Review Blog

Jun 20 2019

Don't follow Vee by Oliver Phommavanh

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Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 9780143505747.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: Social media, Families, Mothers. Oliver Phommavanh's novel Don't follow Vee looks at the current trend of parents to overshare on social media and the positive and negative impacts on their families in a fun and insightful way.
Vee's mum has recorded every moment of her daughter's life since she was a baby. As her thirteenth birthday approaches, Vee needs to make some big decisions, to continue with 'The Chronicles of Vee' or come up with an alternate plan. The plan includes becoming anti-Vee making her life unfollowable and turning her mum's focus onto her pursuing new activities. Vee has boundaries as well; she protects her friendships by not posting any of their photos. When her mum breaks the Golden Rule, Vee really begins to question the realities of constant posting.
Every morning she wakes to her mum snapping a picture to add to 'The Chronicles of Vee' - an account her mum started when she was a baby. They have 100,000 followers and Mum has found sponsors who provide their products to promote. Her pencil case is stocked with the latest Typo products. Mum has themes for different day, Saturday becomes Fiturday as they train for the Colour Run. When her mum starts doing things like making up stories that get Vee unwanted attention at school, and breaking Vee's golden rule of not posting pictures of her friends, Vee starts to wonder if maybe it's time to stop.
Vee values her best friend Annabelle's close relationship; things change when her mother adds her photo to Vee's posts. Vee's anti-Vee antics including dyeing her hair bright red have repercussions at school and home.
Oliver Phommavanh's humorous novel is character-driven as Vee, her mother and her close friends both guys and girls grapple with their own and their on-line personas. Themes of growth and resilience, self-perception, peer pressure and the realities and consequences of creating and maintaining social media personas are presented in a humorous and easy to read style. What impact now and in the future will the one billion users of Instagram in May 2019 have?
Don't follow Vee is an inspiring story, perfect to share with Upper Primary students engaging with social awareness and digital communication.
Rhyllis Bignell

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