Bella nudged Harper into the center of the carpet, where Charlotte took both her hands and looked up into her eyes. “Harper, we’re so glad you’re here, and we can’t wait to watch you grow.” Harper smiled tentatively as the room applauded and then came to an abrupt stop as Charlotte once again lifted her hands in the air like pom-poms. With that, she hopped off the stump, and everyone dispersed and went back to their workstations.
Harper stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, slightly shell-shocked and unsure of what to do next.
I loved Under the Influence so much! This is a deep dive into the influencer world, the startup up, scrappy, work is your family, always hustle harder vibe that seems to dominate both social media and the new tech world of content creation. If you’ve followed the rise and fall of some #girlbosses and influencers who’ve had big book and conference deals in the past decade than you will really enjoy this book. Told from the point of view of Harper Cruz – an Andi from Devil Wears Prada type women – who finds herself in need of a job and then finds one that is too good to be true. Is her new boss, the infamous Charlotte Green insane or really genuine? Harper is trying to figure out what she’s gotten herself into all the while balancing her family responsibilities and watching her friends start new chapters in their lives. Harper is young and driven and gets caught up in the world that charismatic Charlotte is creating. What does it hurt to work a little longer? To cancel plans and phone calls? To say no to family to say yes to Charlotte?
I’m familiar with bosses like Charlotte so it was really interesting to watch some of Harper’s experience play out on the page. She’s young and keen to prove herself. Watching her launch herself into the fast paced world of creator content and see the mind games her boss is playing with her and everyone else was addictive. I couldn’t stop reading the book. This is a fast-paced book with a hint of romance and a lot of family storyline, both found and by birth.
I really liked Harper, she was a sympathetic character without being gratingly naive. I found myself cheering for her and she discovered herself while working her way through this intense world she found herself in. The secondary characters of Poppy, Bella and Oliver and Aaron were a delightful backdrop to the insane intensity of Charlotte and her husband. Harper moves through the book from her small hometown to Manhattan and finally to Nashville where Charlotte makes everyone work (no remote workers for her). It was fun to read a book where Nashville was the setting and the book wasn’t centered around a country singer!
I think my only complaint is that the ending feels a little rushed. I wanted (with no spoilers here) to see a bit more of what goes down at the end. There’s some gaps that I greedily wanted to see filled in, but I felt that the story wrapped up really well for Harper.
I can’t wait to read more from Noelle – this is a standout book filled with a great cast of characters.
Thank you Simon and Schuster for the ARC in return for an honest review.