Monday, December 17, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: An Anonymous Girl

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Melissa Amster:

I've always been a fan of Sarah Pekkanen's writing and have enjoyed seeing her foray into psychological thrillers by partnering with Greer Hendricks. Since I couldn't put down The Wife Between Us, I was excited to read An Anonymous Girl. Their sophomore novel did not disappoint and it was even better than their debut!

The story had me on the edge of my seat and kept me guessing the whole time. There is an element of mystery and many surprises along the way. The fact that Dr. Shields narrates part of the story adds to its intrigue.I felt a kinship with Jessica, even though she is a lot younger than I am. Her answers to the questions were interesting and it made me wonder what I'd say when faced with the same kinds of questions.

My only concern was that the ending felt a bit anticlimactic after all the buildup. However, it was still good and resolved some of the problems that were brought up throughout the story.

Sarah and Greer are a great writing team and I look forward to many more thrillers from them.

Movie casting suggestions:
Jessica: Lorenza Izzo
Thomas: Michiel Huisman
Lydia: Rebecca Ferguson
Noah: Scott Eastwood
Lizzie: Lucy Hale

Jami Deise:

Like Melissa, I’ve been a fan of Sarah Pekkanen’s since her first book, drawn by the Montgomery County connection and support of women’s fiction. While I really enjoyed her first collaboration with Greer Hendricks, The Wife Between Us, I think the pair really hits it out of the park with An Anonymous Girl. I read many offerings in the domestic thriller genre, and Girl stands out with its originality, characterization, and tight plotting.

The story is told in alternating parts from Jessica and Dr. Shields’s points of view. Right away, Jessica signs up for the study under false pretenses, and as she answers questions about sex, lies, and betrayal, the reader can’t help but answer those questions for herself. While Jessica is nearly an open book to the reader (she has a secret about her sister’s brain injury that comes as no surprise when it’s revealed), Dr. Shields is much more of an enigma. Her manipulation of Jessica is a masterclass in puppetry. The therapist’s true agenda is revealed slowly and carefully; while I first questioned her logic, as the novel progressed it became obvious why she did everything exactly as she did it. At the same time, Jessica is no angel… but her portrayal is so well-rounded and human, the reader roots for her even as she behaves selfishly and makes mistakes.

The ending is a masterpiece, bringing together all the elements of the story and revealing just how much Jessica has learned from Dr. Shields. While there is a tiny nagging plot hole that occurs late in the story, overall the climax feels completely earned and totally justified.

While An Anonymous Girl will appeal to thriller fans, it will also find common ground with viewers of the NBC sitcom, The Good Place. Even though the former is a mystery and the latter a comedy, both works deal with the deeper questions of morality, ethics, and what humans owe other humans. Sometimes these questions inspire people to try to be better. In other cases, it gives them the tools to wreak havoc.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have one copy for a lucky reader!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends December 23rd at midnight EST.


Janine said...

Adopting our new kitten Lulu made me happy.

Linda May said...

I moved back to my hometown of Chicago after living in Indiana for 14 years with my husband. Two years ago I lost him to Kidney Cancer & I don't drive so I didn't want to be dependent on other people to take me around. I put our house up for sale & luckily enough it sold in 3 months & I was able to move back & I'm now close to my son & I can get around on buses, trains & metra, I love the freedom. Thanks for this generous chance, the book looks amazing.

traveler said...

Happiness occurs for me everyday when I can spend precious time with my grandchildren which is meaningful and wonderful.

kstar said...

Just got to see my son graduate from college yesterday. So a very exciting and a great way to end the year with the holidays.

ArtemisG said...

My best friend returned back to our hometown. We are neighborhoods now.

Raffle name: Artemis Giote

Mary C said...

My nephew's wedding.

John Smith said...

"Tell us about an experience that made you happy in 2018." Listening to audiobook CDs of the "Hell Divers" series. I was swept away to another world full of man-eating mutant plants and animals, and it was a delight!

Mary Preston said...

I got a clean bill of health from my doctor.

RD said...

Having a great summer with friends!

Jennifer said...

I went away for a weekend with a friend and we just read books and drank tea and it was so refreshing!

bn100 said...


Dianna said...

I spent a few days with my mom, brother, and his kids over the summer. It was great to reconnect.