By: Laura Marshall
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 9/5/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)
DEBUT MARIA WESTON WANTS TO BE FRIENDS. BUT MARIA WESTON'S 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.
Laura Marshall delivers a twisty and suspenseful edge-of-your-seat debut, FRIEND REQUEST – when a single divorced mother gets the shock of her life when receiving a Facebook friend email request.
However, this woman happened to die twenty-five years ago, and Louise still feels the fear and guilt.
Who would guess this is a debut? Enjoyed learning of the author’s journey and her empowering story.
Louise Williams is a divorced middle class, nearly middle-aged woman. Her cheating ex-husband Sam left her for another woman.
She runs her own interior design business in London and is raising her four-year-son, Henry. Henry splits time with his two parents. Sam and Louise attended high school together. They have their secrets.
When Louise sees the name, Maria Weston, she begins to shake. A blast from the past. She can just delete the email and go to Facebook and decline the request without looking at the page.
Don’t think so. . .
A part of her wants to end this here and now, but another part of her wants to see. To know. To understand.
So she clicks, "confirm request."
Maria stares at her from behind the screen. How can Maria Weston want to be friends with her, when she is dead? More than twenty-five years.
This girl, (would be— woman) . . . "has been hovering at the edge of her consciousness for all her adult life, but she had been good at keeping her out, just a blurred shadow in the corner of her eye, almost but not quite out of sight."
From 1989 to 2016, the author takes us back to the bullying, manipulation, and the secret life of these teens and their high school years.
Presently, there is also an upcoming Sharne Bay High School Reunion for the class of 1989. Could this be a coincidence she is getting this the same day?
Who is doing this? Could Maria still be alive? She had drowned twenty-five years ago. Some thought she committed suicide.
The party. The last she was seen. Louise has a secret. Who else knows her secret?
Desperate frightened teens trying to cover their misdeeds and dark secrets. As adults, they can no longer hide.
The messages become even more threatening and dangerous. This person knows something. Louise is paranoid and fearful. Afraid her secrets of the past will unravel. She must contact the other girls.
She desperately needs to find out who is tormenting her. Louise bullied others, and now it is payback.
In between the past and present, the author cleverly inserts another voice. The reader is unsure of the voice.
A sick joke? This person is watching her. They know things. A terrible gnawing sense of dread.
“A text: “You don’t deserve to be happy. Not after what you’ve done.”
As the danger gets closer, and someone else is murdered, Louise must find the person before she is next and her son. However, the danger may be closer than she thinks.
“Maybe it’s only be going back that she will be able to move forward.”
Truth. Lies. Secrets. Family Ties. Revenge. Actions. Consequences. Choices. Sins of the past. Justifying actions.
Marshall keeps the reader in suspense and just when you think you know the identity— a new twist you did not see coming. Not a lot of likable characters; however, hats off to the author for an accomplished debut.
A riveting psychological suspense thriller which also highlights topics of bullying, peer pressure, fears, insecurities, social media, dangers of the internet, privacy, rape fantasies, BDSM, sexual violence, drugs, sadism, and darker more sinister abuse.
In addition, we learn even through generations, teenage girls, especially are desperate to fit in, willing to do or say anything to gain acceptance.
I am not a fan of Facebook. When I first started reading, was unsure if I could get past the drama; however, as the book moves on it becomes more intriguing and mysterious. A whodunit.
A good portrayal of how choices and experiences as teens can carry over to our adult lives. In addition, a nice comparison of how social media and Facebook also can affect adults as well as teens today. Anyone can be anyone on Facebook. It is easy to hide behind a faceless page. Someone lurking, watching your every move.
A solid and entertaining debut. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for this newfound talented author!
A special thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central for an early reading copy.
"FRIEND REQUEST by Laura Marshall is a cleverly plotted, enticing mix of suspense, regret and redemption. Marshall skillfully skips back in forth in time, building unrelenting tension in this utterly riveting psychological thriller. After reading FRIEND REQUEST, I will never look at social media the same way again."―Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound
"Suspenseful...Marshall leaps skillfully back and forth between past and present."―Publishers Weekly
"A brilliant novel."―Jenny Colgan, author of the New York Times bestsellers Little Beech Street Bakery and The Bookshop on the Corner
"An incredible debut novel that's not to be missed! Fantastic writing that instantly drew me in. I simply couldn't put it down - such a fast-paced, exciting thriller with some unexpected twists and turns. I loved it!"―Hollie Overton, author of the international bestseller Baby Doll
"Imagine getting a Facebook message from a school friend whose death you blame yourself for . . . That's the eerie premise for Laura Marshall's unnerving novel, FRIEND REQUEST, about mean girls and dark secrets."―Good Housekeeping
"A read-it-in-one-sitting thriller . . . Twisty and gripping but always relatable, FRIEND REQUEST is the ultimate it-could-happen-to-you read."―Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said
"A strong thriller debut featuring a compelling protagonist whose self-discovery and mounting paranoia create gripping suspense."―Booklist
"Laura Marshall ramps up the tension page by page until it's impossible to know who to trust. It's a book that should make everybody realize how vulnerable social media can make them. I loved it!"―Rachel Abbott, author of the international bestsellers Only the Innocent and Sleep Tight
"Sharp, relevant and tightly plotted, and with a fabulous twist, psychological thriller fans should definitely say yes to this impressive debut."―Sunday Mirror
"Fast-paced plotting and a gripping conclusion make this one of the better offerings in this genre."―RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Laura Marshall grew up in Wiltshire and studied English at the University of Sussex.
After almost twenty years working in conference production, in 2015 Laura decided it was time to fulfil a lifetime's ambition to write a novel, and enrolled on the Curtis Brown Creative three month novel writing course.
Her first novel, Friend Request, was shortlisted for both the Bath Novel Award 2016 and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2016 and will be published by Little, Brown in the UK in 2017, as well as by Grand Central Publishing (Little, Brown) in the USA, Blanvalet (Random House) in Germany and Fleuve Editions (Univers Poche) in France.
Laura lives in Kent with her husband and two children. Read More