Review: Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke

follow me back.jpgThere was no sign of a struggle, they whisper to each other. She took her phone but left her laptop behind.

Apparently, she’d met someone online, they write to each other in class, phones buzzing.

She ran away. She was taken.

The first time Aiden Kendrick hears about Lizzie Summersall’s disappearance is when the police appear at his front door. He and Lizzie used to be friends; they aren’t anymore. And when Aiden finds out that Lizzie had been talking to strangers on Facebook; that the police think she went to meet one of them, he begins to wonder how well he ever really knew her, and Aiden doesn’t know it yet, but with Lizzie’s disappearance his life is about to take a twisted and desperate turn.

I read this book for the #SundayYAthon (which I wrote a post about!), and it was so, so good. The first thing that struck me about the book and made me take a closer look was the cover, which is pretty cool with the texting picture and the crack, something that made it seem more mysterious to me, the blurb had me intrigued as well.

I liked the characters and the way they were developed both positively and negatively. I thought Aiden was cleverly written, as he started out seeming like a regular guy, made remarkable by his talent for football, but as elements of his past were revealed, he started to become a little more sinister. Even though his intentions were often in the right place, some of his actions did not reflect this, and it made him interesting to read about, as I was curious to see what the next developments would be over the course of the book. I also thought it was interesting to see an unreliable narrator being used, something which you didn’t expect initially, but it soon became clear that Aiden definitely was one! In general, I thought the characters were exceptional, as they all had very distinct and memorable personalities without seeming exaggerated. This can be a tricky balance to find, but I thought Nicci Cloke did this excellently.

The mystery and plot twists in the book were also compelling and gripping. Just as I thought everything was going smoothly, something would happen that would change everything. You were kept on the edge of your seat the whole time, with no idea of what to expect next. The ending was clever, as there had been minor clues earlier on in the novel, but they were just subtle enough that it was surprising as well.

Something which allowed for quite a few of the aforementioned plot twists to be added to the plot was the split narrative. Primarily, the story was told from Aiden’s point of view; however, there were occasional chapters told from other people’s perspectives. While they were rather key to the storylines, what with the plot developments, and they were well written, helping to keep you engaged, it did sometimes feel like too much chopping and changing between perspectives, particularly when there wasn’t really a pattern to the frequency of the shifts in viewpoints.

On the whole, I thought that Follow Me Back was gripping and mysterious, packed with plot twists and developments that keep you engaged throughout. If you’re a lover of mystery books, I would definitely recommend giving this book a read.

Follow Me Back was published on the 4th of February 2016 by Hot Key Books. You can find out more on Goodreads here, or purchase a copy on Amazon here.

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