Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 12, 2015)
Amazon Book Description: 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?
Reading Sara Review: Luckiest Girl Alive dealt with some heavy issues. Pretty quickly we find out that Ani (formerly TifAni, pronounced Ah-nee) is not as perfect as her life appears on the outside. She is definitely a bit disturbed and haunted by ghosts of the past. As the book continues, and switches from her days in high school to her current life (where she is busy planning her wedding, working at a Cosmo-esque magazine writing about sex, and talking about not eating), we learn what happened in high school that made her so troubled later in life.
I am not entirely sure how to write this review without giving away major spoilers, so this review will be relatively short. There are some pretty serious twists and turns, and this book is not for the faint-of-heart. It really pulls in some issues that we see in the media more frequently than we should – bullying, rape and other serious forms of violence. I read it quickly, not necessarily because every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, but because it was intriguing, I wanted to know how everything changed so quickly. I felt for Ani and the victimization that she went through and cheered for her to be heard and understood. This book has been compared to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train in terms of a “thriller” type of book – which I do not really agree with. I agree that it is dark in the same way. It does have quite a bit of mystery/intrigue/hate-able characters and you want to know how it all ends. However, this book deals with so many terrible things that it felt like too much.
In the end, we watch Ani come to some resolution in her life. She will likely always have an edge, an anger that cannot be helped, but she finds vindication through others, which hopefully helps her on her healing path. It’s a quick read, and if you like these type of page-turners, this one is definitely for you.
Wine Recommendation: Yeah, you are going to need a drink for this one (because of its intensity – if you can’t handle wine + intense reading then skip the drink on this!). I am even going so far as to recommend a wine cocktail: the French 75.
3 tablespoons of gin (if you don’t like gin, substitute vodka)
1 tablespoon of simple syrup
1/4 cup of dry white wine (preferably sparkling)
combine in shaker (all but lemon), and if you are feeling fancy, make the lemon peel pretty & top it in a champagne flute, if not feeling fancy – just put a drop of lemon juice in the shaker post-shaking. You won’t regret it. Unlike TifAni, who regrets quite a bit…