The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

imageOnce upon a time, Ani (pronounced Ahh-nee not Annie) was TifAni, a teenager who desperately wanted to fit into the high school her parents couldn’t really afford to send her too, even after “the event that changed her life”. Now, she could afford to buy the school – or at least her fiancé Luke could – thanks to his old money roots and job in finance.

Ani worked hard to find a man like Luke, and her job at a top women’s magazine (with it’s access to high fashion clothes she could never otherwise afford). She still works hard – dieting, exercising, maxing out her credit cards, and pretending to be someone she’s not. All for a ring on her finger, and a need to escape a past she is too embarrassed to face. That is until a TV crew approach her to make a documentary about.

Despite Luke’s objections she agrees to take part because it will allow her to show everyone what she has become, that she is not the girl they thought her to be. Who that girl is is unclear. I thought she was a mean girl – she is a mean woman so it made sense – but it’s more complicated than that, and darker than I expected.

The cover of this book says for those who liked Gone Girl (yes, another one!) but I can’t see it myself. This isn’t crime fiction and only a little bit of a thriller or suspense. More than anything, it is a book about a woman finding her way back from a series of events no one could have predicted and which changed her whole life, not for the better. I liked this about the book.

I wish I could have liked Ani as much but I just didn’t. I understood why she was the way she was but I could find nothing redeemable about her. She was nasty to everyone, including herself. And, as a smart woman, I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t ever sought help to fight her demons. As the main character and the only voice you hear, this made it hard to read at times, especially as the other characters are under developed.

This means I liked but didn’t love the book. It wouldn’t stop me reading another book by Jessica Knoll though or recommending the book because, as a debut, it’s still pretty good.

Emma

7 comments
  1. This sounds like it has potential even with the issues. It does bother me when an otherwise intelligent character doesn’t do something that is screamingly obvious. My library has this one on audio so I think I’ll have to give this a try.

    1. It does have potential. And it’s a debut and I know it’s not an excuse but maybe a reason for some of the character developments. I wonder what it will be like on audio hearing Ani’s voice all the time…I can’t quite imagine it.

  2. I’ve been curious about this one. Sounds a lot less like Gone Girl than I thought. Still, I’m intrigued!

    1. I get so tired of Gone Girl comparisons – I know they make people buy books but it feels lazy.

  3. I was pretty much the same. Ani was too difficult to like and I struggled to understand what was so bad about her life that she’d become like that.

    1. It’s a shame really. But then I remember it’s a debut and not all debuts can be perfectly gripping…

  4. […] The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, a good – if not great – debut. The story was a good one but the characters needed to be a little more developed for me, including the central character, Ani, who I struggled to not really dislike. […]

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