Delilah Rollins didn’t expect to become famous overnight. One video of her saving a puppy and suddenly everyone is talking about her. Now that she’s moving to LA for her dad’s job, she’s quickly brought into the world of social media influencers.
Jasmine Walters-Diaz, the childhood star, sometimes wants to escape it all. Her former role has turned her into a perpetual rainbow-wearing girl, even though she’s outgrown the persona.
Fiona Jacobs seems to have it all together. Her career is booming and she has a super hot boyfriend. But something is off about her life. She can’t stop being paranoid about how her past secrets will come back to haunt her.
Then there is a Scarlet Leigh, the most famous of them all. Her life is perfectly scripted. Her fans are fierce and willing to do anything to ensure she stays on top— but that kind of obsession can be dangerous.
When a murder impacts all of LA, the girls are thrown together and question who had a motive. This thriller about the dangers of social media was written by Sara Shepard, the author of Pretty Little Liars and Lilia Buckingham, an actual teen influencer.
We were so excited to read this book because it’s been two years since Shepard released a YA thriller. We also anticipated the unique world of social media stars, who are constantly followed and have their lives blasted across the internet for the world to see.
Delilah is easy to relate to because she started out as an ordinary teen who became famous overnight. Imagine waking up one day and everyone talking about you online? She definitely had some adjusting to do when it came to the LA scene, and though she was naïve at times, she never lost herself.
It seemed that Jasmine’s character was based off of Jojo Siwa. But we admit she was one of our favorites. She desperately wanted to break out of her role as a child star and become her own person, despite what society thought. Not to mention that she had a mystery romance we were dying to read more about!
We had a harder time with Fiona’s character at first, but as the story went on, her chapters were more interesting. Fiona suffered from OCD and other mental health issues stemming from childhood bullying. We really felt for her and loved how she overcame her anxieties and opened up to her friends.
Lastly, Scarlett’s chapters were creative because they were written in the script from her latest vlogs. This change of format for her chapters left us excited to know more about her. She was conniving and definitely was not as sweet as America made her out to be.
Overall, we found Influence to be an exciting YA thriller. It took a bit to pick up because we needed to be introduced to the four girls, but once it did, we were hooked. We loved the multiple POVs and getting to know each character. We were left satisfying with the ending and loved the twist, in usual Shepard fashion.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️