Will ‘An Anonymous Girl’ Stalk You into 2019 Thrills? (Book Review)

An Anonymous Girl book cover

A story of obsession and control, An Anonymous Girl will chill you to your bone and leave you pondering its intricate and dark characters.

Book: An Anonymous Girl

Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publishing: Jan. 8, 2019

Pre-Order Link: https://static.macmillan.com/static/smp/anonymous-girl

Stars: 4/5

If you’re into screwed up marriages, twisted sociopaths and brilliant stalkers, then you’d better grab a copy of An Anonymous Girl when it publishes on Jan. 8, 2019. Because this psychological thriller from bestselling authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen will give any lovers of Gone Girl, The Widow, or Girl on the Train their fix.

The Storyline

An Anonymous Girl begins by following Jessica (friends call her “Jess”)—your typical poor, young makeup artist living in New York City. Like many struggling artists in The Big Apple, Jess has secrets from her past she doesn’t want to face, which makes finding a relationship a tad difficult.

When the opportunity for some easy cash practically falls onto her lap during a makeup session one day, Jess signs up for a mysterious study on morality from the esteemed Dr. Shields. But as Jess becomes Subject 52, she begins to learn this study isn’t what it seems and now she’s in so deep, she’s not sure she can make it out alive.

What I Loved

The story’s pace is so fast—with its short chapters and cliffhangers—I found it hard to put down (even when I was exhausted from a long day at work). An Anonymous Girl switches point-of-view between Jess and Dr. Shields, which adds a layer of psychological depth to their newly forming, toxic relationship.

I don’t go for cheap thrills, instead preferring story arcs that allow me to understand a character’s motivations. I want to know the why and An Anonymous Girl delivers, developing a complex, fascinating and terrifying villain in Dr. Shields. In the end, you might find yourself empathizing with this cold, calculating doctor.

What Needed Work

I wanted more punch from the end. The story’s intensity developed so well, but the end wasn’t as strong as the buildup. It wasn’t ­bad, per say; in fact, the final note still completed the story nicely and gave me a sense of satisfaction. It just wasn’t enough.

The Final Note

A story of obsession and control, An Anonymous Girl will chill you to your bone and leave you pondering its intricate and dark characters. This is a strong book, a quick read—and I promise, it will be worth your time.

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Is ‘Wildchilds’ by Eugenia Melian the Wild Ride it Should Be? (Book Review)

Wildchilds Book Cover

Book: Wildchilds

Author: Eugenia Melian

Publisher: Fashion Sphinx Books

Published: Sept. 20, 2018

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Wildchilds-Eugenia-Melian-ebook/dp/B07GXZS2H7

Stars: 2/5

This was my first choice for my first NetGalley Advanced Reviewer Copy (ARC), so trust me when I say, I really wanted to give this debut novel more than two stars. The story was good, and I can tell it was deeply personal for Author Eugenia Meliàn. Unfortunately, Wildchilds was not executed well, like reading a proofread first draft rather than a final product.

The Summary

Here’s the deal with Wildchilds: it’s a story about the dark side of the fashion industry, a #MeToo coming out for a sector that has yet to acknowledge its dirty secrets.

Wildchilds concentrates on Iris, a former Paris model now living in a sort of exile with her teenage daughter, Lou. When Iris’s former lover—who is also the father of Lou—dies, she’s forced to return to Paris to secure his photography estate for her daughter. In doing so, Iris must confront the hidden demons from her past and the trauma she endured as a model many years ago.

Great concept, right? Ms. Meliàn is a former model herself and a veteran agent in the fashion industry, so she gives the reader a real inside look into the profession. However, once I began to read, the story took a turn for the worse.

The Fall

The transitions between points-of-view (POV) and timelines were choppy. At certain parts, Ms. Meliàn transitioned from a third-person POV on one character, to a first-person POV from a completely different character within the same paragraph. Other times, she did not include paragraph breaks, chapter breaks, or character labels when switching POV, creating a sense of daunting confusion for the reader.

Often, her dialogue was shallow or repetitive, slowing the story’s pace. Frequently, she’d spend several paragraphs describing the physical attributes of something—a person or a setting—but skirted over the types of important, profound emotions, backstory, or narration readers crave. Her writing usually told, but rarely showed.

The result was a feeling of disconnect, of a story that dragged, of one-dimensional characters. This book had so much more potential.

The Hope

I do believe Ms. Meliàn has it in her to turn this novel around and create a magnificent piece of work. Her ability to write well with deep suspense and intensity shone through from time to time, especially during a pivotal confrontation between the main protagonist and her dark antagonist. I would encourage Ms. Meliàn to seek out a strong structural editor who can help to hone her craft and work this book into one that would touch many lives.

As it stands now, however, I cannot find it in myself to give Wildchilds more than two stars. I do hope that changes one day.

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