HarperCollins Publishers | September 2016 | 464 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
If you've read Gilly Macmillan's debut, What She Knew; you'd know that that book is not only well written and intense but it was emotionally charged, too. Her second novel, The Perfect Girl, is like her first book but it is so much better in many ways and I enjoyed reading it thoroughly.
Three years ago, fourteen-year-old Zoe Maisey was involved in a tragic accident which left three of her school mates dead. She served her time but the incident had left the family in shambles. Zoe's father, being a farmer, thought his wife's ambition of getting Zoe into the school's piano scholarship ruined their daughter's perspective and behaviours. Maria thought otherwise and is resolved of building a new life without her husband, since he refused to get out of their small community in Devon to Bristol. Maria remarried and settled down with Chris Kennedy, who had lost his wife to brain tumour and has a teenage son, Lucas. Maria is happy with her Second Chance Family, as she so often refers to her new family, and is adamant that Zoe follows suit and leave their past behind. They will not mention about Zoe’s accident to the Kennedy members and all is good until Zoe's past creeps up on them. And when Maria is found dead thereafter, no one knows what happened and why. Is it revenge? Or is it something else?
Told in three compelling narratives and with all the events unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours, this absorbing suspense tells a tale of a family dynamics, second chances, secrets as well as perceptions. Aside from the characters, this story hit me hard with some various issues which I couldn't disclose due to spoilers, but suffice it to say they are thought-provoking and would wrench your heart given the circumstances and what the society would think and react to that aspects. Each narrative voices their emotions in such a way that would either pull at your heart strings or make you convulse at the things they've done; and all these was an addictive read. But that is not all, what I also liked about this story is that it was gripping, well crafted and that the ending affected me in so many ways that left me feeling a bit empty yet satisfactory at the same time. Some may argue about that ending, but personally I felt it was beautifully done. Highly recommended.
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