Book: Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: 27 July 2017
When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Uncensored and unapologetic. Days into their acquaintance, Maria and Louise are quickly on their way to becoming fast friends.
Decades later, when Maria reaches out over social media, Louise’s heart nearly stops. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface–those first days of their budding connection, the awful judgment of the young women who felt at the time like her sole gateway to belonging. The fateful, tragic night that would change all their lives forever.
Her entire adult life, Louise has known if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reemergence threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to get away from the past. Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there’s much she didn’t know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again–until now.
When I saw this book on Netgalley, the tag line -‘Maria wants to be friends. But Maria is dead, isn’t she?’ – absolutely grabbed me and I knew I NEEDED to read this book!
For me this book started out a little slow and I struggled to get in to it at first. I don’t know if this is because I hadn’t read the description well enough and was expecting something a little different or if it was the narration style or maybe I didn’t feel enough of a connection to the main character at the start. However even though I wasn’t as gripped as I expected to be from the word go, I was still interested in finding out more. As I continued reading, I really got hooked and kept turning the pages as fast I could to find out what would happen.
The narration jumped between present day and 1989. Initially this felt a bit confusing as I wasn’t really sure who all the characters were, but it all came together and I found myself really enjoying this style of narration. We got to know Louise as an adult, recently separated and now a single mother, and Louise in high school, desperate to fit in and influenced by her popular friend Sophie. In the present day, Louise was overwhelmed with guilt about Maria which made me desperate to know what had happened to Maria in high school and Louise’s role in it. I loved seeing both stories unfold and I was very intrigued as the two started to merge more and more.
Laura Marshall wrote the dynamics among teenagers well – the cliques and cattiness and peer pressure. I liked and felt sorry for teenage Louise and her struggles to fit in. I didn’t like adult Louise as much though I struggle to pinpoint exactly why. In fact I didn’t really care for most of the adult characters, except perhaps Pete.
The premise was so intriguing, but the end product didn’t quite live up to my expectations. That’s not to say this isn’t a good book, because it definitely is enjoyable and quite the page-turner. I found myself thinking ‘just one more chapter, I need to find out what happens’ over and over until I’d finished the book.
I definitely recommend this book and I think it opens up a lot of discussion.
I was on a psychological thriller kick when I read this book and I sandwiched it with two others that I absolutely adored, which could be part of the reason this book was a little more lacklustre than I’d expected. Had I read it at a different time, I might have found myself raving about it a bit more.
I received and ARC of this book from Netgalley and Little Brown Books in exchange for an honest review.