Title: Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back #1)
Author: A.V. Geiger
Published in: 2017 (first published in 2014 on Wattpad)
Genres: romance, mystery, thriller, contemporary fiction, mental health/illness, epistolary
“Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…
Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.
When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…
Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.”
Well, I started reading this book, not completely realizing it was a thriller. I had found out about it on Goodreads several months ago and thought it seemed interesting, so I added it to my to-read list and waited for it to come out. During that time, though, I forgot what it was about and didn’t bother to really read the description on the cover when I started reading. Only when I read a few reviews did I realize it was a thriller. I don’t generally read thrillers, but it still sounded interesting, so I decided to continue reading it.
Tessa Hart has severe agoraphobia. Ever since June, she’s been unable to leave her room. Just stepping into the doorway causes feelings of panic. With all the free time she has, she obsesses over Eric Thorn on Twitter along with other fangirls. She feels like she can relate to Eric. When she sees his face online, she’s sure he’s struggling with anxiety of his own. However, her therapist dismisses this idea and labels it as projecting.
Eric Thorn used to dream of being a singer when he was younger, but now he can’t wait until his contract is over. He has no personal life anymore. No privacy. And his fans aren’t as interested in his music as they used to be. Instead, they’re more interested in selfies of him, preferably shirtless. His record label has him say he loves his fans, but he’s secretly afraid of them. He thinks they take their obsession too far. Especially after a fellow pop star was murdered at the hands of one of their fans. Eric just wishes he could tell his fans exactly what he thinks.
Until he realizes that he can, by using a fake account. Sure, his fans won’t know how Eric Thorn really feels about them, but he can at least tell them how he feels. So he makes a plan to troll Tessa, since she’s one of his biggest fans and the one who started the whole @EricThornObsessed tag, which he absolutely despises. But things don’t end up working out as he expected. Along the way, they start talking and Eric soon feels he can tell Tessa anything. He’s relieved that he finally has someone to talk about everything with. Well, everything but one thing. Tessa doesn’t know it’s Eric Thorn DMing her. She’s under the impression she’s talking to an average boy named Taylor. Eric desperately wants to tell her the truth, but he doesn’t want to do it online. He’d rather do it in person. But when Eric follows Tessa on Twitter and arranges to meet with her in real life as Taylor, their what was supposed to be a happy night becomes deadly.
Taylor and Tessa’s conversations served as a huge outlet for Eric, but they also served as one for Tessa as well. While she did have a few people in her life, she couldn’t talk to them like she was able to talk with Taylor. Her mother was unsupportive and unempathetic about the whole situation. She acted like it was all Tessa’s fault and only focused on how much it was inconveniencing her, without considering what it must be like for Tessa. Her boyfriend, Scott, wasn’t much different. He acted like Tessa’s agoraphobia was something she could just get over if she really wanted to and kept pressuring her to do so. He was also not at all understanding or patient with her. Then there was Dr. Regan, her therapist, who agreed to come to her house weekly for Tessa’s therapy sessions, since Tessa couldn’t exactly come to her office. Dr. Regan was supportive of her, but that was only because it was her job to be.
I found the plot interesting, though kind of slow. I liked that Tessa’s agoraphobia didn’t just go away when she started talking to Taylor and decided to meet him. She wasn’t suddenly able to leave her house because she finally had something she really wanted. That night, she was still very anxious and hesitant about going through with it. I felt it made the portrayal of her anxiety disorder more realistic. Though, if I had been originally expecting a thriller instead of just a romance, I think I would’ve been disappointed with the story line. The novel wasn’t very suspenseful until the end and then for only a few scenes.
SPOILER. And I’m not sure how I feel about the suspenseful scenes that there were n the book. Basically the previous June, Tessa had been stalked by Blair, a boy convinced that he’s in love with her and that she’s in love with him, but won’t admit it. Most of the time she was there, he followed her around and took photos of her everywhere. Right before she returned home early, she woke up in his dorm room and discovered that his walls were covered, floor to ceiling, with photos he’d taken of her. After that, she left, but never reported him. However, Blair wasn’t ready to give up. He hacked into Taylor’s Twitter account and deceived Tessa into thinking that he was Taylor. Then once he was alone with her, he tied her to a chair and essentially threatened to kill her if she didn’t do exactly what he wanted. These scenes were thrilling, but I thought the suspense could’ve been built up more. END OF SPOILER.
Also based on the description from Goodreads, I thought the entire novel was going to be written as an epistolary novel. I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t. While many parts were, the majority of the book was written in prose.
SPOILER. Finally there’s the ending. I really didn’t like the last couple of pages. They create a completely unexpected plot twist and imply a sequel, which will be published next summer. I didn’t feel that a sequel was necessary and thought this book would’ve been better as a stand-alone novel. END OF SPOILER
Overall, I thought Follow Me Back was a good book. I recommend it if you like thrillers or novels about celebrities.
Rating: 4/5 Stars