Synopsis from Good Reads:
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.
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?
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
Luckiest Girl alive will be available May 12, 2015.
I think the synopsis of this book makes it sound much more intriguing than it is. There aren’t really any huge twists and the ending didn’t pack the punch I was hoping for.
Ani has done her best to rise from her somewhat humble upbringing to become one of the rich, sophisticated women she’s always admired. Marrying a successful Wall Street-er who comes from old money is the ultimate prize to clinch the life she’s always wanted for herself and to shut up the naysayers that don’t think she deserves it. The only problem is that it’s not making her happy and living the lie is getting exhausting.
For about half the book there are references to an event from Ani’s past that made her infamous, an event she’s always tried to overcome. There’s a documentary being made about said event and Ani agrees to be part of it so she can finally share her side of the story. The story is told in alternating past and present sections that slowly (very slowly at times) clue us in to what happened. While the event was indeed quite tragic, it wasn’t as surprising as I was expecting it to be.
Ani was not a likable character. Perhaps because of the comparison to Gillian Flynn, I was expecting Ani to be kind of a psychopath, someone I could love to hate. Failing that, an unlikable character that was at least sympathetic. However, for most of the book I just plan didn’t like her. She was mean and self-centered and catty. She went through some pretty horrible things as a teenager, but she was such a stupid, stupid girl, too caught up in popularity and showing very little empathy for anyone else, that all I could feel was sad for her. But not in a way that made her a sympathetic protagonist I could root for.
The supporting characters, including her fiancé and best friend, were also unlikable. The teenagers she was so desperate to be friends with were awful with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The one bright spot was her old teacher, Mr. Larsen. He was kind and caring and protective. Even though he had a few moments of weakness, he ultimately remained the good guy and I was glad for it.
I know it sounds like I hated this book, but that’s not the case. It’s true that the first half or so of the story I had to make myself keep reading (and only did so because it’s an ARC), but once we got to the actual event, it became a much more compulsory read. The pace picked up and was about more than Ani’s goal of anorexic thinness and her disillusionment with her fiancé. I did keep expecting for there to be some sort of crazy twist, though, and was a little disappointed that there wasn’t.
Overall, this book was ok for me. While the start was hard to get into, it definitely got better as the story went on. While the ending wasn’t what I was expecting, it did end up painting the main character in a more favorable light and I can appreciate the growth she went through.
Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars