Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: "The Perfect Girl" by Gilly Macmillan

The Perfect Girl Gilly Macmillan
Published: September 6, 2016
ISBN: 9780062567482
Genre: Thriller
Source: HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: The "Girl" Books (Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, etc), books about prodigies, books about blended families

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.
In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all. 

My Thoughts:
I don't think it is a secret anymore that "Girl" thriller books are a "thing" now.  I think that this is the 2nd such book that I've read in as many months!  However, I can't say that I'm bothered by this new subgenre--I haven't liked all that I've read, but I have enjoyed enough of them to keep me going.

The Perfect Girl is one of those that just worked for me, probably more than any other"Girl" book has.  I'm not sure that there is a one-size fits all formula for these books, but I do think there are certain things that I need, and this book delivers.

No matter what I'm reading, the characters are the most important aspect.  If at least the main character (usually the "girl") doesn't seem authentic, I just can get into the book.  This is probably the strongest aspect of this novel.  Zoe is a fantastic character and there is really quite a bit going on with her.  After serving time for a truly horrific event, she and her mother have to start their lives over and, soon, she finds herself in a "second chance family" when her mother marries Chris.  And, well, there are issues there--I'm doing my best not to spoil anything.

What I found most intriguing about Zoe is how her time in a juvenile detention center had so fundamentally changed how she sees the world. I mean, that is expected of someone in her position, but Macmillan conveys it so well that the reader, who has probably never had any comparable experience, can truly empathize with Zoe.

This book has a handful of narrators: Zoe's Aunt Tessa, Tessa's husband Richard, Zoe's father Philip, and Zoe's former attorney (and Tessa's lover) Sam.  Of these, it was only Sam who felt out of place.  I was surprised by Philip's appearance, but I also felt that he gave the reader an insight that only he could provide.  Tessa was by far the most interesting as, like Zoe, she had much more at stake in this entire situation.

I will say that the outcome of this book wasn't especially surprising, although I felt that it was well-executed.  I can see how that would be a stumbling block for some readers but, for me, the character development more than made up for any lacking suspense.

This book completely sucked me in and gave me the escape from reality that I needed.  This is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone looking for something that will entertain and provoke.,,and one that will stick with the reader long after the book is closed.

About the Author:
Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Find out more about Gilly at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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