Book Review / J.C. Bidonde / Reviews with Spoilers

J.C. Bidonde | Do You Follow?

The Book: 

Do You Follow? by J.C. Bidonde
Published January 4th 2022 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
Date read: January 4th 2022

The Characters: 

Alexa’s boyfriend Curt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Alexa lives a sheltered life with her widowed father, feeling stifled by his helicopter parenting. When she secures a marketing job and apartment in New York City—much to her father’s and therapist’s concern—Alexa has high hopes of finally sneaking her way into adulthood. But her newfound freedom is cut short when her estranged twin sister Beth, after a long stint in a psychiatric setting, unexpectedly shows up at the doorstep of her tiny apartment.

Alexa too has spent time at the Weinstein Center. But she’s determined to lead a normal life now and soon begins to date a YouTuber client. According to Beth, something isn’t quite right with Curt, but Alexa shrugs her clingy sister’s warnings off. It’s Beth who’s crazy, after all . . . As the sister bond grows strained over Alexa’s relationship and career success, questions mount, and secrets unfold, revealing the wickedly dark shared history of the twin siblings. What exactly happened when the twins were only nine that set this vile trajectory in motion?

Things get more complicated, and one treacherous act threatens everything Alexa has been working toward. It will be on her—and Beth—to claw the way out of this situation.

Click here for book spoilers for Do You Follow?
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Do You Follow?, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist: 

“Beth” killed their mother. I guessed from the very beginning that Beth wasn’t real, since I’ve read a story with a similar premise before. I assumed Alexa had DID and that Beth was an alter, possibly a sister who died. What I didn’t see coming is that they were conjoined and Alexa killed Beth by trying to cut them apart! That was an interesting twist.

The alter also killed Curt, and Alexa was sentenced to psychiatric treatment instead of jail.

The Ending:

As Alexa is receiving her sentence in court, Beth comes to her one last time and admits that she was the one who tried to cut them apart, killing herself. It was unclear whether she was trying to kill herself or if she was just trying to separate them.

At the very end, an unknown intern at YouTube discovers an unpublished video from Curt. He wanted Alexa/Beth to kill him to make him famous. He studied her case and knew how to provoke her, and got what he wanted.

The Review: 

I requested this book from LibraryThing and was lucky to win this early review copy. Happy pub day to Do You Follow?!

I’ll be honest, I requested this book based on just the cover and title. I’ve always been a fan of the “dark side of social media” trope, so I figured I’d enjoy it. The story ended up being more about Alexa and Beth’s relationship and dark past than about social media, but I enjoyed it just as much. The reader doesn’t really know what happened to Alexa and Beth as children, just that it was traumatic enough to send them both to a psychiatric facility. Alexa is finally out on her own and determined to live her life as a normal adult.

There isn’t a lot I can say without spoilers (beware, the Goodreads reviews are full of them!), but trust me that this is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up.

I enjoyed reading both Beth and Alexa’s perspectives. It was fun to try to piece together their history from the hints they both dropped. Unfortunately I guessed the main twist immediately, but there were multiple other twists that kept me on my toes. This is a quick, well-paced read that could easily be finished in a day.

I think Do You Follow? will really hit its stride a few years down the road. There were a few pandemic references along the lines of “back in 2020 when people wore masks and my hands were dry all the time from so much washing”. These were worded in a way that made it seem like the reader is past the pandemic, when obviously we aren’t. I think phrases like that will feel more comfortable a few years down the road–obviously it’s impossible to predict when it will end, and I understand the author’s wishful thinking that we’d be done with masks by 2022!

There are some trigger warnings in this book, but they also serve as spoilers. Feel free to DM me if you want to know what they are!

TW: Mental illness portrayed in a negative light; suicide

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