Imagine Facebook on steroids. If social media didn't frighten you before, it will after you read "Friend Me" by John Faubion. Taking Facebook to a new level, friendme.com can create a virtual friend who can look and act like anyone you want even someone who has passed away. If you could create a virtual friend, would you? Should you?
Scott is a man in a high-pressure job married to Rachel who is a lonely housewife who desperately wants to be the wife Scott needs and wants. While viewing Facebook, she sees an ad for friendme.com and discovers that she can create a virtual friend who can look and act like her best friend who recently passed away. Scott, who is having trouble at work, is only seeking someone he can talk to who will understand him and his needs. He decides to create a friend who will understand what he is going through and treat him like the man he wants to be. Unaware that they are both being manipulated by the programmer, Melissa, they become completely obsessed with their new friends.
Melissa is determined to have Scott and his family. When her attempt to murder Rachel is foiled, Melissa becomes enraged and there is nothing she won't do. Scott and Rachel must fight for their life and their marriage as Melissa becomes more and more obsessed.
This story grabbed me from the beginning. I would have read it all at once if I could have.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
As you take in the cover of Friend me by debut novelist John Faubion you notice the descriptive phrases "Current and Captivating" by one reviewer , as well as the words "A novel of suspense", both of which I would heartily agree with. This novel definitely clips along at a suspense novel pace and draws you in right away. So if you are inclined towards a fast paced Christian suspense novel with a bit of an edge to it, then I would say give this novel a try.
Husband and wife ,Scott and Rachel Douglas are both in a rough spot, their marriage is on shaky ground as Scott is starting to cave under the immense stress at work. The only solution in his mind is to work harder so that he can be more successful in order to provide for his family. As a result, Rachel begins to feel more and more lonely as those long hours Scott is working is erecting a wall between them. And so as a young mom with 2 small children, she comes up with a solution which fits into her stay at home lifestyle. She signs up for a virtual friend through an up and coming new company called VirtualFriendMe.com. From there she shows Scott her new virtual friend patterned after an old friend of hers who passed away, and from there Scott ends up designing a virtual friend for himself, although his virtual friend is female, which leads to some difficulties which I am sure you can imagine.
With the background of the struggling marriage comes something even more sinister, a woman named Melissa who is very intelligent, but not playing with a full deck. As she has programmed the software to flag when a man who would be her perfect match, shows up, the flag waves for Scott. It's just a small trifle that he happens to already be married. However, Melissa uses her job at the VirtualFriend Me company to manage to find out all she needs to know about Scott and Rachel and use that knowledge to get what she wants which is Scott and Rachel out of the way. The story unfolds and the suspense begins.
This story was definitely a page turner and I think that most people reading it will enjoy the current times aspect of it with the inclusion of the Virtual friend concept, that did draw me in. In reading it there were a few word choices that sort of put me off e.g.- describing something as "super secret" vs perhaps "top secret", etc. I only mention it because when word choices like that happen and it takes me out of the story, then I think it's odd. The other thing I would like to mention is that there is a pretty tough scene to read towards the end. I just like to forewarn folks as for me as a mom it was hard to read. As far as the themes of the book- the author talks in the question and answer section at the back of the book about the themes of "being real and being faithful" and wow in our virtual world of Facebook where we can be and project whoever we want to be and have conversations with folks we have never met, I think that it's a good message, very timely. As far as the ending, I think the author brought things together pretty well, it was maybe on the edge of believability for me and slightly rushed, but I think readers will be satisfied. All in all, I would say a good first novel and I hope the author keeps writing suspense novels. Well done.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher in exchange for an honest review . All opinions expressed are my own.
Scott and Rachel each turn to virtual friends when life starts getting complicated. As they each share more and more of themselves with their new friends, they grow more distant from each other. When things take a really strangeâ€”and scary!â€”twist, they realize that they still desperately need each other. But will they be able to overcome the hurts of the past months in time to figure out what in the world is going on?
John Faubion's debut novel, Friend Me, is an intense and thrilling read. The plot seemed far-fetched, futuristic at first. But as I kept reading, I realized that people are turning to online relationships every day, so the abuses explored in this book are totally possibleâ€”and even probable. (Although the whole "virtual" bit doesn't exist quite like this right now.) I was drawn in and could not stop reading. I seriously read this book in a day-and-a-half!
My only complaint was that the book wrapped up too quickly. I wanted just a little more explanation of the ending (total shocker!) ... and maybe a few more pages in the epilogue.
Also, due to the topics addressed and some of the ways that Scott and his virtual friend are involved, I would recommend this book for mature readers. The author does a great job of exploring the idea of an intimate, online relationship (outside of marriage) without going too far, but it's definitely what I would consider "edgy."
Friend Me is a wonderful book, and I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy today! But ... fair warning ... I wouldn't read this one at bedtime. :) [4.5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Are you ready for some suspense? Don't read this book late at night suspense?
It all started out so innocently. There was a sidebar advertisement on a social web site advertising virtual friends. And, well, Rachel was lonely after losing her best friend, Suzanne, to cancer. And her husband came home late from work so many nights. So she signed up for a virtual friend. And it went well. She uploaded a photo of Suzanne and the web site created a virtual person. She had Suzanne back. She someone to talk to.
So she showed her husband Scott. He'd been having a tough time at work and if it worked for Rachel, why not try it himself? So he signed up for a virtual friend too. When asked for a male or female, he opted for a female. She was just virtual, he thought. What harm could come from it?
But Scott finds out things are not always what they seem. When the woman who created Scott's virtual friend becomes infatuated with him, the situation quickly turns deadly.
This is a great novel of suspense. And it starts out so innocently! Or was it so innocent to rely on a web site for a meaningful relationship?
This novel is very timely in addressing the whole issue of social media and the reality of meaningful relationships. What about the ethics of virtual friendships? Is "virtual" sin different? What is a Christian to do with social media? Can it be dangerous? Should one ever reveal personal information through social media?
This is a page turning novel of suspense. It would be a good book for couples to read as it deals with the temptations they might face. There is an extensive discussion guide, making this book a good one for reading groups.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through the Litfuse publicity group for the purpose of this review.
This book is sure to make you rethink how you interact on social media! We all seem to have people that we only know online. We've never met them in person and don't think a thing of revealing personal details to this unknown person because after all we connect so well with them.
That's sort of how it starts with Scott and Rachel. Their marriage is unraveling and they both long to have someone that understands how they feel. When a 'virtual' friend begins to meet those needs it all seems so perfect. But who is behind this 'virtual' friend?
I love a great book of suspense that has me cringing and shuddering. Friend Me was that and more! It was one of those books that you begin to wonder just how the author came up with all these creepy angles. What is HE really like? LOL
If you like a novel that will keep you up at night and on the edge of your seat and totally skeptical about all of your Facebook friends, then you should definitely pick up a copy of this one!
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.