Title: Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall
Genre: Fiction/ Thriller/ Mystery
Favourite Quote: ‘A solitary drink can bobs under the bridge and out of view, the only bright spot in the murky ribbon that snakes its way through the city. She could dash across the road in a kamikaze version of the childhood game of Poohsticks, to see if it makes it to the other side; to see if she does.’
When I first saw ‘Friend Request’ pop up on my kindle, I dismissed it. It’s a thriller after all. I don’t do thrillers as I don’t do horror or murder or anything that as I’m a pansy that goes really light headed when reading about pain, suffering and gory things. When it kept popping up, I felt the need to at least read the reviews so I knew what I was getting myself into, but nothing gave the story away, and all the reviews were brilliant. This lead me into downloading the sample book to at least get an idea of the tone of the book from the beginning. Turns out, I was really getting into it and purchased the book. I finished reading at 1.00am and I feel like I’ve been stupid avoiding these stories this whole time. It’s opened up a new world to me now! It didn’t make my favourites list by any means, but it definitely exceeded my expectations!
It’s a story about a woman named Louise Williams and flashbacks of her younger teenage self in high school at a time leading up to a school dance that changed her life forever.
It begins with 40-something year old Louise receiving an email notification from a Facebook friend request, from an old classmate, Maria Weston, who died 27 years ago and a Facebook invitation to their same school reunion. Shocked and a little frightened receiving a friend request from beyond the grave, Louise attempts to continue life as it is for the sake of her son, Henry, but can’t shake this nagging feeling that her past has finally caught up with her. She also can’t help but feel like suddenly she is being watched.
The story flashes back to Louise and her best friend Sophie in high school in 1989. Sophie was part of the popular crowd that Louise was only welcomed into because of her connection with her. When a new girl arrives, Maria, Sophie feels a pang of jealousy when she sees Louise and her together, so decides to put a wedge between them by threatening her social status. She convinces Louise to play pranks on Maria based on the rumours about her from her old school. With the school dance coming up, Sophie, with the help of a couple of friends, Matt and Sam, plan the biggest prank yet and pushes Louise into playing the main part in their game.
When Maria is found missing the next day, Louise lies to the police about their involvement which becomes the burden and guilt that follows her for the rest of her life.
Present day Louise ends up going to the reunion after receiving creepy stalking messages from Maria through Facebook, to try and get some more clues as to who Maria could be. Is she still alive? Has she been secretly hiding all this time? Or is it someone playing an awful prank on her? If so, who could it be? Who else knows their secret from their past? She finds her courage to face the people she cut ties with all those years ago to find out more, only to come across more terrifying questions when Sophie’s body is discovered in the woods after the reunion.
Louise feels like time is running out and is determined to find out who this Maria is and exactly what happened at the school dance over 20 years ago.
‘Sometimes she doesn’t know who she is any more. What she does know is that the girl she was died that night, and somebody else took her place. Ever since, this new person has been scrabbling for a foothold, clinging on to the rock face, dirt under her fingernails. Like trying to breathe underwater.’
The book is filled with a fast pace exciting mystery that you won’t be able to put down. I sped through it in 4 hours wanting to find out the truth to who Maria was.
With it’s relatable characters, realistic settings and surprisingly shocking ending, this book is definitely one I will read again. I was trying to play the detective to figure out who it could be, reading back through pages to remember when and where characters were last seen. Of course, I couldn’t have been more wrong in the end!
A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.
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.