Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive


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 fiancĂ©, 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.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free? -- Simon & Schuster

I really wish that critics and fans would stop comparing every new suspense book with an unreliable female narrator to GONE GIRL. It really isn't fair to any of these books including GONE GIRL and the the newest comparison LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll. LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE certainly does have an intriguing narrator and you can't help but think something shocking is going to be revealed by the end of the novel; however, in my mind, this book deserves its own praise for being a terrific read!

LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE tells the story of Ani FaNelli, formerly known as TifAni FaNelli. Ani has done a remarkable job of reinventing herself since her troubling past in a suburban Philadelphia school. Ani has spent much of her life trying to prove herself and fit in with the "rich and successful" types. She's done pretty well for herself -- she lives in New York City, has a great job at a magazine, and is engaged to a wealthy man.

However, Ani's high school years were very different. She attended the prestigious Bradley School where she made a few mistakes and earned quite the reputation. But she's also hiding something else... something that could ruin her "perfect life."

I have to say that LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE was a very entertaining read for me. I absolutely loved so many things about this novel from the storyline, to the surprises, to the writing. However, it might surprise you that one thing I didn't like about this book was Ani! The story was told through Ani's eyes, and I have to say that it was very, very difficult for me to like her for much of the story.

Having said that, Ani was a wonderful character because she was so interesting. She was really caught up in "being someone," and she was also quite caustic. I have to admit that I found myself laughing at her insights on more than one occasion. As the story progressed, however, I became much more sympathetic for Ani. Many of her thoughts and actions were a result of what happened to her when she was a teen... and her feelings of insecurity. I guess, like many women, I could relate a bit to never feeling good enough.

Another thing I really enjoyed about LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE was how the story unfolded. The pacing was just terrific! I couldn't put down this novel because the tension just kept riveting up, and I had a feeling that the reveal was going to be huge! I don't want to give away anything, but suffice it to say, I was satisfied with the ending.

That's a real testament to the writing of Jessica Knoll. It's hard to believe it's her first novel, but I can't wait to see what comes next. I was very impressed with her character development and storytelling abilities, and I loved that she based some of the story on real-life events.

LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE would make a great book club pick, especially if you are looking for something a little more suspenseful. There is a reading guide with fourteen questions along with some ideas for enhancing your meeting. Some of the themes you might want to discuss include self awareness, change, forgiveness, success, truth, deception, friendship, and acceptance.

I enjoyed LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE quite a bit! Highly recommended to fans of women's fiction and suspense!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Kay said...

I'm right there with you on the Gone Girl or now, Girl On The Train comparisons. I know that publishers want to give readers an idea of what they are picking up, but I'm just so over it. I've been wanting to read this one since I read another review telling about it. Soon, soon. :-)

Anonymous said...

I said the exact same thing about the comparison to Gone Girl! So annoying. I agree with you, I liked this book a lot! Ani was difficult to like but her character was certainly complex.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

Yes, comparing every new suspenseful novel with a female narrator is going to backfire on the publishers. Nothing can compare to Gone Girl and readers will just be disappointed. Not that the other books can't be good on their own merit and it sounds like this one is.

Maria said...

I liked the book too, but I'm still confused with the ending. If you wouldn't mind explaining it to me, please let me know and I'll give you my email address. Thank you!