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All the Lonely People, by David Owen

All the Lonely People

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"Everyone tells Kat that her online personality - confident, funny, opinionated - isn't her true self. Kat knows otherwise. The internet is her only way to cope with a bad day, chat with friends who get all her references, make someone laugh. But when she becomes the target of an alt-right trolling campaign, she feels she has no option but to Escape, Delete, Disappear.

"With her social media shut down, her website erased, her entire online identity void, Kat feels she has cut away her very core. She brought it on herself. Or so Wesley keeps telling himself as he dismantles Kat's world. It's different, seeing one of his victims in real life and not inside a computer screen - but he's in too far to back out now. As soon as Kat disappears from the online world, her physical body begins to fade and while everybody else forgets that she exists, Wesley realises he is the only one left who remembers her."

As soon as I started reading All the Lonely People, I knew I was in for the long haul. I was instantly pulled in by the themes and the way they were portrayed.

Two themes that particularly interested me within this book were toxic masculinity and feminism. We see teenage boys wanting to be seen as the tough guy and bowing down to peer pressure, and we see men struggling to show their emotions. The boys are also peer-pressured to join an anti-feminist movement. Kat, our protagonist, looks up to a feminist YouTuber and wants to go to a women's march. These two topics are certainly timely and tackled extremely well throughout the story.

Kat has no connections to anyone in the real world, so once her online identity is deleted she starts to fade. This state of fading shows us how fake some online relationships can be and how much someone can become reliant on them. This concept brought an element of magic realism into the story and it really fascinated me.

Kat's character development throughout the plot is nicely portrayed and we get to learn a lot about her as the story develops. I liked how she was determined to find herself and help those she cared about despite going through the fade. Her friendship with fellow lonely person Safa was one thing I didn't really root for. At times I felt like Safa was being very controlling and trying to force Kat to think like her and not for herself.

Wesley's development is the best in the book. I love seeing characters realise the error of their ways and seek redemption, and this is exactly what Wesley does.

All The Lonely People is a brutally real, heart-wrenching tale all about the dangerous side of social media and how you can feel lonely even when online. It's honestly unlike any other book I have read before that is based on the same themes.