Orla moved to New York to become great. Specifically she wants to become a writer. Instead she's ended up writing for a gossip site, documenting the lasted celebrity missteps or trends. She lives in a tiny apartment that she shares with her roommate Floss.
Floss is determined to be someone, however that may happen, she's destined for the spotlight. No matter how she has to get there.
Together Orla and Floss come up with a plan that promises to benefit both of their goals. At least that's how it starts out. How it finishes is another matter entirely.
Marlow lives in Constellation a closed-off community in California where people live their lives entirely on camera 24/7. Their screentime/stories are dictated by the amount of Followers they have and where they can do the most with their brand. When Marlow learns a shocking secret about her family she begins to question the openness of the life she lives, one dictated by a network and corporate sponsors. When she flees Constellation in search of the truth about herself she'll see that there's only so far you can run when everyone knows your face.
Followers was a read that kept building and building upon what we thought we already knew. I know when I started reading, before really getting into the story, I felt like knew exactly how things would play out just based on the blurb, but I loved that Megan Angelo was able to pull some truly terrifying surprises and that they're not exactly in the way you would expect.
Followers is certainly a commentary about our own use of social media and how much we rely on technology and our online culture that breeds influencers alongside trolls. How the term "friend" is subjective. What makes it truly terrifying is the idea that I could definitely see things come to fruition in the way they do in Followers in the very near future. Some of it certainly feels like it's happening now. I think that was a strong point on Megan Angelo's part in making the story not too far off that we - readers - couldn't see ourselves in the story and experience the impact along with the characters.
I liked the slow-build of the story. It's not pulse-pounding and doesn't really hit the ground running, but all the same, I was drawn into it thoroughly. I wanted to see how the past and the future connected, how we got to the point where we're constantly plugged in and what that really means for privacy. I wanted to find out what else is out there. See other ways that people are forming their paths.
I did feel a little foggy about the dynamics of the world outside Constellation as opposed to the world inside Constellation. We get a clear(er) view of how things work inside via Marlow's experiences, but once she runs there's not much time to build up how others - those whose lives are not constantly on camera - have fared since the 2015 timeline shift. We do get a quasi look, but I don't think it's speaking to the every(wo)man, as the case may be. To be fair, the story on the whole is mainly concerned with the individual journeys of Marlow, Orla and - to a lesser extent - Floss and how their lives have been influenced by technology, and in that regard I think it hits the mark perfectly.
Overall Followers is a very thought-provoking read about how we connect with each other what we keep to ourselves and what we decide to put out there for anyone to see, and the coldness of losing that face to face human connection.