Cover Image: Under the Influence

Under the Influence

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Member Reviews

Under the Influence by Noelle Crooks is a recommended, highly for some readers, novel set in the world of a major influencer.

Harper Cruz is looking for a new job and applies to work for self-help influencer Charlotte Green. Harper is hired as Charlotte’s Visionary Support Strategist in Nashville for triple her last paycheck. If she thought the job offer was high pressure, once she arrives in Nashville Harper realizes just how high pressure and cult-like the job at The Greenhouse really is where everything is all about making Charlotte Green look good and working long hours doing exactly what she wants.

This very easy to read novel feels like an update on The Devil Wears Prada. Readers who follow or are familiar with self-help "Hey you" social media influencers will likely relate much more to this novel than I did. It held my attention and I finished it, but ultimately it will be forgettable for me. However, I think a younger reader who follows influencers on social media will enjoy it more than I did. It also fits the description of an airplane book, interesting enough to hold your attention but you won't care if you misplace it. Apparently if you are familiar with the influencer the Charlotte Green character is based on, it makes it a better novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Gallery Books via NetGalley.
The review will be published on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Edelweiss, and Amazon.

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⭐️ 4/5 | 🌶️ 0/5

This book had me incredibly interested within the first thirty minutes, and I binged in one sitting! As someone who works in social media and marketing for a living, it's always a toss up whether writers get it truly right (puns intended) when depicting the world of influencer marketing. This one hit the nail right on the head.

Culty vibes aren't typically my thing, but the way that this particular group was structured almost felt like the MLM trap we see more often depicted today. You're in, until you're not, and then you're out on your butt.

The ending left me on a high for the rest of the afternoon, highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a peak behind the curtain into influencers.

*Thank you to Netgalley, Noelle, and Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster) for a copy of this book!*

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Under the Influence is unique but also felt very real and current. Social media, and it's "stars", share SO much of their lives with the public. But just how much of every mundane detail they are sharing is actually real?
This book flowed well and was a nice quick read. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Book for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 4 stars.

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When aspiring writer Harper Cruz comes across a job posting that pays 3x her normal salary she jumps at it.
The job turns out to be working for a famous self-help influencer, Charlotte.

If you follower influencers at all, you can tell who this book is based on. Spoiler: read the authors' bio. It almost reads as a fictional expose? I kept thinking she must have signed an NDA because this would have been great as a memoir or non fiction book.

Thank you to netGalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

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Harper Cruz lives in New York and works in the publishing world. She is stuck in one dead end job after another. Harper applies to a job that seems too good to be true. The job is for famous influencer, Charlotte Green. The salary is quite generous but the job is in Nashville, TN. Under pressure and without much time to think Harper accepts the job. Upon lading in Nashville without time to breath or organize herself, Harper finds herself jumping into her work at "The Greenhouse".

The Greenhouse appears fun and quirky but something is peculiar about it. There are mandatory dance parties, group activities and requirements to post on social media. The hours are LONG but Harper doesn't mind too much as she is enjoying her job. Then things start to go amiss
and the glitter and glam of the office starts to fade away.

Under the Influence builds up slowly and the reader sees whats happening way before the characters do. Working at the Greenhouse gives MLM and Cult like vibes. The characters are well developed and push the storyline along. There are some moments where I struggled as reader to get through the story but am thankful I continued on as the story ended up being an overall good read.

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Harper Cruz’s life takes an unexpected turn when her New York publishing job falls through. Desperate for a fresh start, she lands a gig with influencer Charlotte Green in Nashville. As Harper gets deeper into Charlotte’s world, she realizes it comes with a price. This wild ride explores influencer culture and the consequences of dedicating your life to a job and a charismatic leader.
I love all books that have a theme of influencer culture because I find it so relateable. This one in particular is so so good, and well written – it’s a must-read!

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I loved this book a lot more than I initially thought I would! The description was intriguing - a woman struggling to make it in the NY publishing world and ends up getting chosen for a job she knows nothing about for an influencer she knows nothing about. I was quickly drawn in and though the beginning was a little repetitive, I was intrigued the entire time. The storyline and character development were so well done, even the characters that you hated were enjoyable. The influencer is absolutely despicable, which makes it all the more entertaining. The underlying plot of how hard it is for women to make a name for themselves was so true and clear enough for everyone to see. The whole point of social media being a cover and not showing the true person was so well done in the book that it makes me want to uncover everyone's filters. Such a good read and such a perfect time for it to make its debut!
I'm also absolutely obsessed with the cover!

