This dark, pitch-perfect novel about our dependence on technology for validation and human connection is as addictive as social media itself.” —People
A TIME AND NPR BEST BOOK OF 2020
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY PEOPLE MAGAZINE · THESKIMM · KATIE COURIC’S “WAKE UP CALL” · ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY · VOGUE.COM · MARIE CLAIRE · PARADE.COM · BITCH MEDIA · HELLO GIGGLES · BUSTLE · BOOKLIST
An electrifying story of two ambitious friends and the dark choices they make to become internet famous.
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.
In her spectacular debut, Angelo masterfully explores the dark side of social media. In 2015, aspiring author and Manhattanite Orla Cadden is working as a reporter at celeb blog Lady-ish when she becomes roommates with Floss Natuzzi, who is desperate to become a star. Using her platform at Lady-ish, Orla succeeds in making Floss ultrafamous. They enjoy the perks invites to swanky parties, free merchandise until a technology cataclysm in 2016 changes everything. Fast forward 35 years, and a dystopian view of social media is revealed: there are now state-appointed celebrities who are on TV 24/7. Their lives are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, and their marriages, pregnancies (including designer babies), and relationships are merely story lines for a voracious public. A California woman named Marlow Clipp with 11.6 million followers is facing a pregnancy story line when she decides to research her past and is astounded by what she finds. Reminiscent of The Truman Show and told in alternating voices of Orla in 2015 2016 and Marlow in 2051, the tale skillfully builds to a terrifyingly believable climax. There are also sly references to a few current pop-culture names including Charlotte C. Mezvinsky (aka Hillary Clinton's granddaughter) as the mayor of New York in 2051. Angelo delivers a strong, consistently fascinating debut.)
Great writing, very unique premise. Loved the characters and the themes as well.
The characters captivated my mind. I didn't predict anything. To be honest, I pictured two of the characters looking like Kim Kardashian and Joji. Fame has always been an interesting topic to me from The Great Gatsby to Lady Gaga's work. Please write more stories.
Spoiler: I thought the way this story showed how the public will take in media and build characters out of strangers was realistic.