Followers by Anna Davies | Rating: ★★★☆☆
"And I wasn’t sure how our story would end — whether it would be a five-act-up-and-down drama or the equivalent of a lighthearted one-act. I didn’t have the script. I wasn’t even sure what part I was playing. All I knew was that I loved the role."
As a note, a finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the
publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my
opinions in any way.
Followers, by Anna Davies (out June 24th 2014), is a novel targeted at middle grade students who are looking to be spooked within the pages of a thriller and boy, will this deliver it to them! I think that it will surely be a hit and strike all the right marks with its use of social media and the light glimpses of horror. Theatrical students, in particular, will eat it up — especially if they’re looking for a light scare and a bit of mystery!
I’d like to, first, clarify my rating: I’ve given it a 3/5 stars because I think there could have been more to it in terms of details, however for its genre and target audience it is the perfect novel to read during the summer months. I can certainly see it becoming a hit amongst middle school students and they will surely appreciate this tale.
Followers manages to mix in the theater world with mystery, death and the modern technology that is familiar to today’s youth. Twitter is the most prominent social media platform in the novel. But, the best part of it is that in spite of how modern it is, it still feels like a good old story one would have heard in their childhood. It’s familiar. It’s modern. It’s fun. And there are many twists in it that will keep a younger reader on the edge of their seat.
Perfect for those who don’t read often enough, actually. I can see this novel becoming an open door to the world of literature for its target audience, which is freaking awesome!
Onto the story: we’re introduced to Machale, a boarding school which our narrator attends and we come to know the basics of Briana (Bree) rather quickly. She gives us a vibe of insecurity and we see instantly that this is perhaps caused by her mothers pushing and the way she expects greatness from her daughter — and Bree feels that pressure to live up to her mother’s standards, who also attended Machale.
We don’t see much of her home life, and for that I’m thankful. Her mother kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her father and the relationship they had with one another. Where her mom wishes to push her daughter down a path similar to her own high school success stories, her father is there to gently remind her that this isn’t her life. It is Bree’s.
And Bree… well, her life isn’t much at school. She’s spent her time at Machale, so far, blending in. And she’s ready for a little spotlight; in this decision she chooses to audition for the schools production of Hamlet and attempts to form a bond with some of her fellow students. This includes her roommate, Willow; the quirky and drama loving fun guy Tristan, and her crush Eric.
Things go a bit off course when their drama department suffers a loss of their teacher and they’re introduced to Mr. O’Dell — who lacks a certain level of warmth. Upon his entrance, we also learn that Machale will be teaming up with the local public and soon we see the casting go underway. Bad news for Bree: she didn’t get the role she wanted… instead it goes to another girl, Kennedy, and the role of understudy is landed by Bree’s rival, Skye.
Soon, Bree begins to receive mysterious text messages from an anonymous Twitter handle and death strikes the school in an all too suspicious manner. Bree thinks she has it figured out — but the reality is: she doesn’t. And that first death was only the start.
The worst part? People think she’s the murderer and that she’s only killing for the chance to play Ophelia. Soon, everyone abandons her and any chance of friendship between she and her classmates is put on hold. Tristan thinks he knows who’s behind all this death and the Twitter account, but soon — he, too, goes missing. And there’s a boy, who was kicked out of auditions, who is all too suspicious.
But is he the one killing Bree’s classmates and all but framing her? Or is there more to the story? And does our story have something to do with the mysterious death of another student, decades before? Will Bree and her classmates find out the truth or die before they can?
This is something you’ll simply have to read the book to find out. Add it to your summer reads if you’re looking for something light to read in the sun, or if you have a younger sibling who enjoys a good scare. You won’t be disappointed.