Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall (audio)

Title: Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall
Narrator: Elaine Claxton
Published: September 2017, Hachette Audio
Length: 11 hours 9 minutes
Source: Publisher

A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist. Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn't she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she'd severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria--or whoever's pretending to be her--is known to all.

My thoughts: As soon as I read the summary of this book, I knew I had to to request it...and let me tell you...it was such a great book! I fully admit that while I love social media, I am also quite terrified of it...there is so much unknown about it, so much that we just don't know about who is really on the other side of the "friend" that has befriended us/started following us, etc. It really is quite scary when you start thinking about it...and I don't even have kids to worry about when it comes to using social media!

This book really is such a great social commentary on just how wrong the use of social media can go and how it can be used to torment someone. This is my biggest fear!!! I loved that Laura Marshall takes this and uses it to tell her story - a story that is so brilliantly crafted it just sucks you in, gets under your skin and doesn't let up until you get to the very end. I was so consumed with trying to figure out what was going on that even when I had to put the book down, I was thinking about it. 

While Louise isn't necessarily the most likeable of characters - she alludes to doing something bad to this girl, which I was desperate to find out what! - you do feel a bit of sympathy for her now. How could you not...I think I would be going crazy if I got a Facebook friend request from someone I thought was long dead, wouldn't you? And then to keep getting messages, messages that get a little more threatening each time...I would be going insane! 

Having the story alternate between the present and the past, where we ever-so-slowly get the pieces of what happened to Maria, really just draws you in more and more. Just as the pieces start to come together and you think you know where it's going, something else comes into play to skew everything. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time...this is one twisted story and I really enjoyed it!

For a debut novel, this one really takes the cake and I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author...she is certainly one to keep an eye on.


Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Elaine Claxton and I thought she did a great job with this narration. She was able to give the characters their own unique voices and personalities and she infused just the right amount of tension and emotion into her voice as needed. There was one little hiccup with the editing, though - the narrator had to clear her throat and then she repeats the beginning of the sentence over again. First time I've ever had that happen in an audio book! Other than that, I thought this was a great book to listen to on audio - I didn't want to stop listening.

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