Cover Image: Under the Influence

Under the Influence

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Member Reviews

Today's culture seems to be built around social media and "influencers." I hate that term with a passion. They all use the same gauzy, peachy filter while all wearing beige colors and then hawk things that no normal person could possible afford like a 500 dollar blanket or something like that. Yet, people get caught up in their perfect looking lives. This book takes us behind the scenes of an influencer and her "perfect" life.

Harper answers an ad for a job with "The Green Team" run by influencer Charlotte Green. Charlotte is all rah-rah and all about the team but really she is all about Charlotte. She is mercurial and does all her dirty work with a smile and making the people feel how lucky they are to be in her orbit. Harper gets totally wrapped up in it, working very long hours and ignoring everyone else in her life. Charlotte will make herself come out on top to the detriment of her family, her husband and her team. It is an interesting look into what we want the world to see and what happens behind closed doors.

I got totally wrapped up in Harper's angst, her ambition. It made me not like the term "Influencer' even more than I already do. There is romance and humor dotted throughout. Just a fun read and one you will read quickly.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy for review.

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Many thanks to Gallery Books for a copy of Noelle Crook’s book UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

I throughly enjoyed this debut novel about the power that social media influencers hold over our everyday lives and what happens when you peek behind the curtain of their carefully curated lives and careers.

Harper is a writer who is struggling to make ends meet in New York City. When she applies for a position working for Charlotte Green, it seems almost too good to be true when she is basically hired on the spot. The job requires Harper to relocate immediately to Nashville, Charlotte’s home base, and to suddenly give up almost every waking minute to her new job.

Yes, there are tons of red flags from the outset. Everything at “the Greenhouse” feels almost like a cult atmosphere. (Green Fam! Greenlightenment!) It’s all about visibility and employees are pushed to document everything for their social media.

At first Harper is wary of Charlotte’s intensity and her insistence that everyone pledge their undying loyalty to her and her company. (“𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦’𝘴 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳: 𝘠𝘦𝘴, 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵.”) But Harper is soon rising quickly through the ranks even as Charlotte takes Harper’s ideas and writing and passes them off as her own.

There are flashes of The Devil Wears Prada here especially as Harper makes some questionable choices about her career at the Greenhouse. Her relationships with her old friends and her family suffer as well. But Harper drinks the corporate kool-aid and soon finds herself basking in the glow of Charlotte’s praise. (“𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘳,” 𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥.)

Charlotte curates every single detail of her life, even down to her children and husband. She hides her problematic marriage from her followers but it was hard for me to sympathize with her as a character. Harper, on the other hand, is a very likable protagonist. This book is compulsively readable, and I loved the cautionary tale about how truly, nothing on social media is at it seems. Fantastic debut novel!

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WOW I hate influencers. This book was so good. I had a hard time reading it ONLY because I wanted to punch Charlotte in the face. I was getting major Rachel Hollis vibes from Charlotte. I was mad throughout this which tells me the writing was good! I recommend this if you're ready for the downfall of the influencer.

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

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Under the Influence was one of my most anticipated reads of the summer and unfortunately it was just okay. I love drama (that doesn’t involve me) and I love feeling like I’m getting a sneak peek of a very intriguing industry. While this book offered both, nothing really happened and I was very underwhelmed by the plot.

The book does a great job at examining “girl boss” culture and toxic positivity but at the same time I found it so annoying (that’s the point!) and not as fun to read as I had hoped. While the writing is strong and the story is intriguing, it almost felt like I was hate reading this and waiting for the influencer to fail.

I finished this solely because it is very clearly based on a famous (infamous?) girl boss/influencer and if you google the author you’ll quickly discover she actually worked for this company. The fact that this story might have some (a lot) of truth to it was the best part.

Overall, a decent debut from an author with some very unique experience! If you’re interested in influencers you might enjoy this one!

Thanks to the publisher for the finished copy! All opinions are my own!

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I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book, but I've been...influenced...

I've always gone back and forth on my opinion of influencers because I know a lot of it is fake, but I also enjoy consuming a lot of their content and I do get influenced to buy the clothes/products they promote. I wasn't sure which way this story was going to go, but I found that Harper would say or think the exact thoughts going through my mind.

For being her debut book, [author:Noelle Crooks|21445519] did a fantastic job and I can't wait to read more from her. Plus, I got teary-eyed reading the author's note at the very end. I NEED to know how much, if any, of this book was based on personal experience.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

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The plot was interesting, but the book jumped from development to development without showing the journey or evolution. Each chapter ended with an amateurish quip. It was compelling and the writer clearly has experience in what she's writing about, but it could have used a stronger edit.

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Favorite Quotes:

Harper’s aunts were extra. Extra chatty, extra loud, extra judgmental, and often extra meddlesome.

And then there was the oldest sister, Bianca, a widow. Harper’s mom used to joke that her brother-in-law’s death was a choice, as it was the only to get away from his critical wife.

My Review:

Wryly written,  profoundly insightful, and wickedly perceptive.  This clever scribbler knows of what she writes as this felt real. I enjoyed the writing style which included generous sprinklings of humor and wit, as well as heady doses of alluring affirmations, encouragement, and empowerment. I would have loved the little powerhouse boss if she hadn’t been so vile beneath the skin.

