People You Follow


“A journey down the rabbit hole of LA's most subtly toxic industry ... funny, brilliant, coy, playful, and wise.” — LENA DUNHAM, author of Not That Kind of Girl

Musician Hayley Gene Penner tells all in this harrowingly honest memoir.

Singer-songwriter Hayley Gene Penner's memoir takes a brutally honest yet humorous look at the dark, intimate truths we spend our lives running from. Like a map of beautiful mistakes, Hayley’s stories of questionable sexual encounters, artistic aspirations, and emotional abuse trace her coming of age in the music industry.

Hayley explores all her relationships — from her childhood as the daughter of a celebrity, to the destructive and coercive relationship with her boss, to her encounter with the actor we all know but who mustn’t be named — and brings them together in a series of sharp, touching vignettes. People You Follow straddles the delicate boundary between ethical and unethical behaviour, self-protection and self-destruction, power and weakness, giddiness and despair.


People You Follow is a fucked-up Alice in Wonderland journey down the rabbit hole of LA's most subtly toxic industry, and it's also funny, brilliant, coy, playful, and wise. I feel so lucky that Hayley is here to express how hard dating in Hollywood is for the bunch of us, and I'm also glad that young women can read about her emotional pratfalls and save themselves the same pain as they work to become artists as skilled as she is.

Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl

A good songwriter is someone who makes the listener feel like the words were stolen right out of their mouth, and Hayley has that same quality as an author. People You Follow left me feeling colorful, excited, empowered, completely vulnerable, a little heartbroken, and incredibly inspired.

Charlotte Lawrence, singer-songwriter and model

Honesty is powerful and vulnerability is even more so, and Hayley wields her power in spades. Her writing pulls you in, keeps you company, and forges a connection that most authors can only dream of creating, and her words reflect her profound and unique gift of self expression. To be privy to her stories and her storytelling is a privilege, and one that will resonate with anybody who's battled with their truths, their pasts, and the way they see themselves.

Anne T. Donahue, author of Nobody Cares

This is Hayley in book form. So perfectly written, with her humor giving a light to situations that don’t always have one. Beautifully written words for a good laugh and the occasional necessary cry.

Kaia Gerber, model and actor

Hayley's journey to find self-love is both heartbreaking and humorous. I recognized my own younger self and how we, as women, struggle to find our value through the eyes of others. While Hayley's story may be more dramatic than others, we are rooting for her as she finds herself and the power of "no."

Reading Hayley Gene Penner’s memoir felt like I was with my funniest, naughtiest friend, who came over to drink tequila and tell me secret stories. Each cautionary tale is full of dark humor, desire, and sexy sex in the most vulnerable and authentic way. I loved every minute.

Christa Miller

Hayley’s memoir masquerades as a comedic take on a young woman discovering and defining her sexuality. You are so distracted by the breezy comedy of the insane true-life stories that you don’t see the gut punches coming.

Bill Lawrence, writer/creator of Scrubs, Cougar Town, Spin City

Singer-songwriter Hayley Gene Penner’s memoir is a coming-of-age story steeped in the music industry... Penner recalls her artistic inspirations, abusive bosses, questionable decisions and more.

Winnipeg Free Press

About the Author

Hayley Gene Penner

Posted by Kendra on October 8, 2019
Hayley Gene Penner photo

Hayley Gene Penner

Hayley Gene Penner grew up sharing the stage with her father, renowned children's entertainer Fred Penner. She writes with some of the biggest artists and producers in the music industry. Her debut album, and her memoir's namesake, People You Follow, also released in 2020. She splits her time between Winnipeg and Los Angeles.