ISBN-13: 9781509814800
Publisher: MacMillan
Publication Date: 16 July 2015
Format: Hardcover, 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

Is Ani FaNelli the luckiest girl alive? After all, she has a glamorous job, a designer wardrobe and most of all, a handsome and rich fiancé, Luke. Based on what she has, everyone would agree that she's definitely the luckiest girl alive. 

However, what she portrays is all lies and secrets. Her teenage years isn't something she'd like to brag or even talk about; she'd mixed with the wrong group of people, had given herself a bad reputation and now that past is going to catch up on her after she's agreed to do a documentary; a show that she'd tell her side of a chilling tragedy that took place when she was studying at the prestigious Bradley school. 

This story is told in Ani's perspective, switching between the past and the present. To be honest, I don't know what to describe my feelings towards Ani; she is not a likeable character right from the start. She is manipulative, vain and shallow. Her teenage years is no better as we often see her bitter and full of angst. One couldn't blame her considering she has both parents who don't understand her; and attending to a new school could be scary where you didn't know anyone and there are cliques everywhere. 

Not giving the plot away, I could only say I'd difficulty reading the first half of the book. Part of the reason is I couldn't connect to Ani, since she was such an unlikeable character. Plus, the pacing was somewhat slow and was spent describing how Ani had come about from her school days and her profession being a writer with The Women's Magazine to her relationship with her fiancé. I held onto the book waiting for the big moment to arrive and that happened after the second half of the book. 

I've to admit the ending did surprise me but not to the extent of shocking. There are talks that this book is compared to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl but I couldn't see the similarity except that both protagonists are flawed and they are bitter with their lives. While I felt empathy towards Ani at some point of what she'd encountered, that didn't make me like her more. Overall it was a good read but it didn't 'wow' me as I'd hoped. That said, this book would make a great book club discussions for the (dark) issues and what happened to the characters here. 

8 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Lol, all psychological thrillers released in the past two years are being called The Next Gone Girl or the Next Girl on the Train. Oh well, sorry it wasn't better, but still good for the right audience, thanks!

  2. Melody Says:

    Rita - I understand there are mixed reviews of this book. That said, it was still a good read though, despite everything. And yeah, we all know that not all books are for everybody, lol.

  3. I had the same thought Rita did about just about every psychological thriller coming out these days being compared to both Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. I imagine such comparisons do sell books!

    This sounds like an interesting book. I actually might have dismissed it after reading your review, but twice in the past year I have read and quite liked books that featured main characters I wasn't particularly fond of--at least not completely. If I do read this one, I'll be prepared for the slow first half. Thank you for your insightful review, Melody.

  4. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I think it's unfair to make comparisons as I feel each book stands on its own but yeah, I suppose they make books sell.

    I think the stories have to really hook me if the characters are unlikeable; in this case I just felt the twist didn't make much impact to me though the situation was a horrific one to the main protagonist. That said, I'll still be checking out this author's next release.

  5. jenclair Says:

    I do love a good psychological thriller, but I always enjoy a book more if I can connect with the protagonist. Since you liked it enough to consider another by the author, I'm adding it to my list. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I agree; I need to connect with the protagonist to enjoy the book. I don't mind reading an unlikeable character, but the story must be good enough to hook me. I hope you'll like it more than I did if you get to it. :)

  7. The Bookworm Says:

    I have this on my wishlist, and the last time I went to Target I almost bought it.
    I'm curious about it. If don't empathize with the main character, the storyline really needs to wow me.
    Great review :)

  8. Melody Says:

    Naida - Thanks, Naida! I hope you'll enjoy it when you get to it. :)

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