemic of toxicity, which I had a hard time wrapping my head around. Still, there was some very good writing here, some hilarious moments, but when the narration switches from first to third person, my attention began to wane. Wish I'd liked it more. ...more
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a great imagination combined with tongue-in-cheek ludicrousness! Alex McElroy takes the PC overload of today and envisions a world in the not too distant future. Caucasian men run in wild hordes, some doing good deeds (whether the deeds are wanted or not) and some up to no good at all.
In the midst of this is a popular influencer who preaches that you shouldn’t use any of the beauty and health products out there; no soap, lotion, conditioners, health foods, pills, etc. Sasha is riding the wa
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This book was incredible. The best example I've ever encountered of extended satire, which I think succeeds because of how it blends in pathos and backstory to create emotional anchors alongside the absurdity of the ideas. Alex McElroy really is doing the damn thing.

Jun 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
Wish I liked this book more, but it’s ultimately nothing more than an average allegory on today’s society.

Not ashamed to say I rushed through the last 1/4th of the book given how unenjoyable it got in the second act.

It’s too bad - the book starts out great and is funny/satirical but it putters and lands flat in the end.
Sam Glatt
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. Not only is it a brash, delicate study of the dangers of groupthink, but it’s perhaps one of the finest and most true renderings of having an eating disorder I’ve ever read in fiction. As most of the novel has a cutting edge, the scenes where we dive deep into Dyson’s struggles are always handled with a kindness and understanding that left my speechless. This is a new kind of cult story, and the author delivers in every way.
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptionally sneaky, in the best possible way. What begins as a fairly straight-forward satire of influencer culture and toxic masculinity turns into a philosophical examination of what it means to want and get attention, group power dynamics, and the double-edged sword of gendered socialization. Throughout it all the language is fresh, the commentary is funny, and the form is pushed in interesting ways. It's so, so good. ...more
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very solid debut. Balanced the tricks well for the most part, though fell victim to first book excitement in places. Funny and imaginative with some sentences that sing. 4.0
McKenzie Wark
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this! Masculinity is one of the main themes, but told through a female protagonist whose choices are also questionable. Its a book that invokes a world very like the one most of us live in, but with just a few tweaks that make it appear freshly strange. Reminds me of JG Ballard in that.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
𝐀𝐛𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝. 𝐈 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐡𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚.

Sasha Marcus is a victim of cancel culture, after a horrifying incident, leaving the former “internet sensation, social media sweetheart and the face of Abandon” (a skin care and wellness regime), forced into taking a job at a fusion restaurant to ‘cushion the blow’ from the fall out. There is nowhere to hide, though, from the raging, men’s rights protestors shouting outside her apa
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
All my reviews live at

The Atmospherians is a smart, satirical novel about toxic masculinity, body image, and influencer culture. I thought it was fun, dramatic, and impactful.

For you if: You like satire (…and are OK reading about eating disorders).


Before I started The Atmospherians, all I knew about it was that it’s satire, and that the main character is a “disgraced influencer.” Being a person with a small ~internet presence~, I wondere
Rhiannon Johnson
May 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
*review in progress*
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
This book was interesting.
You've got Sasha,a disgraced influencer and Dyson, her former bff from high school. Dyson starts a cult and gets Sasha to join him as a leader. The cult is for white men to teach them how to be better and less basic white men?!
Sasha whines the entire book, but is made to lead a cult. Dyson needs a cult to come help him because he's no shape to be looked up to.
This book is ripe full of satire and the things people do when others are looking.

I keep going back and forth
Emma Bechill
May 27, 2021 rated it liked it
I am currently not rating this one. I need like all the time to process. This book is BIZARRE. And super dark. And not funny, as described. It is unique and a commentary on all the fuckupedness of our world.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cults will grab my attention any time they are mentioned in a book description. And Atmospherians is first a foremost a book about a cult, a most unusual kind of a cult, a gender specific culture specific cult dedicated to reformation of white men. Or maybe Atmospherians is first and foremost a book about dressing toxic masculinity. Or maybe Atmospherians is a satire about the deleterious effects of social media on society and individuals.
That’s just the thing, this book works on so many levels
David Morgan
May 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading The Atmospherians, but I can't really identify exactly why. The story is incredibly well written and compelling, but it's quite depressing, actually. Social media has made a pariah of Sasha, and her best old friend, Dyson, sort of rescues her from the mess her life has become, only to entrap her into another difficult life. This book is about cults, and men who look to peers to redeem them from lives gone wrong. It's about Sasha and her survival and how her personal freed ...more
Violet Jones
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you have social media presence at all, this book will feel a little personal at times. If you can say that you read this book and at no point felt called out, you're probably lying. The Atmospherians is an incredibly timely story about mob mentality, both conscious and unconscious, and how easy it is to be swept up in a furious storm of social media finger pointing and possibly even violence. There were times I would laugh out loud, then turn the page and be so disturbed I had to put the book ...more
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Do NOT read this when you want:
- A traditional storyline that makes sense all the time.
- Likable characters.
- A deep clear message about gender politics or social media.
- LGBT representation. (Perhaps it's shelved as such because the author is non-binary? but there is nothing in the book itself.)
- No trigger warnings: (view spoiler)

Read this when you want:
- A bizarre book, for when you don't quite know what you want to read
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Alex McElroy is a nonbinary writer based in Brooklyn. Their first novel, The Atmospherians, will be published by Atria in 2021. Other writing appears in Vice, The Atlantic, Tin House, TriQuarterly, New England Review, and their first book, Daddy Issues, was published in 2017.

Alex has received fellowships from The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Tin House Summer Workshop, The Sewanee Writers

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