Blair's Reviews > Friend Request

Friend Request by Laura  Marshall
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I couldn't resist the premise and tagline of Friend Request. Maria wants to be friends [on Facebook]. But Maria is dead. Isn't she? I mean, doesn't that just sound like the 21st-century Point Horror book you never knew you wanted? I thought it would be schlocky as hell, ridiculous and unintentionally funny. It turned out to be much, much better than that, but just as gripping and entertaining as I'd hoped.

The story is exactly what it sounds like. The protagonist, Louise, receives a Facebook friend request from a girl she knew at school. The thing is, Maria Weston has been missing, presumed dead, for 27 years; what's more, Louise has never recovered from the guilt she feels about her role in bullying Maria. The book alternates between Louise's present-day mounting paranoia about the friend request and the ensuing messages she receives from 'Maria', and her schooldays in 1989. We learn about Louise's friendship with the manipulative Sophie; how she was forced into tormenting Maria in order to keep hold of her own position in the 'popular' clique.

Laura Marshall is great at depicting precarious teenage relationships and the lasting effects of bullying. Despite becoming a mother and having a successful career as an interior designer, Louise has never really put those days behind her, and is still beset by the insecurity Sophie and her cronies instilled in her. She is far more nuanced a character than I expected to find in a story like this. Marshall is also utterly brilliant at red herrings. I haven't read a crime novel or thriller in recent memory that's done a better job of misdirection; I had about five theories and only one of them was half-right. The plot is tense and just-one-more-chapter compulsive: once I'd started I couldn't stop, and the further I got, the more I absolutely had to finish it.

A fantastic thriller that rattles along at a, well, thrilling pace, Friend Request is fun and totally addictive, but it's also thoughtful, well-written, and doesn't sacrifice the plausibility of characters' behaviour for the sake of outrageous twists. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

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Reading Progress

March 22, 2017 – Started Reading
March 22, 2017 – Shelved
March 23, 2017 – Finished Reading

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Fizzyvimto "21st century Point Horror" - perfectly put! I loved reading those growing up and your comment made me realise that's exactly what this is. Like a Point Horror evolved for us who read them 20 odd years ago.

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