For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this is a riveting and irresistible take on love, life, and identity -- both online and off. CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals. So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She's lost her first love, and now she can't help but wonder if she'll lose her followers as well. Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn't surprised to be falling for a guy; she's always known she's bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts... but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way. But when CeCe's secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she'll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth.
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Feeling a little lost, CeCe begins to define herself, who she wants to be, and balance social media. When she meets a cute violinist who abhors social media, CeCe is conflicted about how much of her other life to share. Even though CeCe knows she is bi, her social media following doesn't seem like they will understand. When everything catches up to her, CeCe finds herself at the crossroads, where she will have to decide who she is and who she wants to be- on social media and IRL.
What I loved: The inclusion of the posts and comments from social media added something special to this story with some important themes. The book discusses how that B in LGBT+ fits into the spectrum and the prejudices those individuals face in identifying with some really poignant insights. This discussion really captures the challenges around being bisexual and the way this is accepted (or not) by the larger world poignantly.
I also appreciated the challenges and anxieties that CeCe faces in being true to herself - something that often seems difficult to do. Other themes such as the impact of social media on self-esteem and the feeling of being on both sides of the social media crosshairs feel really poignant in today's atmosphere, particularly given the challenges that teens may have in navigating them. This book could set the stage for some important conversations about social media and how to handle a virtual life psychologically and safely.
Another major theme was CeCe and wanting to be true to who she is, while also dealing with some social anxieties. I would have liked to see more resources for her in handling this, but I do appreciate the penultimate message of the importance of authenticity and being your true self.
In terms of the romance, it was cute and slow-building, but I think there was also strength in showing resilience after a surprising breakup. CeCe is shocked by Silvie's declaration, and dealing with the fallout is something most people will face at some point. This was mostly handled with grace throughout, while also showing the emotional difficulties of a breakup.
Final verdict: FOLLOW YOUR ARROW is an engaging YA contemporary about being authentic, living your life for yourself, and the pressures of social media. This would be a great book to help frame discussions around internet use as well as LGBTQIA+ issues.