Publication date: 5 June 2018
Genres: Thriller and Contemporary
They go through both bottles of champagne right there on the High Line, with nothing but the stars over them… They drink and Lavinia tells Louise about all the places they will go together, when they finish their stories, when they are both great writers-to Paris and to Rome and to Trieste…
Lavinia will never go. She is going to die soon.
Louise has nothing. Lavinia has everything. After a chance encounter, the two spiral into an intimate, intense, and possibly toxic friendship. A Talented Mr. Ripley for the digital age, this seductive story takes a classic tale of obsession and makes it irresistibly new.
Social Creature was an unexpectedly good read for me! Some of the reviews I read led me to think it was going to be underwhelming, but I ended up loving it and flew through the last half of the book in a day.
The novel follows Louise, a twenty-nine-year-old woman living in New York. She is struggling to build a successful career for herself, but meets twenty-three-year-old Lavinia while tutoring Lavinia’s younger sister. Lavinia quickly takes Louise under her arm and introduces her to a life of glamorous parties. Lavinia has an endless cash flow – thanks to her parents – and gives Louise the material things that she has always wanted. But… Lavinia is going to die soon.
Social Creature is an enticing and rich book. The scenes are quick and often full of dialogue, making it a fast read. On the surface, the lives that Louise and Lavinia lead are perfect and desirable, but in reality, sinister things occur between them. Their friendship is toxic and consists of deception and lies.
The characters in the novel are very fascinating. The character most people would have mixed opinions about is Lavinia. She is very annoying most of the time, because she is the kind of person who always be in charge of every situation. She held the ties in the friendship and constantly reminded Louise of this. She was not a good friend at all. In fact, none of the characters in the book are very likeable. Louise gets worse as the story goes on, but even in the beginning she was frustrating. Although the characters were not the greatest humans, they made the book an interesting read because of the amount of drama present.
The genres in this book are a mix of thriller and contemporary. There are aspects of it being a thriller, considering there are dark, twisted themes, but it also feels like a contemporary because of the glitzy setting of New York. In thrillers, there is usually a twist, and I often expect it to be shocking. This twist in Social Creature is not necessarily shocking, but the events that happen after it are really weird yet oddly alluring. I definitely was not expecting what goes down in the second half of the novel. The readers find out quite quickly in the novel that Lavinia is going to die, but when it is revealed how she dies, I found the story became much more fun to read. That is when everything got intriguing for me.
The style of writing in Social Creature is rather unique. I like to think of it as kind of experimental because you do not often read books with the same sort of style. I really appreciate it when authors try something new and I personally enjoyed the writing. Perhaps not every reader would. There is one phrase in particular that seemed overused to me, which was when the narrator said ‘Louise knows this.’ Whenever I read that phrase it distracted me from the events.
The only other negative thing I have to say about this book is that some of what happens in the book is a little repetitive. Most of what happens is that Louise and Lavinia go to parties and often do crazy things. It is worth sticking through to the end because these parties become less of the same.
Overall, I found Social Creature to be a great, dark read. I would recommend Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton to those who enjoy thrillers that are more like contemporaries. I have rated it four stars because it was an addictive and twisted read.
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the advanced reader copy that I received in exchange for an honest review.