Book review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Permalink

Getting Facebook friend requests from old school frenemies or even those you only vaguely knew many years earlier is a weird thing. My 30th school reunion was held a couple of years ago and when I joined the reunion Facebook page I sudden received friend requests from people I’d not seen (or thought of) in decades.

Weirder still were those from people who were just not nice in school. The bitches and bullies – most of whom left school as young as possible in my day, so weren’t a problem after we turned 15. But at least I’ve never received a friend request from someone who disappeared 25 years earlier, and who’s presumed dead.

Book review: Friend Request by Laura MarshallFriend Request
by Laura Marshall
Published by Hachette Australia
on July 25th 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9780751568332
Pages: 400

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. Uncensored and unapologetic. Days into their acquaintance, Maria and Louise are quickly on their way to becoming fast friends.

Decades later, when Maria reaches out over social media, Louise's heart nearly stops. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface--those first days of their budding connection, the awful judgment of the young women who felt at the time like her sole gateway to belonging. The fateful, tragic night that would change all their lives forever.

Her entire adult life, Louise has known if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reemergence threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she'd severed ties with to get away from the past.

Trying to piece together exactly what happened that night, she soon discovers there's much she didn't know. The only certainty is that Maria Weston disappeared that night, never to be heard from again--until now.

This book mostly unfolds in the present though there are snippets from 1989 and Louise’s final year at the local school and her relationship with popular-but-only-just Sophie and the cool kids; as well as new girl Maria.

It’s obvious to readers (most of whom I’m assuming have left high school far behind us) that Sophie is really a bit of a bitch and using Louise big-time. And of course 2016 Louise realises this and has made no effort to keep in contact with from anyone from her school years…. with the exception of her ex-husband Sam – who she ran into (and married) a decade after leaving school.

But the ‘friend request’ from the long-departed Maria and seemingly sudden school reunion shunts Louise back to 1989 and she realises what an impact the events of that year – and Maria’s death at the ‘school leaving party’ – have had on her life.

She has however, moved on for the most part and has a son (Henry) and successful business. She’s not entirely over her ex Sam with whom she shares custody of Henry who cheated on her and hurt her in ways she won’t admit even to her best friend.

The school reunion and increasingly menacing Facebook messages (supposedly from Megan) bring everything to a head however, and when a new tragedy emerges Louise fears all she’s worked for may be lost.

I’ve read a lot of books lately involving lies and secrets from the past, which invariably come back to bite the secret-keepers on the butt. Interestingly here, there’s a sense that – if Louise hadn’t been as secretive in the present – things may not have unfolded quite as they did and there may have been happier consequences for all involved. I said something similar about the book I reviewed yesterday though Friend Request offers readers far more closure than Last Seen Alive and is more of the traditional whodunnit with a twist at the end.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.



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