On the first page of Aesthetica, Allie Rowbottom’s indispensable debut novel, 35-year-old former Instagram influencer Anna Wrey watches a group of young women contorting their bodies for selfies beside a Los Angeles hotel pool and reflexively clocks their faces for what she’s been conditioned to perceive as flaws. “They’re cute,” she thinks, “but each one needs a tweak to achieve true beauty.” Rhinoplasty, brow lift, buccal fat pad removal. After more than a decade scrolling, clicking, liking, buying, and wanting, Anna is a heightened proxy for all of us who have subsisted on a steady drip of faces and bodies that embody the true type of beauty she’s envisioning, an ideal defined for us by an app on our phones. 


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