Monday, September 19, 2016

The Perfect Girl

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
HarperCollins: 9/6/16
trade paperback; 464 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062476760

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan is a highly recommended psychological thriller.

Zoe Maisey is a 17 year old musical prodigy who was involved in a car accident when she was 14 and living in Devon. She was driving the car that crashed, resulting in the death of three of her classmates. For her actions, Zoe served nine months in a rehabilitation facility. Her parents' marriage ended, so when Zoe was released, her mother Maria moved them to Bristol to start a new life. Maria remarries and she and Zoe have kept all the details from their past a secret from Maria's new, wealthy husband, Chris Kennedy. Now Zoe has a baby half-sister, Grace, and a step brother, Lucas in this "second chance family."

Lucas also plays the piano, so Maria has planned and publicized a public performance for the two. This is meant to signal the new start her life and set her life on the path her mother has chosen. During the opening number, however, the father of one of the accident victims interrupts the performance, yelling that it is a travesty and a disgrace for Zoe to be there. In a panic, she runs off the stage and she and Maria head home, leaving Lucas to continue his portion of the event with his father, Chris. Zoe wants her mother to tell her how they are going to explain the interruption of the concert to Chris? Six hours later, Maria is dead and there are even more unanswered questions. Zoe has learned plenty of lessons from her past. Will any of them help her now?

The Perfect Girl is a very compelling novel. The plot kept me glued to the pages and held my attention to the end. All of the characters are well developed and clearly defined. Part of the explanation for this is that the narrative is told through several different characters and from their perspective. The narrators, who tell the story and the backstory, include Zoe, Lucas, Tessa (Zoe's aunt), Sam (Zoe's attorney from her earlier case), and Richard (Tessa's husband). The multiple viewpoints is used very effectively here; the unfolding stories explain background and slowly expound on the facts and clarify what really happened in the past and the present. The truth is rarely clear and everyone has secrets in this family drama. It appears that Chris and Lucas were also keeping secrets from Maria and Zoe. All the members of this "second chance family" have been walking on tightrope since the beginning - and now it is all unraveling.

I did question two things about the plot. First, I questioned the choice to have the character of Sam, the attorney, as a narrator. While he told a part of the story, his presence never felt natural to me, and I questioned his other reason for being part of the story. I guess I would have looked for another way to tell that part of Zoe's background. At the beginning I also questioned why Zoe was given the car accident backstory. I accepted the thought processes that lead to it, but still thought it could have been accomplished in a slightly different way with the same results.

All in all, though, this was a great novel that I thoroughly enjoyed why overlooking my few questions. 4.5 stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC for review purposes.  


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Having multiple narrators gives so many different perspectives to a story. I usually enjoy getting in the head of more than one character like that.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.