Whenever a book blows up on social media it always makes me want to read it even more. That was the case with Under the Influence by Noelle Crooks. Everyone was raving about it right as it was being published and the green cover was eye catching on my Instagram feed.

It was then I realized I had an ARC of it from NetGalley (I really need to come up with a better system of tracking my ARCs) so I immediately started reading it. I was immediately enthralled with the plot of the novel and where it could go so I could see why everyone was freaking out over it. 

Under the Influence is extremely well written, developed, interesting, capturing and wonderful. It'll definitely be one of my favorite books of the year.

Publisher's Summary

After a series of go-nowhere jobs in the New York publishing world, Harper Cruz is broke, lonely, and desperate for a salary that won’t leave her scrambling to make rent each month. So when she stumbles across a job posting from an influencer offering triple her last paycheck, she automatically submits her résumé.

Harper may not be familiar with self-help guru Charlotte Green, but her relentless optimism and charismatic can-do spirit has created a cult-like following of women across the country. When she selects Harper among thousands of other applicants in less than twenty-four hours, it’s obvious she sees something she likes. Despite the pressure to accept the offer just as quickly as she’s been given it, Harper decides to take a leap of faith and become the newest member of The Greenhouse.

Accepting the job means a move to Nashville, and Harper is quickly dazzled by the glamourous world Charlotte has built in Music City. The Greenhouse is more than a workplace—it’s a family—and Harper soon finds herself swept into its inner circle. At first, she loves working in such an inspirational environment, where mandatory dance parties, daily intentions, and group bonding activities make up for long hours and Charlotte’s persistent demands for loyalty. But the deeper Harper is pulled into Charlotte’s world, the more she realizes that having it all and being it all comes with a price.

My Thoughts

I've already said how much I enjoyed this book and it was really that good. Charlotte Green is based on Rachel Hollis, since Noelle Crooks worked for her. Though, Crooks wouldn't confirm it during press for the book, there are a lot of parallels between the main character, Charlotte Green & Rachel Hollis...one of the more notable ones being when Charlotte Green steals a quote from Mother Teresa...just like Hollis did.

Crooks takes you on a wild ride inside our main character, Harper's, brain. She is a struggling writer who gets a once in a lifetime job offer from an influencer who she has never heard of - Charlotte Green. When Harper accepts and uproots her life, she's thrown into this weird world of the Greenhouse in Nashville. She makes new friends, gets pulled into her boss's orbit and completely loses herself.

I thought the pace of how Harper gets sucked into what feels like a cult under Charlotte Green was so natural and as it was happening, you didn't even realize it was happening. It happened as it would in real life, a little at a time which was really nice to read. 

There weren't a ton of unnecessary details that dragged the book down, everything felt intentional and needed; everything added to the story. 

Charlotte seemed like a monster, but hidden in sheep's clothing. Nothing she did was that bad but as you read more, cracks in the facade started to show. As Harper got pulled deeper I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. 

I thought the book had a nice balance of showing what the 'corporate' side of influencing could be like, and how it's easy to believe or not believe what was being fed to you. I loved Bella (though at first I thought I wasn't going to like her) and enjoyed the other members of the Greenhouse... expect Aaron. I thought he was a whining baby and I wasn't a fan of his behavior.

I also really disliked Harper's aunts and their sexism, internalized misogyny and old school way of thinking. It really rubbed me the wrong way and pulled me out of the book a bit. 

The ending was one of my favorite parts and was very meta. It was a really wonderful way to wrap up the book and brought things full circle.

Under the Influence showcases what it's like working in a #girlboss environment fueled by hustle culture. It's the modern day Devil Wears Prada and I loved every minute of it.

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