Being a teenager is hard enough. But add in the stress of being a perfect influencer on social media and it is a powder keg just waiting for a lit match to set it off. Influence tells the story of newly transplanted Minnesotan, Delilah, as she tries to climb the social media ladder. Unfortunately, it’s a zero sum game so she has to displace someone else.

There is the relatively normal Jasmine, famous for her childhood TV role, but still finding herself as a person. Her best friend, Fiona, is also an actress and influencer, whose insecurities and mental issues could fill a textbook. And let’s not forget the venomous Scarlet, who has never forgiven Fiona for stealing her boyfriend, Chase, years ago. Scarlet is also facing rumors online about her current boyfriend, Jack, who is famous for eating Tide pods on YouTube, canoodling with a mystery girl, who the reader knows is Delilah.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! No one my age understands influencers. Perhaps because we instinctually know that the lives portrayed, and even the photos showing it, are all fake. I wanted this book to explain the fascination. To be honest, that didn’t happen. These four girls deserve whatever happens to them. They are not sympathetic characters at all.

However, I’m not the demographic for this young adult book after all. I think female preteens and teens will enjoy the feeling of being an insider behind-the-scenes in these girls’ lives. It is humorous at times too. Anyone who liked the author’s Pretty Little Liars series will also love Influence. 3 stars.

Thanks to Delacorte Press, Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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