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Pub Date 05 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 05 Jan 2023

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Almond Brown has no friends in real life . . . but 3.5 million followers online. An unmissable exploration into what it would really be like to be internet famous at 17, from an extraordinary new voice in UKYA.

Almond was forced into the spotlight when she was just a perfectly filtered bump: her mum has been documenting their family through social media since before she was born. And her family enjoy all the rewards that come from that level of influence. Only, it's not the life Almond would have chosen for herself, and being on a platform all the time has made her anxious and insecure. When the darkest side of the internet begins to haunt her, Almond feels like she's going to lose everything . . . If only she could see that she has a real-life, too, full of friends and family who love her, and that it could save her.

Almond Brown has no friends in real life . . . but 3.5 million followers online. An unmissable exploration into what it would really be like to be internet famous at 17, from an extraordinary new...

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ISBN 9780571377343
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 30 members

Featured Reviews

This is my first YA review and I have to say I really enjoyed reading! The theme really resonated and it was refreshing to read about a modern dilemma that many young ‘influencers’ experience nowadays in the 21st century. That is, having more ‘friends’ behind a computer screen than in real life and what this means for your confidence and the way you experience the world. A thought provoking novel. Thank you - I will recommend!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Faber and Faber for this eARC!

I don't know what I was expecting going into this, but I have to say it absolutely exceeded any expectations I could have had. The modern, 'real-life' YA story that is needed for this generation, and one that could really be a defining read of the genre!

Almond Brown is a seventeen year old 'influencer', who's career started when she was only a child, thanks to her mother's own family vlogging 'influencer' aspirations. Her life is far from private and everything she does and posts is perfectly curated by a team, with an overbearing and selfish manager, brand deals who rarely want the truth from her, and a mother whose heart is in the right place, even if her head isn't always.

This story is incredibly current with the wave of new 'influencer' celebrities over the last few years, and opens up some really important discussions about social media marking, consent of minors to being filmed, and when to stop giving the internet all of the details about your life. As a society, we are so heavily invested in social media these days, with most of our online engagement on those handful of apps that we all know and have a love/hate relationship with; this book gives us a glimpse beyond the shiny, seemingly perfect lives of those with thousands of followers and constant #ad posts.

Beyond the social commentary (with a lot of important points being raised with regards to race too, the main character being biracial), it was also a super entertaining and, at times, deeply affecting read. I didn't anticipate that I would feel so emotional as to be almost brought to tears reading this book, but here we are! The pressures of being pretty enough and happy enough and skinny enough are all too real for young women in this day and age, and the author does an amazing job of showing the true, horrifying effects of that on mental and physical health.

There are some really complex characters - from Almond, to Heather, a straight-talking, golden hearted plus size girl who refuses to fit into the mold, to Imogen, another influencer with a perky Barbie-like exterior who is crumbling beneath the pressure of a mother she is never good enough for, to Joss - the caring, gentle, funny love interest we all dream of finding in our own lives. I really found myself invested in the characters and wanting the best for them, and appreciating their growth so much.

The writing is accessible, and I found this book easy to devour within a 24 hour period. I also liked the use of other elements - text bubbles between friends, emails here and there, the graphs showing Almond's 'following' count. It wasn't all just blocks of writing, and these elements being thrown in helped to make it feel even more relatable to a teen market, I believe. But on saying that, I do think this book opens up conversations that are useful and necessary for just about everyone!

An easy, strong 4.5 stars for me. This was a breath of fresh air in the genre and, with this being what I understand is the author's debut novel, I really am excited to see more from her.

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Firstly I wanna say how stunning this cover is and it perfectly captures the whole influencer vibe perfectly. Now to the book, I really liked it, everywhere you look these days you will see influencers whether it is for beuaty, games, travel or even books influencers are everywhere and we can't get enough of them, and I loved the take on it that this book gave. It was fresh, compelling and really made me think. Everyone should read this book.

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Thrilled to read and acquire this title. Full review coming due to an unexpected health issue their has been a delay. With social media being at the epicenter of everything these days I feel this will be a great book that will appeal to a large audience especially our YA section.

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[Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC]

In the past few months, YA hasn't been my favorite genre. I couldn't find a book that was both interesting and addressed some serious issues. Everything changed when I read the description of "Influential". I had a feeling that this might be the book that would make me love YA again. And I was right!

