Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

Book Review #507

Title: Influence

Authors: Sara Shepard & Lilia Buckingham

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: YA, Mystery, Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Times Reads

Publication Date: January 5, 2021

Pages: 368

Rating: 2 STARS

Get ready to delve into the world of teen influencers like you’ve never done before–from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS Sara Shepard and sixteen-year-old actress and social media personality Lilia Buckingham comes a twisty mystery that takes place in the fiercely competitive world of Internet stars.

After a video she makes goes viral, everyone knows Delilah Rollins. And now that she’s in LA, Delilah’s standing on the edge of something incredible. Everything is going to change. She has no idea how much.

Jasmine Walters-Diaz grew up in the spotlight. A child star turned media darling, the posts of her in her classic Lulu C. rainbow skirt practically break the Internet. But if the world knew who Jasmine really was, her perfect life? Canceled.

Fiona Jacobs is so funny–the kind of girl for whom a crowd parts–no wonder she’s always smiling! But on the inside? The girl’s a hot mess. And when someone comes out of the shadows with a secret from her past, it’s one that won’t just embarrass Fiona: it will ruin her.

Who wouldn’t want to be Scarlet Leigh? Just look at her Instagram. Scarlet isn’t just styled to perfection: she is perfection. Scarlet has a gorgeous, famous boyfriend named Jack and there’s a whole fanbase about their ship. To everyone watching online, their lives seem perfect . . . but are they really? The sun is hot in California . . . and someone’s going to get burned. 

Influence tells a story of four girls living their life under the spotlight of being internet celebrities and influencers with a twisted twist revolving murder. This book highlights that what is portrayed on social media isn’t always the whole complete truth. Sometimes it’s just a facade that only shows a glimpse into their daily lives because there’s just so much more than meets the eye.

This book is very messy and chaotic. The plot is all over the place and it feels a bit undeveloped. There wasn’t any buildup that leads to the mystery and it just appeared right in your face with no warning whatsoever. Some of the plots were even left hanging and unexplained just as it is. I think the authors could have honed it a bit better to make the story even smoother overall. Especially towards the ending, there were just so many things I want to pinpoint and fix like the difference between the functions of a live and Youtube. There’s a vast difference between the two but I’m disappointed that the authors didn’t even care over this small detail peculiarly considering that one of the authors is a real life influencer.

I didn’t find any chemistry between Delilah and Jack that sometimes I wonder if their relationship is even necessary but I can see why it turned out this way for Scarlet’s death to have more suspects and tension. Honestly, the first half of this book wasn’t all that bad but it all started to go downhill right as soon as Scarlet was killed. The investigation was so unorganised and messy that it was so easy for them to point fingers without having any concrete evidence, only a lead and a suspicion. This too feels like it wasn’t thought out thoroughly.

I am just dumfounded by the last few chapters of this book. It just feels so inconsistent, rushed and poorly developed. I think that if this book was polished and make some of the scenes actually make sense, it could have been better story altogether. I just couldn’t help but to dislike it because I think it could really be better. But alas, I’m just a mere reader with thoughts and opinions of her own.

Yet, this book has its own good qualities to it from causing awareness about bullying and mental health issues. The day to day life of influencers of working with brands, attending parties and being surrounded by both love and hate from the public. Social media now is such a big part in our everyday lives and sometimes the words we put out there may cause damage so we should always be careful by what we put out there and that kindness goes a long way.

As someone who loves reading mystery books, unfortunately this is a book I cannot recommend to you. It is better for you to find some other books instead where it is better written and well plotted. This is such a disappointing book for me and I’m just so glad that I’m done and over with it.

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