Ten teen influencers agree to be a part of a reality show called “In Real Life” that forces them to unplugged for three weeks. But when the production crew fails to show up, one of them ends up dead, and they realize they are stranded without a way to communicate with the outside world, things take a turn for the worse. Each of them has been carefully selected to be a part of this show, each of them has a dark secret that could affect their following, and one among them might be pulling all the strings. With the body count rising and tensions in the group at an all time high, they must find a way to work together in order to figure out who is the mastermind behind everything before they all get cancelled—permanently.
The concept of this book felt like Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, but with a modern-day YA twist. Each of these characters was unlikeable in their own way and that is, thankfully, exactly what I expected so it didn’t grate on my nerves too much (though there were definitely some that were easier to tolerate than others). With such a large cast of characters, it was a bit tough to keep straight who was who and how they all related to each other, but as they start getting picked off, that solved that problem pretty quickly.
While the idea of people being trapped on an island and getting murdered one by one is not new, pairing that concept with the newest form of modern-day celebrity makes it likely to appeal to today’s younger audience more. It was a fun exploration into influencer and cancel culture and what exactly it can all mean. This story obviously takes it way darker than (I hope) it actually is in real life, but I think it is a good reminder than influencers (as well as others in the public eye) are, at their core, just people and struggle with similar problems and emotions that we all do.
With a large cast (aka a large suspect pool) and lots of red herrings thrown in, Worley was able to keep me guessing up until the very moment before the big reveal. And even after, the surprises just kept coming! I did not see the story playing out the way it did at all and it’s fun to think back to parts of it where clues were dropped that I completely missed.
A strong debut that has intrigued me enough to come back for more, PEOPLE TO FOLLOW by Olivia Worley is available now and you can grab a copy for yourself here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."