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The author of this book Noelle Crooks worked for Rachel Hollis, an influencer who has written her own books. (Which I’ve unfortunately read). Noelle wrote a book about a woman who takes a job working for an influencer who is eerily similar to Rachel. And it’s almost immediately like being in a cult. Harper, a girl who took a job because she needed the money (haven’t we all) struggles to keep her wits and her moral compass about her while being sucked into the world of Charlotte Green. For anyone who has read “The Devil Wears Prada”, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. That’s the vibe it gives off, just a little modernized since the boss works as an influencer rather than running a fashion magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the shade to Ms. H. Couldn’t and didn’t want to put it down.

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When I was younger Devil wears Prada was the MOVIE, I found the main character inspiring, wanting to push forward and even though it’s not her career path, it opened other doors for her, I hated how she was treated though and the things she had to do to please her boss, or be considered worthy. This book felt like a carbon copy of that but with what people are infatuated with now, Social Media and their Influencers. Clearly we know they have taken over, lol. But the adult in me hates the movie and looks at social media influencers as the fakest people ever, I have met my share. I love the main FC, Harper is that GIRL, this shows her that the business of influencing isn’t what it seems of course. It felt far too real, and lessons can be learned, this book is one to discuss with others.

Thanks Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

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Okay this book is VERY interesting. Harper, a struggling writer-turned-editor-turned-unemployed New Yorker takes a chance on a job working for a self-help touting self proclaimed girl boss influencer Charlotte Green in Nashville. While Harper enters Charlotte’s world with classic NYC realism and a touch of skepticism, even she gets pulled into the GREEN orbit. And the result is, well, not at all what she expected.

It’s worth noting that Crooks spent a few years working for The Hollis Co., and several of the anecdotes seem to parallel some of the absurd things Hollis has said and done. I DEFINITELY felt like I was getting THE TEA, which was what I liked most! Crooks wrote a solid critique / commentary on influencer culture and society’s relationship with social media, what it means to be accessible, how we define relatable and the risks of putting product before people. Especially when the line between individuals and brands are blurred. And at what cost? I think this story brings some great questions to light and it would be fun to discuss.

I gotta say, Charlotte was the cringiest (which I’m confident was the point). Her antics were pretty predictable and nothing shocked me. I sort of wanted this to be darker and more…intense? Controversial? Maybe if I knew less about the space / was less cynical about said space then I would have been more invested and/or surprised. I also felt some of the side stories weren’t as well developed and I would have loved more thoughtful internal dialogue about Harper processing it all.

Overall a fun read and worth chatting about for sure! Thanks to @netgalley and Gallery books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Available now!

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Everyone is saying this is exactly like The Devil Wears Prada and I could not disagree more! While I love The Devil Wears Prada, and I love Under The Influence as well - they are just not the same! Under The Influence was a fresh, snarky and honest look at how toxic some of these wellness gurus really can be! And while this is a work of fiction, I think we all had our own person in mind while we read about Harper’s awful boss, Charlotte. I absolutely loved the character of Harper, I identify with so many of her personality traits- even her not so good ones like having no boundaries when it comes to her job. As an influencer myself, I could relate to the constant pressure Charlotte faces, however, that is never a reason to treat people the way that she did. I thought this was a very accurate portrayal of a toxic work place and I was hooked from page one. Absolutely loved this!!!!

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Under The Influence is a snarky, engaging assault on toxic positivity, consumerism and the staged lives of influencers.

Harper is barely making ends meet when her friend Poppy sends her a job posting from The Greenhouse, Instagram-famous Charlotte Green’s community. Knowing she needs the job, Harper gets started with oh-so-inspiring Charlotte and starts to learn that her bubbly, positive veneer chips away when she’s not on camera. The longer Harper stays at The Greenhouse, the more she finds herself compromising her morals, but for what cost?

Perhaps what I loved most about this one is the author’s previous place of employment, making this a somewhat fictional “memoir” safe from NDAs.

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This one reminded me of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “The Nanny Diaries” with a behind the scenes look at a “Rachel Hollis” type influencer. It was a fun ride that I couldn’t put down. Life behind an Instagram filter is fake and it was great to see it exposed!

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I recently read Under the Influence which was such a fun look into the world of influencers. It had all of the vibes of The Devil Wears Prada with an overly demanding boss and feuding co-workers trying to survive the chaos.

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Move over, The Devil Wears Prada, because this is the book of the summer. Under the Influence is the perfect vacation binge-read. Following the protagonist (Harper Cruz) through the journey of a pivotal career shift, managing a toxic work culture, evolving family and friend relationships, and romantic sparks flying — got me hooked immediately. The behind-the-scenes view into the influencer industry and the reminder that things are not always as they seem made for a captivating read.

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Although I genuinely enjoyed reading this book, I have to acknowledge that it's basically an exact carbon copy of The Devil Wears Prada. Like, no differences except that this book takes place in the present day.

Although this book was entirely predictable and a little unoriginal, I did have a great time reading and I was able to binge read this in one sitting. There was something comforting about knowing exactly what was going to happen. It was like a trainwreck I couldn't look away from.

If you're willing to overlook the fact that this is a carbon copy of a book that already exists (and I mean EXACT COPY), then I think you'll enjoy this and have a good time with it.

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Special thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

Under the Influence felt like a very real and current issue. Social media. People share so much of their life with the public. But how much of it is true? Or real?
Social media is why I took my FB account down because I started feeling bad about myself because it seemed everyone is living the perfect life.

Anyway when an aspiring writer Harper comes across a job working for a famous self=help influencer, she jumps at it because the pay is great. She has no idea what she's getting herself into. Charlotte, the social media influencer, made me think very hard about if what we are seeing on our devices, phone, computer, instagram, facebook, is real or just smoke and mirrors.

A very enjoyable book!

Read the authors bio.... I think this may be someone who is writing a memoir and maybe signed a nondisclosure agreement.

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Harper Cruz is struggling to find a job. She was downsized from her publishing job and hasn’t been able to find anything substantial since. Or really, anything at all. If not for her best friend Poppy and her apartment and willingness to help her, Harper would have had to move back to Poughkeepsie. She wants to stay in New York City though. They say that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. But what if you can’t make it there?

So when Harper sees an online post for am influencer looking for a Visionary Support Strategist, at first she balks. But as she thinks about the opportunity, and then talks to Charlotte Green’s assistant Bella about the six-figure salary plus living expenses, about the chance to move to Nashville, about being part of a team empowering women to live their best lives, she thinks about all the reasons it would be good to give it a chance.

Charlotte Green moves fast, so it’s less than 24 hours later that Harper is packed and ready to move to Nashville. She heads straight in to the office, the Greenhouse, to meet the rest of the team and jump into work. Charlotte posts a lot to keep her followers involved, so there are cameras all around. She’ll often stop and make a quick inspirational video when the inspiration hits, but she also uses photos and emails to connect, along with her best-selling self-help books and journals. She is planning her own conference in months, and she’s a keynote speaker at the upcoming Influencer Lunch, which was being held in Nashville for the first time.

Harper is thrown into the deep end of the influencer world as she tries to acclimate to life in a new city and a crazy busy workplace. There is so much going on at The Greenhouse that they say time goes faster. They have a lot to accomplish, and a limited number of hours in the day to make it happen. Harper does what she can to learn fast and be a productive member of the team. But she finds herself working long hours and struggling to keep in touch with her family and friends back home.

But that doesn’t matter. She’s finding her legs in The Greenhouse and getting noticed by Charlotte for her work. Getting attention from the boss is energizing for her, and she finds herself going out of her way to create more opportunities for herself. But she also starts to see some cracks in Charlotte’s perfect world. The perfect marriage she talks about online doesn’t look quite so strong in person. Some employees complain about the hours or say that Charlotte is taking credit for their work. But Harper just sees her as ambitious and willing to do everything it takes to make the dream work.

But when Charlotte asks Harper to betray a friend, will she still justify Charlotte’s outrageous expectations? Or will she find the voice she’s been quieting, knowing the consequences could be joblessness and Poughkeepsie again?

Under the Influence is a smart satire of influencer culture and the #girlboss community that flocks to these so-called self-help warriors. Author Noelle Crooks has crafted her debut novel from a lifelong love of books and her work in the beauty industry, and she has hit a home run right out of the gate with this one. It’s compelling and believable and ironic with just the right amount of sass.

I loved Under the Influence. It gives strong The Devil Wears Prada vibes, with the clueless-assistant-turned-phenom storyline, but with a playful poke at how we use social media to reinvent ourselves, filter out our blemishes, and put our best face forward. This one is a lot of fun, and it deserves all good hashtags.

Egalleys for Under the Influence were provided by Gallery Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.

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You say THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and I’m in 100% of the time. This was an incredibly real book surrounding our obsession with social media. This was such a fun and incredible story that was bingeable. Such a great read.

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Under the Influence was exactly as described… The Devil Wears Prada meets The Assistants. Ever wonder about the dark side of working for a top #girlboss influencer? In this compulsive and engaging debut novel, we follow Harper, a young aspiring writer from NYC who moved to Nashville to work for an infamous self-help guru (think Gwen or Rachel Hollis)… but it’s not all fun and games – it’s a lot of lies and half-truths and manipulation. Shiny veneers hiding a mercurial woman on a power trip who cares for no one but herself. Before long, Harper begins to question if drinking the koolaid and unwavering loyalty comes at a greater cost. This book is well written, and doesn’t spend too much time on unnecessary character development to get the point across. The main characters, particularly Harper and Charlotte, are almost caricatures of themselves – Harper the wide-eyed naïve optimist, who eventually turns into someone she doesn’t recognize until she gets a brutal wake-up call, and Charlotte the narcissistic hypocrite who preys on insecurities and false praise to manipulate and abuse her followers until she’s cancelled. Consider this a commentary on the toxicity of the hustle culture and #girlboss era.

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