Book Review: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
My rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ (4 stars)
Publisher: Wildfire

Juliette, known to some as Elizabeth, to others, Lily and to just about all, certifiable, has a Plan of Action (or more correctly, Attack) and she means to procure her quarry. It's not just her ex-boyfriend, Nate she's after, it's their life she's creepily dreamboard-ed and mapped out her Happily Ever After. This story is a cautionary tale from everything Facebook to Pinterest.

This book stressed me out while reading. There was a great sense of foreboding as the story advanced and I was sure there was going to be some mid-flight incident or someone would be rendered permanently damaged. It happens that someone was but not who I was worried about, so that was a nice surprise. Juliette's propensity to slip into people's homes while they were away made me more nervous than anything. I worried she'd be caught out but I wanted her to be caught out. It kept me on edge reading and I was always expecting huge fallout upon discovery. The way things played out surprised me in part and by book's end, I wished there was an Epilogue because I really wanted to know, six months on, what's life looking like for Juliette and Nate?

As the story is told completely through the POV of Juliette, I didn't get much of a sense of the other characters. It's impossible to know if her unreliable narration has them looming too large in her mind to be even halfway accurate so they were of very little impression overall. Bella was the one I wanted to know about most in a more real way but there aren't even ways to really get to know her through Nate. That they're siblings felt more like a plot necessity than anything real shown between them in characterisation. That's not to say that Nate, Bella and Miles don't display bad behaviour and carelessness with others' feelings as they do. But it is not things so out of the realm of what is likely normal carelessness that most people accept as general crappiness and write off and move on from when on the receiving end. Juliette doesn't or is incapable of the latter. Also, I felt that the real heft of Juliette's family scars are brought home in the last third of the book. Before that, it's clear things bothered her but it's never delved into in a way that added much depth to the patina of Juliette's damaged self.

I recommend this if you're a fan of psychological and domestic thrillers. I don't know when/if this will be released in the US but I'm glad I bought my copy sooner than later. It was a great summer read and while I'm not heading off for vacay until August, this is the sort I'd have blazed through during a day at the beach. I will definitely read another by Karen Hamilton.

Summary: Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She's even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.
They are meant to be.
The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she'll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.
True love hurts, but Juliette knows it's worth all the pain...

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