Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Haters

The Haters by Robyn Harding
7/2/24; 352 pages
Grand Central Publishing 

The Haters by Robyn Harding is a very highly recommended thriller following an author who is being attacked by internet trolls.

Camryn Lane has just had her debut novel, Burnt Orchid, published and the initial reviews are great. Liza, her 17-year-old daughter, boyfriend Theo, her editor, and friends are all thrilled for her. Then she receives a disturbing message from an unknown sender accusing her of exploiting her student's private lives for material in the book. Camryn is a high school guidance counselor and would never do such a thing. Following the scathing message, her book begins to receive one star ratings full of unwarranted attacks on a popular review site. Camryn is advised to not engage with the trolls, but the attacks are becoming increasingly personal and threatening. Who is behind this and why do they want to destroy her?

The Haters is a well-written thriller along with a cautionary tale of engaging with online trolls. While following the main plot, the narrative includes excerpts from Camryn's novel Burnt Orchid. The excerpts make it clear that her novel is not exploiting her students lives.

Camryn is a fully-realized but flawed character. It is true that Camryn didn't listen to the advice to ignore and don't engage. She made it very personal. On the other hand, it was very personal. That fact made it clear that the list of potential suspects may need to include someone close to her. It is said that authors can feel like their books are like their children and this is how Camryn is reacting to the attacks.

The premise was so gripping and realistic I was immersed in the plot from beginning to end. Part of my high rating is how the premise of the novel is so realistic and compelling. It would be very difficult to not engage with the unwarranted harassment. If you've ever witness one of these canceling troll events on a book review site you'll understand how hateful the comments can be and obvious it is that none of them have actually read the book. Some of them will even attack other reviewers. Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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