Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl AliveLuckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

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 fiancΓ©, 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 read this in a day, basically overnight and I must admit, it was the page turner I suspected it would be when I first heard about it. I think I entered every giveaway for this that I saw and didn't win one, so of course, I bought a copy and then waited until all the chatter died down to read it. I've never read Gone Girl but I do have to say that this reminded me a bit of Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum and also Those Girls by Lauren Saft. The former because TifAni (srsly, wtf was the reason for this spelling?!) had that self-loathing and frankly, mean, woman thing going on that I've been running into a lot in books. And the latter because we also follow a thread of TifAni's fourteen year-old self who was already well on that path. Come to think of it this also reminded me a bit of Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford because of the whole tony private school & sad social climber aspect.

To be fair to TifAni, she has a lot happen to her in this story that is supposed to explain who she is when we meet her (spoiler removed). It didn't quite. I mean, yes, they were terrible things but her nastiness was so unwarranted, often misdirected and she was so adversarial (to people who weren't even thinking of her that way) that I just didn't much sympathize with her. Still, I wanted to know what would happen to her and overall, I was satisfied with how she ends up at the end.

The other characters in the story were fairly flat and I still don't know what her best friend Nell sees in her (or the other friend Moni). I don't even know much about Nell that isn't superficial. The fiance of course is not in love with the real TIfAni because she's subverted her true self so much that he's never even met her. And what TifAni sees in the fiance is so superficial as to be tragic. The parents are ciphers. But TifAni does value name brands and boy does she give us a run down of plenty of them. It just painted her as that much more pathetic that she couldn't find value in herself or people but she did in trappings that still left her empty. A lot of these things occur I expect because she seemed a bit of an unreliable narrator.

I have to give the author credit in all the home hallmarks I noticed while reading the story. I've fond memories of Peace A Pizza, Y100 and The Court & The Plaza and many other things given a shout out here. The Philadelphia/Main Line aspect was one of the reasons I wanted to read this one and I wasn't disappointed there. So, I would recommend reading this as it's a quick one and not a bad way to spend a day. 3.5 stars.

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