We know, we know: too much staring at screens isn’t good for us. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves. We (and you) are literally doing it right now. But guess what? Just like everything else, the all-consuming Internet is multifaceted! It can be used for good and not so good. And that’s why we thought it was worth discussing.
This month’s Epic Reads Book Club theme is, fittingly, to read a book about social media. Join and check out more on the Facebook group here! Then do yourself a favor and unplug, put your phone down, and pick one of these books up. Dive in and lose yourself in their stories and worlds.
And then come back online the next day and let us know all your thoughts in the comments!
13 Books About Social Media
TO READ ON NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING
1. All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was—and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.
Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…
2. The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least, to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet.
But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives a major backlash.
To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir Trail. Mari and her late cousin Bri were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.
With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back from to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
3. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
4. Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
5. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seems like everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.
Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is ever going to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t.
And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation.
Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.
6. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona in this acclaimed novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. “A must-have.”—School Library Journal
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community.
Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.
7. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.
8. #Famous by Jilly Gagnon
In this modern day love story: Girl likes boy. Girl snaps photo and posts it online. Boy becomes insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent photo turns into a whirlwind adventure that forces them both to question whether fame—and love—are worth the price…and changes both of their lives forever.
Told from alternating points of view, #famous captures the sometimes-crazy thrill ride of social media and the equally messy but wonderful moments of liking someone in real life.
9. Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…
Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.
When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…
10. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
ARE YOU PLAYING THE GAME OR IS THE GAME PLAYING YOU?
Vee doesn’t know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever’s behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner.
With Ian on her team, it’s easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it’s thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly.
Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?
11. The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden
Cassie McKinney has always believed in the Hive.
Social media used to be out of control, after all. People were torn apart by trolls and doxxers. Even hackers – like Cassie’s dad – were powerless against it.
But then the Hive came. A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many “condemns,” and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It’s safer, fairer and perfectly legal.
Entering her senior year of high school, filled with grief over an unexpected loss, Cassie is primed to lash out. Egged on by new friends, she makes an edgy joke online. Cassie doubts anyone will notice. But the Hive notices everything. And as her viral comment whips an entire country into a frenzy, the Hive demands retribution.
One moment Cassie is anonymous; the next, she’s infamous. And running for her life.
With nowhere to turn, she must learn to rely on herself – and a group of Hive outcasts who may not be reliable – as she slowly uncovers the truth about the machine behind the Hive.
12. How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
Vicky Decker’s social anxiety has helped her to master the art of hiding in plain sight, appearing only to her best friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable. So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s photos and posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious.
Instantly, she begins to get followers, and soon, Vicky has made a whole new life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she amasses online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her—#alone and #ignored in real life. To help them, and herself, she must stop living vicariously and start bringing the magic of Vicurious back to life.
13. He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
He says: Omar “T-Diddy” Smalls has got it made—a full football ride to UMiami, hero-worship status at school, and pick of any girl at West Charleston High. She says: Football, shmootball. Here’s what Claudia Clarke cares about: Harvard, the poor, the disenfranchised, the hungry, the staggering teen pregnancy rate, investigative journalism . . . the list goes on. She does not have a minute to waste on Mr. T-Diddy Smalls and his harem of bimbos.
He Said, She Said is a fun and fresh novel from Kwame Alexander that throws these two high school seniors together when they unexpectedly end up leading the biggest social protest this side of the Mississippi—with a lot of help from Facebook and Twitter. The stakes are high, the romance is hot, and when these worlds collide, watch out!
What’s your favorite book that tackles social media? Let us know in the comments!