Title: The Perfect Girl
Author: Gilly Macmillan
Age Group: Adult
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.
This is the first book I've ever read by the uber talented Gilly Macmillan, who made a splash last year with her debut novel, What She Knew. When I saw that she was publishing another book, a standalone mystery-thriller, with a multitude of secrets, deceit, and dark domestic drama, I just knew I had to order it from my local library. It's sat in the library stack, waiting for me to pick it up. Since my third renewal was my last, I decided to take a chance and read it--I didn't want it to go back, without having read it. And I was pleasantly surprised by The Perfect Girl.
Zoe, the main character, did something that she could never take back, three years before. The narrative goes back and forth in time, eventually catching up to the present events. When her mother is found dead after an explosive scene the night before, Zoe can't help but wonder if the killer wants something to do with her. As she frantically searches for the truth about her mother's passing, Zoe discovers that the murderer might be closer than she ever thought possible...
I'll start with the things I enjoyed. I loved the format of the book, which goes through multiple points of view. There's Zoe, the main character, her aunt Tessa, her Uncle Richard, her solicitor, Sam, and occasionally, her stepbrother, Lucas. However, the execution was the slightest bit sloppy; sometimes, when it was going back and forth, the narrative got muddled in my head. Despite it, though, it really lent an authenticity to the narrative. It gave it a lot more depth than I expected. The pacing was absolutely phenomenal--I couldn't put it down, even though I tried several times. I was constantly turning pages, spurred on by Macmillan's creepy, beautifully fraught prose, desperately trying to figure out who was innocent, who was guilty, and who lay somewhere in between.
I also really liked the characters, all deep and flawed and tangled in their personal dramas, but my absolute favorite was Zoe, the young woman who made a terrible and irreversible mistake three years prior to when our story begins. At times, I didn't like her throughout the book. At others, I found myself weeping for her in sympathy. I really enjoyed the way all the characters were fairly morally ambiguous--it made it that much harder to figure out, right up to the shocking and satisfying ending. Was it perfect? No, not really. But it was a really fun book, and it definitely won't be my last from Gilly Macmillan! Next on deck: Replica by Lauren Oliver!