Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
FAME HAS A PRICE.
Interests/Topics: identity, fame, social media, obsession, music, mental health
Curriculum Connections: English, Music, Media Studies
Blurb: So Justin Bieber cancelled the remaining stops on his Purpose tour, much to the chagrin of hundreds of thousands of heartsick young fans. At the time of the cancellation, The Biebs blamed “unforeseen circumstances.” I can only assume that he was exhausted: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Can you imagine the energy it must take to perform night after night, city after city, for months on end? And to be followed by screaming fans everywhere you go? I’m surprised he hasn’t had a nervous breakdown.
Eric Thorn, in Follow Me Back, knows just how demanding fame can be. A pop sensation with millions of Twitter followers, Eric just wants some peace and quiet away from the crowds, the spotlights, and the Eric Thorn hashtags. But his PR team has different ideas. To fulfil his contract, Eric must continuously send out Tweets letting his fans know how much he loves each and every one of them. To Eric, the shameless self-promotion to his devoted followers is enough to make him sick. In an attempt to soil his own reputation, and to release some of the pressure of his popularity, Eric invents a new online identity. As “Taylor,” Eric can say anything he wants without the repercussions of his manager.
“Taylor” quickly befriends Tessa, another Twitter user. It’s the perfect relationship: Tessa, an agoraphobe, doesn’t have to leave her bedroom to talk to her new BFF, and Eric can vent his frustrations to someone who has no idea who he really is. It seems like a match made in heaven.
Until they decide to meet.
FAME HAS A PRICE.
Flavour: “Tessa felt her face heat up. She considered herself a fan since his debut album a few years ago, but her fascination lately had reached a whole new level. It went beyond the stories in her thought journal. Every time she came across a new picture of him, she felt the overwhelming compulsion to save it to her cell phone camera roll. She had more images of Eric Thorn squirreled away than anyone she’d ever known in real life.” (9)
“God, he would have given anything to be with her at that moment. He would have given every single cent he had, and every last breath in his body, and every drop of blood running through his veins just to be there, wherever she was. Just to put his arms around her, instead of what they had to settle for: two solitary souls crying in the artificial glimmer of their phones.” (250)
“She turned toward the entrance of the room, expecting to see someone else, but the doorway stood empty. She cast her eyes widely about the room, searching for answers to the questions rushing through her head. Had it all just been a game, then?” (321-322)