Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Title: Luckiest Girl Alive
Author: Jessica Knoll
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Synopsis: 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?
Book was provided by the publisher, but in no way affects my personal views on this novel.

"He imagined the future I could have before I even wanted it for myself, and he was the one to push me toward it. That’s faith. Growing up, I thought faith was about believing Jesus died for us, and that if I held on to that, I’d get to meet him when I died too. But faith doesn’t mean that to me anymore. Now it means someone seeing something in you that you don’t, and not giving up until you see it too. I want that. I missed that."
Pleasantly surprised by this novel. It's easy to say that I enjoyed this for the most part, due to the fact of me staying up late into the night to read the last hundred pages or so, because I needed to know how this resolves. I came across many opportunities to read this book in the past, drawn in by the title and cover, but for some reason I never did. I'm so glad I finally gave this a chance.

I think the general consensus surrounding this novel is that many people go in this novel expecting some sort of chase or murder mystery. Being compared to the likes of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Luckiest Girl Alive is bound to be perceived that way prior to reading. I just realized all these titles have 'girl' in it, is this a new fad for thriller novels? But anyways if you go into this novel, try not to expect any of the aforementioned things because that is not what you get.

This novel focuses on TifAni FaNelli. A plucky twenty-something who finally achieved her long aspired dream of having a great career, perfect Manhattan zip-code, and engaged to a very wealthy husband. Ani has struggled hard to get to where she is and puts on many facades for the people around her, including her husband.

This novel alternates between present day Ani, in anticipation of her wedding, and flashbacks to highschool freshman Ani at the prestigious Bradley highschool, where she receives countless humiliation and what occurs there is what she desperately tries to dislocate herself from now.

What I enjoyed most about this novel were the back and forth passes between the past and the present. Seeing both teenage and adult Ani, in rotating chapters felt conversive and seemed to flow into this novel. Not once did I feel a choppy break.

It was quite interesting to read about a highschool setting in an adult novel. usually this is young adult territory, but seeing the main character in highschool is essentially the crux of this novel. Giving it an almost Mean Girls feel. I will admit that it was quite surprising to enjoy this novel as much as I did, while really hating a majority of the characters in here.

I understand it's highschool, kids are mean. But these kids were downright malicious and cruel. And Ani is no saint herself. In her desperate need to fit in, she tries to assimilate herself with the popular crowd. There are times where she stands on the sidelines, absorbing herself in this crude behavior, and learns things that soon have an impact and become crucially evident in adulthood. Even in her adult life, she still sometimes constantly judges people which I understand many people found annoying.

Despite that there was a part of me that liked Ani, the further I read into the novel. She is a self-determined person, who doesn't fear against speaking out against what's wrong, which is something you can see she struggled with in highschool.

I will trigger warn you that there is a rape that occurs in this and is a core part of the events that occur, so it is prevalent.

There is a lot of lessons that Ani takes from her past experiences and the people she meets throughout her life, which forms her into the person she is today and the decisions she makes.

Personally I found many of the twists surprising, but what makes this a four star rating is that the ending felt a little flat for me, and was also kind of confusing.

I'm not one to get excited for movie adaptations. Actually hate almost all of them, but that's another story. But I'm actually looking forward to the adaptation of Luckiest Girl Alive starring Reese Witherspoon.

While reading I could vividly picture may of the events happening, which would translate really well to screen. I really hope they do this novel justice, as it was based off events that the author personally experience. And I greatly commend her for that.

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