Not that I am bragging or anything, but I’m already a third through my GoodReads reading challenge for the year… Ok, I’m totally bragging. *smug face* One book that I read recently was Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke.
Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke
Publication Date: 04 February 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
A thrilling read, for fans of Gone Girl and We Were Liars.
There was no sign of a struggle, they whisper to each other. She took her phone but left her laptop behind.
Apparently, she’d met someone online, they write to each other in class, phones buzzing.
She ran away. She was taken.
The first time Aiden Kendrick hears about Lizzie Summersall’s disappearance is when the police appear at his front door. He and Lizzie used to be friends; they aren’t anymore. And when Aiden finds out that Lizzie had been talking to strangers on Facebook; that the police think she went to meet one of them, he begins to wonder how well he ever really knew her, and Aiden doesn’t know it yet, but with Lizzie’s disappearance his life is about to take a twisted and desperate turn.
Follow Me Back throws us into the action from the first page when the police knock on Aiden’s door with the news that his fellow classmate Lizzie has disappeared. We quickly learn that Aiden and Lizzie used to be close friends but they fell out after a nasty argument and have not spoken since. The police believe that Lizzie went to meet someone she had been speaking to online, after combing through her private Facebook messages. Lizzie’s disappearance hits Aiden hard, and over the course of the novel the true nature and extent of their relationship is revealed. Did Aiden have something to do with her disappearance?
I know the saying is “never judge a book by it’s cover” but in this instance I did. Look at it! Funny story: when I was taking a picture of the cover for this review I kept panicking my iPad screen had broken! *breaks out into cold sweat at the thought*
The writing and overall tone of Follow Me Back was modern and relatable, and it made the story easy to get into. The inclusion of things such as Facebook and Twitter felt natural, not forced, as it was a part of the story. I did pick up on the heavy emphasis on social media and it’s safety which I suppose is a good thing in these modern times. Use of sites such as Facebook will only continue to grow, so the earlier the message is included in YA novels, the better.
Let’s talk about Aiden, our narrator, and a rather unreliable one at that. It was weird to read from a male perspective considering the amount of women’s fiction I’ve been reading lately, but over the course of the novel I grew to like it. I think he could have been written a little bit better. For example, at the beginning of the novel Aiden is portrayed as being a quiet, sensitive boy. However, towards the end of the novel it appears Aiden has an anger problem, so much so he had to move schools because of an incident. I am of the (perhaps unpopular) opinion that Aiden’s and Lizzie’s friendship didn’t seem that genuine, or passionate enough to turn into a romantic relationship. Their message exchanges came across as boring, and lacking emotion.
With regards to the other characters, they were ok. I didn’t mind Lizzie from what we learned about her. She seemed like a normal teenage girl. I would have liked to know more about her, and I would have liked a chapter or two from her perspective. Aiden’s best friend Scobie really irritated me for some reason, and his motivation for finding Lizzie didn’t seem to make sense. Luckily for me, he wasn’t a huge part of the story and I didn’t have to put up with him for long when he did appear!
The twists in the novel were good. I do like a good twist. You think one thing… and then bam, twist! However, the pacing wasn’t great. Sometimes things were happening too slow, other times it was happening too fast, with no room to digest what had just happened. Even though I liked the twists in this novel, I felt that they happened too far on. I think they should have happened in the middle, with a lot more emphasis on the aftermath of the events at the end. The ending seemed rather rushed, and whilst a few loose ends were tied up, not all of them were. For example the sub plot with Lizzie’s sister appearing on a TV show, however entertaining it was, didn’t exactly add anything substantial to the story. It was almost a distraction from the main story of Lizzie’s disappearance. It was entertaining though; it reminded me of TOWIE.
Follow Me Back hasn’t become an instant favourite of mine, but I certainly enjoyed it and am glad to have had the opportunity to read it. I think this would be a good book for travelling, for example a flight, as it has enough suspense to keep your interest without making you shriek at your fellow passengers. I rated it 3/5 on GoodReads; an enjoyable story. Whilst I haven’t read We Were Liars (yet), I would agree that it is similar to Gone Girl (although not as intense or violent!) In fact, that is one of the thoughts I had a few pages in!
What have you read recently? How is your GoodReads challenge going?