So there, guys, it’s Friday and the weekend is almost there! If you’re not sure what to read over Saturday and Sunday, than please take a look below at my review of “The Perfect Girl” by Gilly Macmillan – it’s my stop on the blog tour today and I am really thrilled to be able to tell you my thoughts on this controversial, hooking page – turner! Let me know what you think after reading it!
The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
Publishing Date: 22nd September 2016
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 464
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Thriller, Mystery
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.
“The Perfect Girl” is a story about Zoe, a very talented piano player who’s made one mistake that partly destroyed her life – she was convinced of killing three of her friends in a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol and sentenced to nine months in a rehabilitation unit. She was 14 then, now she’s 17, living with her mother, her second husband and his son Lucas, and a new half – sister Grace in a “Second Chance” family. Maria, Zoe’s mother, is desperate that her daughter comes back to living, hence the musical where Zoe is performing together with Lucas. However, during the performance, there happens something that shouldn’t happen and the whole past comes back to Zoe and her family, and ends in a tragic death of her mother.
The death of Maria happened relatively quickly in the story so the main question here was who has killed her. However, the same important thing is how this death has influenced all people involved – Zoe’s new family, her aunt and her husband, and that Zoe feels guilty, as she’s convinced that her mother’s death has something to do with her past. She’s also afraid that people, that her family will think that she was the one to murder her mother – well, she’s a murderer already, right?
What had me so interested in this book is the fact that it is set over a very short period of time, 24 hours to be precise, and I was incredibly intrigued to see how the author pulled it off. Yes, there were moments that it felt a little too flat for my liking, or not too significant, but overall, it was a very tense 24 hours, and the short chapters made the reading even more thrilling and gripping – it just felt as if everything is happening so quickly. However, I didn’t find it as claustrophobic as the author wanted us for it to be. But of course it is not only the 24 hours, there are flashbacks into the past, and they were very necessary for us to get to know Zoe and her history. I found myself totally immersed in the characters’ world, the author and her writing just drew me in and I had a feeling that I am a witness to all of this what’s happening.
The story is told from multiple points of view and it worked brilliantly in this book – they were very much needed for us to get a perspective and to get a chance to hear all involved. The characters are drawn in a brilliant way and they felt like three – D people, like breathing and real persons. I felt incredibly sad for Maria, as from what the author presented us she was coming up as a lovely, friendly, loyal person and devoted mother and she so didn’t deserve this what’s happened to her. I also had a feeling that the author sits deep in the characters’ heads and tells us their deepest thoughts and secrets – there were moments that I really felt like an intruder, especially when Zoe was concerned, as I had a feeling she doesn’t want us to know so much about her, that she’s ashamed and that preferably she’d hide somewhere – hats off to Gilly Macmillan for being able to write with such depth.
Even though the story is told through multiple points of view, I didn’t had a feeling that it’s chopped and it run seamlessly and effortlessly. The short chapters made for a very easy read and I had a feeling that I am getting all the needed perspectives, no matter if it was this of Zoe or this of Sam or Richard, who – we could say – had nothing to do with Maria’s death, but still it was significant and important what he thought. It just made the read much more complex but also much more expressive and interesting than for example writing it only in Zoe’s point of view.
Even with the dragging on moments, the pace of this story was fitted. The book has a well mystery going on – the who – killed – Maria – mystery, and as from the very beginning I was sure that there was no – one from outside involved, it made the reading even more intriguing. However, taking this one character as a killer would be too obvious and far – fetched for me so I started to guess who has done it, and reading the story further and further, through the script and flashbacks to the past, it only confirmed my beliefs. For a thriller the story didn’t horrify me so much and to be honest the ending didn’t come as a very shocking to me, yet I enjoyed it, even though I had my suppositions and suspicions and I was not completely wrong. What I liked though is that the ending was on a more thought – provoking side and it was left for the reader to judge for themselves and wonder if the decisions made were right or wrong. And also for a thriller it was more on the soft side, I think.
“The Perfect Girl” is a story about living the appearances, about publicly showing totally different face to this you have at home. I couldn’t help but cringe at the hypocrisy of some characters, about them thinking only about living for show, about always reminding other people they are worse than them, that they are living their Second Chance. The story deals with many various topics, such as domestic violence, abuse, infidelity, trust issues. It is perhaps not the most compelling and ambitious thriller of all times but an intelligent, complex read that made for a hooking and gripping page turner. It was a book written in a very incredible way, and I’ve no idea how Gilly Macmillan has done it, there is something so very hooking in it that makes you feel desperate to know what’s going to happen and keep turning the pages. It is a story full of secrets and lies. There is enough tension in this book and it just somehow feels so very authentic and is build in a very skilful way, until the truth is revealed. Recommended!
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