Thank you, NetGalley, Noelle Crook, and Gallery for allowing me to review this book!

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This is a story about what happens when work becomes your life.  Harper Cruz hoped to be a writer, or at least work in publishing.  When the latest of her publishing jobs in New York does not work out, she's concerned that she may need to move back to Poughkeepsie to live with her parents.  Then, she comes across a job posting to work for an influencer that seems to offer triple her last paycheck, so she submits an application without thinking twice.

A day later, Harper receives a strange call -- the influencer, Charlotte Green, has selected Harper's application from thousands of others.  After a quick conversation and an even quicker offer, Harper does not know what to make of Charlotte.  But under pressure to make a decision, Harper accepts the offer and moves to Nashville to be a part of "The Greenhouse."

Although Harper had never heard of her before, Charlotte is much beloved by women across the country for tips on life, work, and relationships.  At first, Harper is taken by what seems like an unbelievable workplace — full of dance parties, daily affirmations, and group bonding — and ignores some warning signs, like the group bonding being mandatory and what happened to her predecessor.  Soon Harper finds herself pulled deeper into Charlotte's world, increasingly desperate for her approval, and determined to defend Charlotte from outside critics.  But Harper gradually discovers that there is much more to Charlotte than she reveals publicly.  As Harper finds her whole life subsumed by her job, she comes to realize that being in Charlotte's inner circle comes with a price.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a thoughtful examination of both influencer culture and what it means to structure your whole life around a job and a charismatic leader.  The author did a terrific job of portraying Harper's journey from a skeptic to a true believer, including showing how, as Harper became more and more interested in advancing at her job and winning Charlotte's respect, she found herself taking steps that would have been unthinkable before this job.  I particularly appreciated the evolving relationship between Harper and her parents, and the way that reflected her evolution.  I also appreciated how the book showed the ways that Harper's co-workers' relationship to their jobs and Charlotte, and the compromises they made in their lives, resembled and departed from Harper's experience.

Highly recommended!

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Obsessed this was a fun read. It’s so interesting to see how social media influencers live behind the curtain. Harper was a great character and honestly this needs to be a movie.

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Harper lives in a townhouse with her rich best friend Poppy in Manhattan, they both worked at a publishing house and although Papi recently changed jobs Harper was made redundant at hers. Harper was in desperate need of a job but when she ran across one that sounded too good to be true her best friend Poppy told her she should at least try so she sent in her résumé. The next morning and gets a call saying Charlotte is going to pick her up and give her an interview on the way to the airport could she be ready in 15 minutes? The next thing Harper knows she’s given a job that pays three times the salary she got from her last employer she’s moving to Nashville and working for Charlotte Greene a lifestyle guru. She sad to be leaving the life she created in Manhattan with her best friend Poppy but she knows in life you must MoveOn and move forward and this is what she does in the world win before she knows it she has a crush on the guy who picked her up in Nashville name Aaron she’s running errands for Charlotte and the only writing she does is writing Charlotte‘s newsletter in Charlotte‘s voice. Harper is headstrong and independent and at first she questions everything from the crazy dancing Charlotte does when she arrives at work to the mini hours she is expected to be there and all the things she hast to do for her job at the greenhouse but that is par for the course when your job title is made up. There’s even things Harper is expected to do when not at the greenhouse and although it’s toll to her as if it is voluntary she gets the drift that it is definitely not. There are many things Harper over looks like her inner voice screaming at her that she should leave and go back home but she doesn’t. Her boss and her bosses husband have said inappropriate comments more than once but when she sees Charlotte on Halloween walk out in a geisha outfit she knows she must say something and she immediately blames Bella for her faux pas but the way Charlotte treats Bella doesn’t sit well with Harper but being in Charlotte‘s good graces overrides any doubt she has. Everyone vies for Charlotte‘s attention and approval and she has confided in Harper more than once. As much as Harper is enjoying her new friends, getting to know Aaron and living in Nashville there is something not sitting right with Harper. After her Halloween faux pas she invited Harper to the influencer luncheon that Bella was supposed to go to and Harper knows the hard-working Bella deserves it more than she does. It seems Charlotte isn’t new to playing games with her employees today in from walking Bella‘s interaction with the boss she had Myer so much Harper nose loyalty only go so far with someone that has none. She doesn’t want to look too closely at her situation because she knows it will make for an ugly picture but Something Happens and Harper cannot justify not only her actions but those of her boss. It seems Nashville Harper is a person New York Harper would definitely look ascanse at .is is Harper losing who she was and can’t she even respect the person she’s becoming before it’s too late can Harper get out? This was such a good book such a great ending and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it although this isn’t the best summary and probably one of the worst it was hard describing this but she becomes someone she isn’t and someone she never thought she would be but you see the progression of that and the outcome so freaking good! Just a note to Noel I thought your acknowledgments were perfect! I received this book from gallery books in NetGalley but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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Under the Influence
By: Noelle Crooks
Pub Date: 8/8/2023
Publisher: Gallery Books