• I loved the writing style! I rarely read books in 1-2 days, but I couldn't put this one down. I had to know what else would happen to Almond and how her life would change. I think that even an interesting plot can feel exhausting if one doesn't like how it's written. Fortunately, Amara Sage seems like a very promising author, and I will definitely keep an eye on her new books in the future.

• The characters!!!! I don't think there was even one that I didn't like. Each one of them was very complex and crucial to the plot. Almond, our main girl, was relatable, and every teenager will be able to identify with her. Joss and Heather are the perfect supporters, and I feel like it's impossible not to love them ❤️ Also, Almond's parents or Imogen who sometimes didn't seem like good characters, were very interesting to read about as they kept on developing and in the end saw their mistakes.

• I also can't forget about the importance of this novel! Nowadays, everyone is immersed in social media. We all have them and use them on a daily basis. On the one hand, they are fun and make our lives easier, but on the other hand, they have made our world 100% more superficial. That's exactly what "Influential" is about. It showcases how hard it is to be a teenager in the reality of Instagram. Everything has to be perfect. No scars, no acne, no mental problems. On your feed, you are supposed to be perfect. In real life? Let's be honest, no one really cares about your life. They just want to see cute or sexy pics. Yet, Almond, who grew up with hundreds of people watching her life on the internet, just had enough!

• Also, I almost never cry while reading, but in this case, it was impossible to stop the tears from flowing. Reading the hate comments towards Almond or her discrediting herself just broke my heart. Maybe I didn't experience online hate, but I was bullied for many years of my life, so I couldn't help thinking of myself and what I felt back then.

This is a must-read for everyone! No matter the age!

[Instagram review will be posted within 2-3 weeks]

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This is honestly a really good fictionnal book about the impact a parent's decision to share their child's entire life online can have. This is a situation that WILL happen (if it hasn't already) to real children and teenagers today. It gives us an idea of how it might feel like to be in the mind of one of those vlogger family children. It is incredibly sad.

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Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I think this is a brilliant book which tackles timely topics such as deepfakes, the influencing world, and mental health.

The main character, Almond, although an influencer feels relatable and well-rounded. I truly appreciated learning more about how influencing works and the tolls it can take on a person as I don't believe this is something consumers often see.

i really enjoyed Almond's journey with excoriation as this isn't a condition widely spoken about and one that often goes unnoticed as a form of self harm. I enjoyed the little therapy sessions in between chapters and actually how most people didn't care about who she was when they were in group.

The relationships and characters were easy to get along with and the texting throughout was a wonderful way to break up the chapters.

The cover of this novel is BEAUTIFUL!

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Influential by Amara Sage is giving you present-time situations. Once upon a time, it used to be “child actors.” Who we saw in the public eye making mistakes but held to a higher degree of scrutiny.
Now, as we see in Influential, it’s the influencers on social media. Sometimes their children provide a stream of opportunities to their families and are too young to consent. What happens when everyone believes the “idea of you” they see online? Not considering your choices? Being unaware of your feelings?
Almond Brown has had her Mom document her entire life. They all have benefitted from the sponsor deals and the gifts that come from being an Influencer on Social Media. Things are coming to a crossroads, where we see Almond really struggle with anxiety and mental health. Too scared to voice what she wants, not wanting to let down her own mother, things get pushed and suppressed, and nothing positive ever comes out of that.

To help with her mental health, her Mom has signed her up for this group therapy. Where she makes two new friends, which is something new for Almond. As her previous friendship has burned to the ground, from jealousy and envy. Almond is finding her space and coming out from her dark space with her new friends. Those pesky trolls won’t let go of her that easily.
The darkest side of the Internet comes at her hard. Almond gets lost in the social media space and makes some potentially life-affecting decisions. A strong warning to young adults and their parents. All she has to do is remember who she really is, who is there for her, and that she can always talk to her parents. We can all hope that the lessons Almond had to learn on Influential are a warning Amara Sage wants to make clear. Influential is a thought-provoking book. This a great book to have a conversation with other young adults who are on social media. You don’t only have to be an influencer to be affected by trolls. We see cyberbullying and the toll it takes on the mental health of our young ones.

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This was such an engaging read! So raw & so real. Tough to read but also important because Almond's experience will be a similar story to so many people in our society. Even if the reader can't relate, anyone reading this will still be encouraged to self-reflect. I would recommend this book to everyone and I look forward to reading more from this author.

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A fascinating read and a real social commentary on the impact of social media on young people which was really horrifying at times.

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