Influence: A unique and emotional thriller to kick start your 2021 reading

Influence by Sara Shepard; Lila Buckingham | Publisher: Delacourte Press | Genre: Thriller, Young Adult | Find it on: Goodreads | Publishing: 5 January 2021

Delilah “Lila D” has just moved to LA with her family after achieving viral fame on Instagram for running into a burning shed to save a puppy. As she befriends influencers Jasmine Walter-Diaz and Fiona Jacobs her following only grows until nearing 1 million. But she also starts to see that the professional influencer scene is more fake and photoshopped than she’d imagined. And when she’s seen flirting with the YouTube celebrity boyfriend of the iconic influencer Scarlet Leigh? The lines between influence, Instagram, and real life start to blur.

Then Scarlet ends up dead…

This book made me feel old. I cannot name a single Instagram influencer. I don’t have TikTok or Snapchat. I’m honestly not sure I even understand  the appeal of sharing so much of your private life with the world (even if you can turn around and make it a seven-figure career). The thought of raising children and needing to shepherd them through this world terrifies me.

But Shepard and Buckingham have worked together to create a glimpse into the influencer world even I could follow. The co-authors have created dynamic characters stuck in static roles to keep their followers (and income) steady, and while this is a thrilling murder mystery, it’s also a coming of age story.

Unlike other YA coming of age stories (think John Green) this one looks at what it means to come-of-age when your personality is already public. How can you grow and change when everything from your hair color to your favorite drink at Starbucks has been catalogued and monetized? How do you mature when your fans are counting on you to stay the same?

A unique and surprisingly emotional YA thriller, Influence is the perfect read to kick start your new year.

Similar Read (for adults): Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read it? Adding it to your TBR? Disagree?  Let’s talk in the comments!

*Thanks to Netgalley and Delacourte Press for the review copy!*

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