SUCH A BAD INFLUENCE


Hazel Davis is drifting: she’s stalled in her career, living in a city she hates, and less successful than her younger sister, @evelyn, a mega-popular lifestyle influencer. Evie came of age online, having gone viral at five years old for a heart-tugging daddy-daughter dance. Ten years older and spotlight-averse, Hazel managed to dodge the family YouTube channel—so although she can barely afford her apartment, at least she made her own way.

Evie is eighteen now, with a multimillion-dollar career and unlimited opportunities, but Hazel is still protective of her little sister and skeptical of the way everyone seems to want a piece of her: Evie’s followers,

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Hazel Davis is drifting: she’s stalled in her career, living in a city she hates, and less successful than her younger sister, @evelyn, a mega-popular lifestyle influencer. Evie came of age online, having gone viral at five years old for a heart-tugging daddy-daughter dance. Ten years older and spotlight-averse, Hazel managed to dodge the family YouTube channel—so although she can barely afford her apartment, at least she made her own way.

Evie is eighteen now, with a multimillion-dollar career and unlimited opportunities, but Hazel is still protective of her little sister and skeptical of the way everyone seems to want a piece of her: Evie’s followers, her YouTuber boyfriend and influencer frenemies, and their opportunistic mother. So when Evie disappears one day—during an unsettling live stream that cuts out midsentence—Hazel is horrified to have her worst instincts proven right. As theories about Evie’s disappearance tear through the internet, inspiring hashtags, Reddit threads, podcast episodes, and scorn, Hazel throws herself into the darkest parts of her sister’s world to untangle the threads of truth. After all, Hazel knows Evie better than anyone else . . . doesn’t she?

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  • Quirk Books
  • Hardcover
  • June 2024
  • 336 Pages
  • 9781683694014

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About Olivia Muenter

Olivia Muenter is a writer and co-host of Bad on Paper, a weekly podcast about books, life, and everything in between. Previously a Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor at Bustle.com, Olivia’s work has appeared in Refinery 29, HuffPost, Glamour.com, Philadelphia Magazine, Byrdie, Apartment Therapy, and more. This is her first novel.

Praise

“Packed with trenchant critiques of internet celebrity and topped off by a satisfyingly nasty finale, this leaves readers wanting more from Muenter.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“Timely, riveting. . . . This story is as addictive as scrolling Instagram, and marks the launch of a talented new writer.—Ashley Winstead, author of Midnight Is the Darkest Hour

“An addictive psychological thriller that will totally immerse you in the terrifying, overexposed world of child social media stars. Muenter’s debut will have you rethinking everything about your Instagram scroll as you inhale this book in a single sitting.—Jo Piazza, author of The Sicilian Inheritance and host of the Under the Influence podcast

Such a Bad Influence is as addictive as Instagram. Woven into its twisty, propulsive story of a missing influencer are complicated questions about the cost of mining one’s life for content. I was riveted the whole way through.”—Ana Reyes, author of The House in the Pines

“A fascinating exploration of the dangers of social media . . . smart and timely.—Carola Lovering, author of Tell Me Lies and Bye, Baby

Discussion Questions

  1. Such a Bad Influence explores the world of influencer and internet culture. What kinds of influencers do you follow, if any, and why?
  2. Evie is widely beloved for being “real” online, but Hazel is surprised by some of the behind-the-scenes details she learns about how her sister curates her image. To what extent do you expect influencers to be transparent about their lives?
  3. Though they’re sisters, Hazel and Evie live very different lives; Hazel is a millennial with student loan debt pursuing a more traditional career path, and Evie has grown up making money online as a Gen Z influencer. How do these experiences influence how they each see the world?
  4. How is the viral daddy-daughter-dance video a turning point for the Davis family? Did you understand Erin’s decision to capitalize on it?
  5. The book also discusses child stardom and the “sharenting” phenomenon. What is your perspective on influencers who include their children in their business? What about parents simply sharing aspects of their children’s lives on social media?
  6. In your opinion, what kinds of legal and financial protection should be in place for children of influencers and kids who work as influencers themselves? How is this world similar and different from child actors working in TV and movies?
  7. Our cultural obsession with true crime is integral to the plot of the book. Why do you think Evie’s case attracted so much attention and speculation?
  8. How did the use of Reddit threads, podcast transcripts, and newsletters inform the story?
  9. Evie says that life without social media would be like “living on a different planet.” Have you ever been tempted to disappear from the internet? Would it be realistic for you?
  10. Would you consider Hazel to be a good sister to Evie? How did your perception of each of them and their relationship evolve throughout the story?
  11. Hazel, Evie, and Erin Davis are all disillusioned by their careers in different ways, and each make choices to regain control over their futures. Whose choices do you understand most? Least?
  12. How did you interpret the final scene? What do you imagine comes next for Evie and Hazel?