Harper Cruz is an aspiring young writer. When she comes across a job posting that pays 3x her normal salary she jumps at it. But in order for her to take on the job she will have to move away from everything she knows.
The job is working for a famous self-help influencer, Charlotte who’s she’s never noticed before.
When she’s hired to work for Charlotte instantly she doesn’t really know what she’s getting herself into.

This was a really thought provoking book. We all have some form of social media in our lives these days but how much of what you see is real?

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After struggling to make it in publishing in New York, Harper is eager for a job that will allow her to support herself. When she comes across an unusual job posting to work for an influencer, at three times her last paycheck, she applies but does not think much more of it. Until, the influencer reaches out and offers her the job, but only if she will accept quickly. Harper decides to take a chance, and moves to Nashville to work for the influencer, Charlotte Green, and her team, The Greenhouse. Charlotte is beloved by her many fans and followers, and, when Harper first arrives, it seems that her employees feel the same way. Soon, however, Harper learns that behind the happy, supportive, and uplifting pictures shown on social media, there is a much more complicated dynamic ... and just what it will take to succeed in her new world.

This was a well crafted novel, with strong characters and a story that kept me fully engaged.

Highly recommended!

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Remember how terrible everyone thought Miranda Priestly was in The Devil Wears Prada?

Well, girl, meet Charlotte Green. An influencer who has created a massive audience with her "Hey girl" attitude and 'relatable' content. She's tiny and powerful with a beautiful family and her ever present green Vans.

Harper has been struggling to find a fulfilling job in New York. After applying on a Saturday night to a job posting, by Monday, she's moved to Nashville to start working for Charlotte. She quickly finds that behind the shiny veneer of Charlotte's instagram, not every is as it seems. There's unhappy employees, thinly veiled racism, a disgruntled husband, hateful children and a nightmare of a boss.
It's PRETTY easy to see where and who this story is influenced by...if you know ANYTHING about influencers. A brief glance at Noelle's bio will confirm that...yep, she once worked for ... old 'Girl'.

I found this story completely fascinating and current as I just left my long-time nightmare of a job. There's things that are more important than money.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Down on her luck Harper starts a job working for a big time influencer that seems too good to be true. Charlotte Green is beloved by her followers to an almost cult like status. And at first glance it seems like her employees feel the same way. But as Harper succeeds, maybe too well, in her new job, she starts to see cracks.

Charlotte’s entire brand is full of toxic positivity. She is incredibly tone deaf, and surrounds herself with people as a shield for who she really is. She claims to be diverse and inclusive while being full of racial micro aggressions. She was hard to handle as a character, but made it an entertaining read at the same time. I enjoyed following Harper’s journey into the influencer sphere.

I found this to be a bingeable book that I didn’t want to put down. It’s a well told story about how hard it came be to get ahead, especially as a woman.


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UNDER THE INFLUENCE captures so perfectly the pull into the world of these media personalities and their toxic positivity into our lives. With the novel that reads far too real I question where the line to fiction is. Noelle Crooks experiance working for one such #girlboss shares the heart breaking truth of what this cult like culture's poison is capable of- this reads far more auto-biographical than a chicklit novel and was a fascinating account of how these "hustle cure/team family" environments can destroy a person. I was rooting for Harper to the end, and hope that NC and her real life Oliver/Bella/Aaron are happier on the outside! Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for the ARC.

