Published by Simon and Schuster on May 12, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Source: NetGalley, Read in 2015
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?
Welcome to my new feature Up Late With Kate where I share the latest midnight read that keeps me reading past the witching hour! Light that candle, grab a chair, and prepare to read all night!
This is an odd book. It’s funny, but crude, and I have no clue where it’s going.~ from my first Goodreads status update.
This book is not what it seems. I wasn’t really feeling it at first, Ani was cold and hard, funny but often offensive.
On the surface this book seems Gossip Girl glossy and Sex in the City snarky. But there is something dark and disturbing underneath as Ani’s past is slowly uncovered and the horror of privilege and entitlement that overwhelms a grasping girl from the wrong side of Main Line.
A of the third way into the story everything starts to make sense. As the layers are pulled back and TifAni is exposed, the book takes on a much darker and ominous tone. A book that started off feeling like a dark Gossip Girl/Devil Wears Prada story instead morphs into a young girl desperate to fit in, groomed by her social status obsessed mom, with tragic results. Even though I can’t relate to Ani’s (or her mother’s) need to find validity through name brands and street addresses (although I guess it is a bit like scoring the most sought after arcs from Netgalley?), I understood completely Ani’s need to have achieved the dream career and dream fiancee- to show the world that she is worthy. At least, worthy in the super happy Facebook status updates that show us only winning kind of way.
By the time the big reveals start to happen, I was completely hooked on Luckiest Girl Alive. I didn’t want to look away, not even for a second. I don’t want to spoil the plot in anyway, but this is so not a book about a young woman snagging the big magazine job, the hunky and rich fiancee and appearing on television to show the haters her success. The reasons she is going to be on television, the struggle behind how she got from high school to where she ends up at the end of the book- that’s what this book is about.
Is it a perfect book? Not quite. There were a few things that never really got resolved or explained (Ani’s penchant for rough sex, but not really wanting it, but yeah, kind of wanting it, to wanting a man that could hurt her but won’t… just left me confused). But for a character that I didn’t really like very much in the beginning, I ended up being Team Ani by the end. My absolute favorite moment had to be a particular character being truly exposed for the vile being s/he truly is.
I have to say this is one of the more unique books I’ve read in a long time, and if I arranged my shelves according to genre, I’d be at a loss as to where exactly this one fits. Which, I have to say, I love about Luckiest Girl Alive. I’d definitely recommend this book to my friends that like their books a bit (or a lot) gritty and mysterious and mind-effingish. That’s totally a word, by the way, even though my spell check is denying it. My advice, if you give this book a read, is to be a little patient with it. Sit back and take it in, because it is not going where you think it is going.
Trigger Warnings: rape, violence (with and without guns) and eating disorders abound. Of course books where characters have eating disorders just makes me eat more. It’s like if the character starts contemplating the calories of toothpaste I have to counter that by eating Chipolte or gelato. It all balances out that way. In my rear end. Sigh.
Luckiest Girl Alive gets a Midnight Book Rating of: