Friend Request by Laura Marshall | Book Review

Friend Request book cover

When Louise receives a Facebook friend request from a high school classmate, a dark, long-held secret is catapulted to the forefront of her mind. The classmate in question is Maria – a girl who went missing and was presumed dead all the way back in 1989. Is someone playing a sick prank? Does somebody know of Louise’s horrifying secret? Or is Maria still alive and looking for revenge?

Friend Request moves between the present day and the school days of 1989 to slowly unveil the protagonist’s deep secret. However, just as we begin to understand why the past haunts Louise so intensely, new mysteries emerge in the present. At a high school reunion Louise hopes to get the bottom of the strange friend request, but when a violent crime takes place there, it only generates more confusion.

The continual twists in the plot mean that the tension builds and builds with every chapter. Every time a piece of the puzzle is revealed, something new comes along and the stakes are hiked all the way back up. The biggest twist comes at the end, when Louise realises she’s in more danger than she ever could have imagined, and we realise that one of the supporting characters is not all what we expected.

Something I particularly admire about Friend Request is the way in which it makes it difficult to really like the protagonist due to the bad choices she made in the past. She chose popularity over kindness in high school, and yet she only did so in the interests of self-preservation. As an adult she is truly regretful of her teenage behaviour, but that isn’t necessarily enough for the reader to forgive her of it. There’s a big moral dilemma to get your head around and the whole story leaves you with a powerful sense of unease as you realise that nobody is quite as they seem.

Overall, Friend Request is a highly compelling read that completely lures you in with its clever pacing and plot.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. She has published two short story collections - 'Merry Bloody Christmas' and 'Come What May Day'. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition. She can often be found loitering on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott).

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