Review: Such a Bad Influence

Book By: Olivia Muenter
Review by: Mae Vincent
March 7, 2024
Mae’s rating: 4/5 stars

Content warning: Eating disorders, abuse, death, trauma

Such a bad influence is a thriller that follows Hazel, the older sister of prominent social media influencer Evie Davis. The book begins with Evie disappearing on a live stream. We follow Hazel as she tries to connect the pieces of her sister’s disappearance while simultaneously confronting the complicated relationship with her mom, sister, and the people in Evie’s life.

I really enjoyed this book. It was an overall fast-paced read, with a few slower spots throughout. I’d say this is common with most thrillers. The reader gets to delve into the action, and then relax a little as the story continues to build.

The story gives lots of insights into the inner workings of social media. With fictional threads from different social media platforms. The realistic comments from Evie’s fans really pulled me in, to the point I forgot she wasn’t a real person. “Do I miss hating her now? Yes.” (Muenter, 222) This quote perfectly captures the relationship so many people have with influencers. It’s clear the author did her research, or, if she’s like me, spends a lot of time on the internet.

I appreciated the spotlight on common criticisms of children on social media. Things like predators, exposure to the harmful expectations of internet beauty standards, and the financial burden on kids too young to be worrying about it. This has been a hot topic on the internet the past few years, especially with TikTok becoming a huge platform for child influencers.

As I was reading, I found myself drawing a lot of connections to Sharp Objects by the popular thriller writer Gillian Flynn. Both books center the eldest daughter returning to their dysfunctional home, while struggling to unravel a series of mysteries. This comparison is a compliment to both writers, as I loved the themes and topics throughout.

I did only give this book a four out of five stars for one reason. The ending is not super clear, and leaves a lot up to the reader’s imagination. For some, this may be their favorite part, others may end up throwing it across the room. I’m somewhere in the middle, I didn’t hate the ending, but I also wanted more, and so my rating reflects that.

Otherwise, the writing was quite good, so was character development. For someone who wants to curl up with an intriguing page turner, I’d most definitely recommend this. This book was Olivia Muenter’s debut and I cannot wait to see what else she writes!

Work Cited
Muenter, Olivia. Such a Bad Influence. Quirk Books, 2024.

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