Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, this book certainly took me by surprise! I absolutely loved the themes around being yourself and being true to yourself. There was also such a strong element of friendship and being a good friend. All of these ideas were the foundation of this exciting and enticing mystery!

My Synopsis:

Delilah has been thrown into the world of social media influencers after one of her videos went viral and her follower count exploded. Her family coincidentally has moved to L.A. putting Delilah in the center of it all!

At her first social media event she meets:
🙋‍♀️Jasmine: Social Media Star and famous child actor currently struggling to understand who she is now as she phases out of her child-actor persona.

🙋‍♀️Fiona: Social Media Star and budding actress who struggles with hidden obsessive habits and a terrible secret.

🙋‍♀️Scarlet: Social Media Sensation and a bit vicious to just about everyone.

🙋‍♀️Jack: YouTube Star and boyfriend to Scarlet.

Delilah finds fast friends in Jasmine and Fiona who help her navigate this new world and event. After her new friends leave, Delilah finds a corner to sit and hide for a while, where she meets a lovely boy who makes her smile and laugh. After sharing a few fun moments with her mystery boy, they are caught in a photo and leave. Delilah soon figures out that this boy was Jack, Scarlet Leigh’s boyfriend and she’s horrified. This could ruin her social standing as Scarlet has a temper and a reputation for tearing people apart.

As the weeks go by, she finds that the photo taken of her and Jack didn’t capture her face, so she can breathe easier. As she settles into this new lifestyle, Jasmine and Fiona become close friends. Everything isn’t as wonderful as it seems though. . .

Every character is struggling with their own problems and fears of their secrets coming out. When the suspicious death of a fellow influencer turns their world upside down, the three friends must trust each other and themselves to find out what happened.

How I Felt:

I really enjoyed this book! The story was filled with twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. The secrets that each person holds were fun to figure out, and the mystery was extremely interesting!

This book touches on the mental stress that people undergo when they are in the spotlight. The worries, demands, and pressure that they face. I liked that this was such a strong theme throughout the book. Each girl has their own secrets that they don’t want to be revealed and the lengths that they will go to hold onto them.

The characters were all so interesting. They each have their own personalities and I loved seeing the friendship form between Delilah, Jasmine, and Fiona. As you get to know each character, so much is revealed about each one. I felt that Sara Shepard did a great job of giving each person layers of personality, making them feel real. The friendships that these girls form are a huge focus throughout the story.

The importance of being you is shown throughout the book, and I think it provides an amazing message. Each character has these secrets they are keeping close, and it makes them feel fake, as though they are hiding away. The lessons that they learn and the resolution to some of these issues drive home how amazing it is to be yourself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I flew through the pages because I could not put it down. I wanted all the answers!

Content Warnings:

Mental health struggles, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bullying, teen pregnancy, suicide discussion, underage drinking, hiding sexual preference.

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend Influence for readers that enjoy a peek into a famous person or influencer’s lifestyle. It will appeal to a younger audience because of the character’s ages, however, I think that a reader of any age will enjoy the book.

Where to Find This Book:

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham publishes on January 5, 2021 and is available at these sites.

Bookshop.org | Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

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After a video she makes goes viral, everyone knows Delilah Rollins. And now that she’s in LA, Delilah’s standing on the edge of something incredible. Everything is going to change. She has no idea how much.

Jasmine Walters-Diaz grew up in the spotlight. A child star turned media darling, the posts of her in her classic Lulu C. rainbow skirt practically break the Internet. But if the world knew who Jasmine really was, her perfect life? Canceled.

Fiona Jacobs is so funny–the kind of girl for whom a crowd parts–no wonder she’s always smiling! But on the inside? The girl’s a hot mess. And when someone comes out of the shadows with a secret from her past, it’s one that won’t just embarrass Fiona: it will ruin her.

Who wouldn’t want to be Scarlet Leigh? Just look at her Instagram. Scarlet isn’t just styled to perfection: she is perfection. Scarlet has a gorgeous, famous boyfriend named Jack and there’s a whole fanbase about their ship. To everyone watching online, their lives seem perfect . . . but are they really? The sun is hot in California . . . and someone’s going to get burned. 

Just the Facts:

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham
Genre: Young Adult / Mystery
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub Date: January 5, 2021

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I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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