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I was honestly not sure what to expect about this book, but after it being referred to as a lovechild between The Devil Meets Prada and The Assistants, I knew I had to read it.
Overall, it was okay. The concept felt quite refreshing, and if you read it as more of an analysis on how individuals get dragged into cult-like groups, it's highly interesting. It was quite fun to analyze how Harper, initially dragged into an environment she doesn't really know and feels skeptical about, slowly gets invested in Charlotte, and the Greenhouse and social media in general. There was a lot of cult-like language and tactics used in the book that were so well used that it even made me feel like the situation Harper was in was totally normal.
But I'd say that was the only thing that kept me really reading. A lot of things were happening, but the plot was non-existent. I wasn't hooked and most of the time I felt like the story was going nowhere.

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After losing her job, Harper's roommate sets her up with an interview with a big name influencer. She gets the job and moves to Nashville to work (and live) at the influencer's company.

When I finished this book, I had to look up the author and see if she had worked for Rachel Hollis. Spoiler, she did. I would have rather read a nonfiction expose of the Hollis Company than this fictional portrayal. I imagine that she signed an NDA or something and cannot do that.

The book itself was fine. If you know about the scandals of the Hollis Company, nothing is going to be surprising. I was really disappointed in the final chapter. It was unnecessary and a cheap ending. Other than that, it was entertaining enough but I would have preferred a nonfiction.

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The Greenhouse seems like it will be the solution to all of Harper's financial woes. She's 27, still paying off college loans, taking money from her parents, hasn't got a job, and only has a place to live because her pal Poppy's parents own their apartment. So moving to Nashville, reduced rent, a chance to work with influencer Charlotte Green, and a huge salary- that's a plus. But once she gets there, things seem a little off. Charlotte has created a cult of self and a pod of worker bees who must follow her dictates and work 24/7. Harper finds herself caught up in and struggling with all of it but her colleague Bella helps her out until Harper becomes the favored one. This does have Devil Wear Prada vibes (notably when Harper goes home) but it more than stands on its own (although fans of the former will see multiple parallels). Like Andy, Harper dreamed of being in publishing and like Andy, her relationships suffer. She's a terrific and relatable character. Charlotte is awful, her husband almost as bad. I very much enjoyed this one. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Good storytelling and a zippy plot makes this a very good read.

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So, I almost gave up on this one less than 10% in - there was sooo much #girlboss jargon that I almost bailed. But I am so glad I didn’t because I really got into one with it’s culty vibes. If you follow influencer culture you will immediately recognize who Charlotte is based on. In fact, Crooks worked with them on their conference so it was interesting to read a fictionalized inside account. I wondered how much was truly fiction and what was based on lived experiences? If you’re thinking this is a thriller though - don’t! It’s more contemporary fiction with some dark elements.

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I keep finding myself drawn to stories exposing the cultish or grift-y natures of lifestyle and wellness influencer. The fact that this is the second time I've been underwhelmed by one of these stories is a little too meta for me. Under the Influence follows Harper, a desperate young publishing hopeful, who takes a job with self-help influencer Charlotte Green on a whim because the offer seems too good to be true. The longer she's in Charlotte's orbit, the more invested Harper becomes in earning her boss' approval, despite ample red flags from the start about the Greenhouse's work culture.

I found this a frustrating read, so I DNF'ed about halfway through. This book is purely plot—there is virtually no character development. Harper is a mere vessel for the plot to happen to, and her colleagues at the Greenhouse are largely caricatures. Since the characters are so thinly drawn, I didn't find myself compelled to finish this, despite the fairly dishy premise. I didn't realize until after I started reading that the author is a former assistant to Rachel Hollis, who clearly serves as the inspiration for Charlotte Green. This book might work better for people who know more than I do about Rachel Hollis and her various controversies, who might be able to catch the references that seem to be littered throughout the book. It just didn't work for me. I suppose I would've better enjoyed a nonfiction memoir expose, in the spirit of the Lularich documentary, but I understand that Crooks might not have been able to write such a book for legal reasons.

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