Title: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 350 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
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?
Luckiest Girl Alive is an extremely intriguing debut novel by Jessica Knoll. This very compelling story is centered around twenty-eight year Ani FaNelli and the traumatic events that occurred fourteen years earlier. Ani has worked very hard to leave the past behind, but it quickly becomes obvious that she has been less than successful when her perfect world begins to unravel when she revisits those painful experiences from her childhood.
As an adult, TifAni has re-invented herself as Ani and she is living a perfect life. She has the perfect job as an editor at a popular woman’s magazine. She is engaged to the perfect man whose pedigree will catapult her into the elite and wealthy lifestyle she so desperately craves. Thanks to her wealthy fiancé, Luke, Ani can afford the designer clothes and accessories that she yearns for and she has tailored her speech and manners to match those of her future in-laws. With her wedding date fast approaching, Ani is desperate to shed a few extra pounds and she is taking dieting to a whole new level.
As Ani, she is superficial, unlikable and unsympathetic, but her memories of her childhood as TifAni make it easier to understand her behavior as an adult. Slowly over the course of the story, flashbacks reveal what TifAni endured during her first year at the prestigious Bradley School. Eager to fit in, TifAni is slowly accepted by a group of popular students but ultimately, their friendship is what destroys her.
When Ani is offered the opportunity to tell her side of the story for a documentary, she jumps at the chance to vindicate herself once and for all. Luke is not at all in favor of her participating in the film, and the first crack in their perfect life grows out of Ani’s resentment of his disapproval and lack of support. Ani’s return to her small hometown dredges up all of those dark memories she has tried to forget and when the whole story emerges, it is even more horrifying than previously imagined. Ani gets a measure of peace from confronting her past, but will she still fit in the perfect life she has so carefully crafted for herself?
Luckiest Girl Alive is a bit slow-paced in the beginning but once it picks up speed, the novel is impossible to put down. Jessica Knoll expertly weaves past and present into an unforgettable story but what stands out the most is how skillfully she redeems Ani FaNelli into a likable and sympathetic character that readers cannot help rooting for. All in all, it is a suspenseful read that is well worth reading.