For the last decade, Tifani Fanelli has been working to reinvent herself. On the surface she’s got it all — great job, great fiance, a seemingly perfect life.
But just under the surface, events from her past still haunt her and attempt to shatter her seemingly perfect world.
To say more about what these events are would be to ruin several of the twists that Jessica Knoll sews in her debut novel Luckiest Girl Alive. When we first meet Ani (she drops the Tif), she comes across as a driven, slightly calculating and cold character. Asked to participate in a documentary about the events that took place at her private high school, Ani is determined to drop as much weight as possible and seemingly have it all before she appears in the documentary. Early on, it would be easy to dismiss her as a vain, spoiled child who is used to getting her own way. But Knoll wisely drops out nuggets of information from Ani’s past (in the form of alternating chapters in the past and present) to slowly begin to build understanding and maybe a bit of sympathy toward Ani.
Luckiest Girl Alive throws in a couple of well-earned curves that caught me by surprise. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Knoll would throw in a new nugget that sent the novel in an entirely different direction. Take my advice and don’t let anyone else ruin this one for you. Part of the fun is discovering what really happened — and wondering if we can trust Tifani as the narrator of the story.
I will also say that this novel may require some patience. I initially found Ani an off-putting narrator, but as the story opened up and revealed more about her past, it helped her grow on me a bit. Don’t be off-put by her early brashness. A little patience is a good thing with this one.
Knoll’s debut novel is intriguing and compelling enough that I am looking forward to seeing what she offers next.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.