Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Simon & Schuster!!)
Summary: HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Suspense
Recommended for: Readers looking for a fast-paced, twisty ride with one hilariously cynical narrator
When I received a copy of Luckiest Girl Alive, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Inside the package there were three letters (one from the author, one from the publicist, and one from the editor), each one praising this novel higher than the last. I have never received three separate letters in one book, so right from the start I knew there would be something special about Luckiest Girl Alive.
Before I even started reading I chalked this one up to a suitable follow-up to Elizabeth Little’s Dear Daughter. Not as a sequel, since the two aren’t actually all that similar, but they both have snarky, too-big-for-her-britches narrators, suspense to the max, and a blinding pace to boot! Now that I’ve finished I stand by my initial thoughts: fans of Dear Daughter (if you haven’t read it yet, drop what you’re doing and buy a copy!) will be right at home with Ani.
With high school not-so-securely behind her, TifAni FaNelli – now Ani (long A, thank you very much) – has reinvented herself. In an attempt to put the elite Bradley School behind her, Ani severed what ties she had (not that there were any left, not since that night..) and found a job as a columnist for an ultra-chic magazine. Her blue blood fiance is an absolute dream and her closet is packed with coveted designer brands. But with her wedding day looming on the horizon, Ani’s past creeps back with a vengeance and the secrets she’s kept buried for so long are threatening to surface.
Saying anything about this book would essentially spoil it and I absolutely REFUSE to do that so I’m sitting here practically bubbling with everything I want to say. If you want to know just what happened that night that changed everything, you’re going to have to work for it. Luckiest Girl Alive doesn’t give up its secrets that easily, and just when you think you’ve figured it all out, Jessica Knoll pulls all the stops and you realize the show is only getting started.
With alternating chapters, Jessica Knoll lets the reader into Ani’s life, from her high school days to her current life (including an upcoming documentary about what happened at Bradley), each chapter chipping away at Ani’s past and exposing it piece by piece. From the new boy at school to Ani’s favorite teacher, characters are introduced and given life. Slowly the events unfold and I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting some of the twists! There were a few things that I thought would happen that never came to fruition (I’m still not entirely sure whether or not I’m relieved!) and some things I never imagined stared at me from the page.
I want to add a note that while I loved Luckiest Girl Alive, it might not be for everyone. There are some heavy-hitting themes: rape, bullying, murder, trauma, eating disorders and I completely understand that those topics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Knoll isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with her characters and I stayed up way to late to finish this one! Luckiest Girl Alive had me gasping, cringing, shouting, and laughing – sometimes all in the same chapter! If unlikable characters and situations make your heart sing, this is the book for you. There are so many moments I’m struggling to keep a secret, so you’re going to have to trust me on this one. Luckiest Girl Alive is an excellent debut that took me on one hell of a ride. HIGHLY recommended!