Friend Request by Laura Marshall 3 1/2 stars

Sometimes I feel like I inadvertently get on a theme. The last book I reviewed was about a former high school “it girl” who turned up dead. Now this one is about a girl who, approaching her 25 year high school reunion, is contacted by a girl that literally did not make it out of high school alive.

And my 20-year is next year. So maybe I’m stuck a bit on this topic? Luckily I don’t think there will be a murder mystery surrounding my reunion. Or at least one can only  hope.

And now, without further ado…

From the Publisher:

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.

My Review:

How often have you received a friend request from someone that you went to school with but you don’t quite remember? That can be bad enough. But what if you got a friend request  from someone who mysteriously disappeared and was presumed dead 25 years ago in high school?

That’s exactly what happens to Louise, the main character in Laura Marshall’s debut novel, Friend Request. I really liked this premise and I appreciate the use of social media as a narrative element in this story. Because like it or not, it’s just life these days. I don’t know how much time I spend checking my phone everyday. Clearly way too much!

The story jumps back and forth from present day to 1989, detailing the events leading up to the disappearance of Maria Weston. Marshall does a good job weaving the story through the alternating narratives, introducing the characters both in present day and 25 years ago.

Both stories are equally intriguing, and although the present day story was the main one, the back story was very interesting as Marshall revealed Louise’s deep dark secrets, and why she was filled with such guilt about Weston’s disappearance.

Marshall’s writing is fast-paced and I loved the twists as the story behind the story was reveals. For me,  the ending could have been better, and actually there were several points where I thought we were done, and then it kept going. But I did enjoy the book. I’ll look forward to seeing more from Marshall.

The book released on September 5 and is available now!

Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the complimentary e-galley in exchange for my honest review.

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