Published by Spere
Published on the 5th of September 2017
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Louise Williams was not popular in high school, but she wanted to be. So badly that she hung her entire life on the whims of Sophie and her two cohorts, in 1989 Louise would have done anything to be on of them, to be accepted, and she did. She did something to Maria Weston, something that she has never been able to forgive herself for. Everything is brought back to the surface when Louise receives a Facebook friend request from Maria Weston. Thrown in to turmoil and unsure of what is going on or what to do Louise starts down a spiral of paranoia and terror and she tries to uncover what really happened all those years ago because this can’t be happening, Maria Weston can’t be sending her a friend request on Facebook. Maria Weston is dead, isn’t she?
I’ll admit, I picked this book up after watching the movie that is incredibly loosely based on it. I didn’t realise how incredibly loosely based the movie was until I actually started reading it, then I came to realise that pretty much the only thing that the two stories have in common is the title. So I want to make it very clear right now, if you have picked this book up after watching the movie of the same name, be prepared for a totally different story, I’m talking, literally completely different. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not what I was expecting. The movie is a paranormal horror, while this story is a psychological thriller of the highest order playing off the main character’s paranoia and making the reader question absolutely everything.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that the story was so completely different to the one that I thought it was, but as stated above, this wasn’t exactly a bad thing. I enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen. I will admit though, that for a good portion of the book I actually really strongly disliked Louise. She’s constantly looking for validation and approval. Never allowing herself to be true to her because she’s never sure who’s going to like it and who’s not. Especially in the 1989 chapters when she was in high school. I understand wanting to be popular, or wanting to be liked and one of the cool kids, but to be completely honest, it didn’t resonate with me. I couldn’t imagine needing to be accepted so badly that you completely go against the person you truly are. I’ve always been unapologetically myself, regardless of whether that freaks people out, as I’ll be honest, I’m a bit left of centre. I’ve never felt the need to try and pretend to be someone or something that I’m not, and especially have never felt the need to go against my own morals and beliefs in the hope that someone would like me more. So I’m sorry, but I honestly could not relate to the person Louise was when she was in high school. I found her to be an incredibly awful person and some of her actions actually made me feel a bit ill as I could not fathom doing what she did. As the book progressed however, and in the last third, I became sympathetic to Louise and her guilt. Realising that as children, we all make mistakes that we wish we didn’t, but in the end, how else are we supposed to learn?
The characters were all really well written, and I felt that Marshall did a fantastic job of creating the character of Louise. She was so co-dependant, first in high school on her ‘best friend’ Sophie, who, if we’re being real, was an absolute bitch; second in her marriage to Sam, and then for the remainder of the book, she was incredibly co-dependant on her four year old son. It’s as though the only thing that kept her sane was him and taking care of him, making sure he was happy and healthy. I feel like we really see the character growth of Louise as the book progresses, and it wasn’t until the end that I felt she had grown and that I’d gotten to see this woman who was so broken by her past mistakes, actually begin to heal from it and get to start the next chapter of her life.
The story was fast paced and it was incredibly gripping, I found myself stealing away to read it whenever I could. For a good portion of the book I had quite a low opinion of it, but as the story was reaching it’s climax and things were starting to fall into place, I realised how great it actually was. I honestly had no idea what had really happened to Maria in 1989, so the reveal was a surprise, which is always great. The story switches between 1989 and the girls in high school, to 2016 where Louise is trying to deal with her past and the horrors that she’s finding herself in now.
This was a fantastical psychological thriller and I’m really glad that I picked it up. As I said a couple of times above, I honestly thought I was going to be reading a totally different story, but the one I ended up with was amazing in it’s own right.