Idol by Louise O’Neill @oneilllo @transworldbooks #bookreview #publicationday #Idol

🎉🎉🎉 Happy Publication Day to Louise O’Neill 🎉🎉🎉 Idol is out today!!

My thanks go to Transworld Digital for my advanced e-copy of Idol which I received through Netgalley.

The Blurb

Follow your heart and speak your truth.

For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.

And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.

Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.

But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?

You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’

Riveting, compulsive and bold, IDOL interrogates our relationship with our heroes and explores the world of online influencers, asking how well we can ever really know those whose carefully curated profiles we follow online. And it asks us to consider how two memories of the same event can differ, and how effortlessly we choose which stories to believe.

What Did I Think?

When it comes to social media, we all know that pictures are painted to create an image, particularly when it comes to influencers. So nothing is quite what it seems.

Sam has curated her own persona, one with a huge following, sponsorships and she written books that are bestsellers. She’s living the influencer’s dream… that is until she writes something from her past that those involved disagree with the version of events she paints. Enter free fall status…

O’Neill shows the power of social media and how anonymity can wield such an ugly sword. But she also shows how memories can be perceived differently by parties – they say there are three sides to every story: my side, your side and the truth. But what is the truth of that eventful night? As the book goes on, O’Neill made me question the reliability of Sam’s narrative and I love an unreliable narrator so one who starts off steady and gradually head to unreliable central really got my attention.

Having read Asking For It a few years ago, I fully expected Idol to be a hard hitting thought provoking discussion about a controversial topic. It did not disappoint! O’Neill tackles quite a few subjects that made me think – consent, the power of the influencer, the reliance of ones own memories. I really enjoyed Sam’s very bumpy journey of damage limitation. I really must read more from Louise O’Neill!

Who Is Louise O’Neill?

Louise O’Neill grew up in Clonakilty, a small town in West Cork, Ireland. Her first novel, Only Ever Yours, was released in 2014 and won the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, the Eilís Dillon Award for a First Book and the Bookseller’s inaugural YA Book Prize. Her second novel, Asking For It, was published in September 2015 to widespread critical acclaim. It spent 52 consecutive weeks in the Irish top 10 bestseller list. Both novels have been optioned for screen.

Louise’s first novel for adults, Almost Love, was published in 2018, followed shortly by The Surface Breaks, her feminist re-imagining of The Little Mermaid. Her second novel for adults, After the Silence, was published in 2020 and was an instant bestseller in Ireland. It won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards and has also been optioned for screen. Idol is her third adult novel.

Louise contributes regularly to Irish TV and radio, and has a weekly column in the Irish Examiner