Friend Request (Book Review)

Yes, I read occasionally.

It’s not all hate-watching and looking at Japanese products over here.

It’s just mostly that.

This review is SPOILERY AF because I can’t stand it when I look up books specifically to find out what happens and the review is all vague but upset about the ‘twist’ (that they refuse to reveal!).

Friend Request

by Laura Marshall

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?1989. 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. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

This book immediately interested me because of how ludicrous the premise seemed. Someone who is presumed dead adding you on Facebook? If I had written the book it would consist of one chapter that would read: BLOCKED.

However, fiction is not real life (looking at you Supernatural and anti-Taika Watiti fans. Y’all are always TRIPPING), so I dived in.

We start with the main character Louise receiving the friend request and sort of vaguely hinting at what she did to Maria Weston (bullying and ostracizing her). We learn that she’s a single mother working from home.

There’s a lot of hand waving in terms of her business, but it’s nothing major. Her ex-husband is presented as a guy who cared about her and kept her secret all these years. Although, from the offset, we learn that he changed when they had a child. He ended up cheating on her and now he’s remarried to another woman and has another child.

Ultimately, things take several twists and turns. Louise keeps receiving messages and she tells several people including a guy that she doesn’t know (I’m pretty sure that there’s a whole chapter based on this guy that stops making sense when you reach the end, but okay).

Throughout the book we’re never sure if Maria Weston is dead or alive. Louise gets in contact with old friends and they’re just as shocked as she is. Eventually, she decides to go to their high school reunion (which was organised by a random person the principal had never heard of). That night ends up with one of her former friends (and the person who pressured her to bully Maria Weston) being found dead.

It’s at this point that we find out that Louise spiked Maria’s drink with ectasy at their leavers party (UK version of a prom) causing her to be so out of it that she presumably fell off a cliff in heavy rain.

Anyway, that (the murder) turns into a whole police investigation and another name is thrown into the mix – Nathan Drinkwater, someone who had been harassing Maria before she switched schools.Eventually, that turns out to be the missing piece of the puzzle (somehow). We find out that Maria’s mother is behind the Facebook page (and stalking) and things escalate to a point where she’s like: I KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD BECAUSE YOU KILLED MINE AND… I’m going to let you waltz into my house, accuse you of murdering her and then let you walk out. It was anticlimactic.

I’m pretty sure the author did that to make the next part climatic, but it wasn’t. When they’re on the way back from Maria’s mother’s house, Sam slips up and mentions Nathan Drinkwater (who is dead, but also now on Facebook). It transpires that he’s behind the account despite claiming never to have heard of Nathan Drinkwater.

Alarm bells start ringing.

We find out that Sam is actually kind of abusive and he pressured Louise into doing BDSM and all sorts that she was too afraid to say no to. Oh, and it turns out that Sam killed Maria because he sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated and he didn’t want her to tell anyone.The story gets really weird with Sam denying that he forced anyone to do anything, he keeps on saying it wasn’t rape and that Maria wanted it because apparently, she’d done all this stuff before…..

He killed Sophie because she saw him with Maria that night and kept on asking about it.I was just like… now wait a damn minute…

It was a very weird ending to a pretty decent book. I feel like the author had several endings in mind and just stuck one in for shock value. There was no real buildup for that ending. It was also kind of stale. Sam ends up trying to strangle Louise, but there’s no tension, you don’t feel like she’s at risk of dying and eventually she gets away and he runs away. Literally! Eventually, the police are told everything and they find Sam’s car abandoned by the same cliffs he pushed Maria off.

Louise is sympathised with and lives happily ever after (or does she?).

All in all, it was a captivating read until that ending where it was like WAIT, WHAT? The dramatic reveals seem to immediately be smoked out by what happens next which is a shame.

However, I’d still recommend the book.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


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