I’m going to do my best to keep this review brief. “People Like Her” had so much potential: you have an influencer whose popularity has earned her a stalker that believes she doesn’t deserve any of the “happiness” Emmy displays on her Instagram feed. That she shouldn’t have her happy family, glamorizing skating by while raising two little kids. There was so much room in there to weave a complex thriller around the pitfalls of internet safety when you are a “public figure” as well as the danger of over curating your online presence, and how social media can often turn loved ones into props for the person doing the posting. The authors TRIED to do some of that, but they failed to deliver on the core of their story: a thriller with a plot.
Here’s the thing: both of the main characters were some of the most self-involved, whiny, and privileged characters I’ve ever read. You don’t see Emmy ever build her platform, where a lot of the struggles and pitfalls and the really dark side of social media come in. Instead, we see her as already famous; she has an agent, and is doing commercials and podcasts. She's already in a position where she can pay her mortgage with her “influencing” rather than struggling to figure out what to do with all the “free” gifts she’s given that she can’t actually use to pay her bills. I felt like the authors missed a big opportunity there, and instead just crafted two characters that I found completely unlikable. There was nothing redeeming about either of them. And the stalker is no better, like, of course obviously, they're the bad guy here, but their reasons for hating Emmy is teased out so slowly that I found myself just as annoyed and bored by them as the rest of the cast.
For a book that is about 275 pages, the first 200 pages are incredibly slow. How do you even do that in a thriller? All the characters do is go on rambling tangents about how their privileged lives are annoying with very little connected back to how the social media aspect of it plays a role in any kind of negative way. All of it reads as a very long humble brag which never sits well with me. All of the mystery and thriller aspects of this novel came pretty much in the last two chapters, which ultimately made me feel like this book was a waste of time as it delivered on very little of what the synopsis promised.
Also, as a word of caution, there are lots of discussions around child death and miscarriages, and fertility issues in this novel. So, if those are topics you find upsetting, just be forewarned. I can’t say how these authors treat those subjects as I haven’t experienced those problems, but I know it can be delicate for lots of people. That being said, I did like that last chapter of this novel, even if I really did not like the epilogue and the “reward” Emmy and Dan get. In fact, the one chapter where the book actually had the stalker acting on some of their long discussions of hate for Emmy is the only thing that is saving this book, and why I’m giving it 2 stars. There was just too little of this story I liked and felt utterly let down in terms of the “thriller”. Oh well, it’s a shame that this novel couldn’t deliver on its potential.
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