“It’s stupid to lie to yourself when there’s no one eavesdropping into your mind.”
Basically: Drummer girl Hallie is obsessed with the reclusive musician Haze who may be messaging her over social media. Brenna Ehrlich spins a chilling story of what happens when the barriers between fan and artist are broken.
We’ve all heard the stories of what happens when musicians get too close to their fans. The inappropriate messages, the late-night conversations, the pleas for secrecy. It rarely ends well. So when Hallie starts getting messages from the guy claiming to be her favorite band-dude, the always-masked Haze, she convinces herself they have a connection, and we’re on the edge of our seats, shouting at her to be careful.
While the messages increase in volume (and creepiness), Hallie notices that her new friend, aspiring journalist Steve, seems interested in her too–but is it because of her mad drumming skills or their shared obsession with Haze? After Steve tells her that Haze is playing his first show in five years, they come to the same conclusion: road trip!
Only, instead of a thrilling adventure full of laughter and fun shared experiences, this one is all awkward moments and tragic news. Tension–and tempers–rise when Sarah, Hallie’s best friend, becomes the reluctant third wheel. The girls’ bond waffles between sisters and frenemies, allowing us to see their not-so-glamorous lives outside of their band.
One of the best parts of the novel are the snippets from the songs off of Haze’s album, Masking Tape. The lyrics are so on point, we almost forgot Haze doesn’t actually exist. If Brenna Ehrlich gets tired of writing for MTV, she totally has a future in songwriting.
While the writing is often flowery, the story is fast-paced enough to draw us into this punk world. It’s fairly easy to guess who’s behind the photo app, and the conclusion makes us satisfied that we were right yet terrified at the same time. Those last few sentences sent shivers up our spine, proving that just because you think you know someone online, doesn’t mean you know them at all.
In the end: Read it! The simile-heavy writing might not be to everyone’s taste, but, with all the scandal in the scene these days, this is the perfect cautionary tale.
Want to keep reading? Check out what Placid Girl author Brenna Ehrlich had to say about the inspiration behind her debut novel, and how eerily topical the book’s content has become here.