—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
A B O U T
In a debut novel as radiant as it is caustic, a former influencer confronts her past—and takes inventory of the damages that underpin the surface-glamour of social media.
At 19, she was an Instagram celebrity. Now, at 35, she works behind the cosmetic counter at the “black and white store,” peddling anti-aging products to women seeking physical and spiritual transformation. She too is seeking rebirth. She’s about to undergo the high-risk, elective surgery Aesthetica™, a procedure that will reverse all her past plastic surgery procedures, returning her, she hopes, to a truer self. Provided she survives the knife.
But on the eve of the surgery, her traumatic past resurfaces when she is asked to participate in the public takedown of her former manager/boyfriend, who has rebranded himself as a paragon of “woke” masculinity in the post-#MeToo world. With the hours ticking down to her surgery, she must confront the ugly truth about her experiences on and off the Instagram grid.
Propulsive, dark, and moving, Aesthetica is a Veronica for the age of “Instagram face,” delivering a fresh, nuanced examination of feminism, #MeToo, and mother-daughter relationships, all while confronting our collective addiction to followers, filters, and faux realities.
“AESTHETICA is the best book about influencers I’ve ever read and the only book about the internet that doesn’t make the author sound like a thousand year old vampire.”
“Allie's writing is a light to follow in the dark, illuminating those human realities we often wish would stay hidden, but deep down, if we're open enough, are grateful to have seen."
“In her dark, moving, fascinating, and healing first novel, Allie Rowbottom compassionately and lucidly examines one of the more painful, disturbing, stranger, and newest subcultures that our misogynist dominator society has produced.“
“A challenging, compassionate novel about the aftermath of exploitation and packaged youth . . . While structurally the novel is conventional, tracking a naïve young woman’s entrapment in a sordid world and her reawakening as an adult, Rowbottom’s specificity about one moment in internet culture and the contradictory ideologies about autonomy and desire young women must parse make it worthwhile reading.”