Thursday, November 6, 2014

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll - a rare 5 star read

What They Say.....In a riveting debut novel that reads like Prep meets Gone Girl, a young woman is determined to create the perfect life—husband, home, and career—until a violent incident from her past threatens to unravel everything and expose her most shocking secret of all. Twenty-eight-year-old New Yorker Ani FaNelli seems to have it all: she’s a rising star at The Women’s Magazine, impossibly fit, perfectly groomed, and about to marry Luke Harrison, a handsome blueblood. But behind that veneer of perfection lies a vulnerability that Ani holds close and buries deep—a very violent and public trauma from her past that has left her constantly trying to reinvent herself. And only she knows how far she would go to keep her secrets safe.

When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, she hopes it will be an opportunity for public vindication. Armed with the trappings of success—expensive clothes, high-powered byline, a massive engagement ring—she is determined to silence the whispers of suspicion and blame from her past, and prove once and for all how far she’s come since Bradley. She’ll even let them film her lavish wedding on Nantucket, the final step in her transformation.

But perfection doesn’t come without cost. As the wedding and filming converge, Ani’s meticulously crafted facade begins to buckle and crack—until an explosive revelation offers her a final chance at redemption, even as it rocks her picture-perfect world.

What I Say....Wow.  This was such an unique book. 

When I finished it, I opened it up Goodreads and gave it 4 stars.  But I couldn't stop thinking about that night and into the next morning.  After I found myself spending my whole shower thinking about this book, I realized this book was really a 5 star read for me.  And I don't give 5 stars often.  

I think initially I gave it 4 stars because through the majority of the book, I didn't like any of the characters, including Ani.  And by the end, I only felt a slight thaw towards her, but it was better than my original disdain.

The story weaves between Ani's carefully cultivated New York image, and her embarrassingly middle class teen years in Philadelphia, raised by a distant father and a social climber mother.

As you follow her story, you see that the perfect life that she is attempting to build herself isn't making her happy, but she doesn't really seem interested in being happy.  I found Ani's emotional void to be one of the strongest themes in the book.

From the beginning, Ani refers to the incident that happened to her in high school.  And I thought I knew where it was going, but I was completely taken off guard when it finally happened. 

I calmly read this line, "I was thinking, how strange that it's blond, baby thin, when the hair everywhere else was coarse and dark, when Dean went sideways in the air. Why is Dean jumping?"
and then everything changed, even for me, the reader.

I don't want to discuss this book in any more detail because I think that if you know too much, it really would spoil the experience of this book for you.

I would really like to hear what other readers think of this book.

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