Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

*Warning- this novel is definitely Rated R. There’s a lot going on here.*

I was at the library and didn’t know just what to read, and nothing was jumping off the shelves. Cue Pinterest.com for my “To Read” board. I wanted something thrilling, and this was recommended as one to read in the last 5 years. So, I hunted it down and checked it out.

It took me less than 48 hours to read this 350 page book because it sucked me in and I just couldn’t stop. I had to know what happened next, had to understand the chaos that is TifAni FaNelli’s life. There were many plot twists, many “Oh my Gods” and much internal debate on how I felt about the main character. Did I like her or not? I’m still not sure, but I know that by the end, I understood her so much better than in the beginning.

Ani (ahh-nee, as she explains many times) is working through her check list for the perfect life. The cosmopolitan job, the dreamboat man, the expensive flat in Manhattan, the designer clothes, the blue-blood life… Check, check, check. But of course, there’s more to Ani than what meets the eye. She’s hiding her true self behind it all, putting on a show so that TifAni FaNelli would forever be buried in the past. I expected this much at the beginning, that the main character was putting on a charade, but the plot thickened and I got a better understanding of why.

Flashback to her freshman year of high school, where fourteen year old TifAni is transferred to an elite prep school, Bradley. Determined to make a fresh start after being cast out of her last school, she starts to work her way into the popular crowd. Predictably, the popular crowd isn’t easy to get into and trouble ensues once TifAni joins them. Enter plot twist number one, where young TifAni has too much to drink and the popular boys take advantage of her and gang rape her. It’s a serious and terrible twist, but the author made it easy enough to guess that these boys weren’t trustworthy, and therefore were going to do something awful to TifAni. However, following the aftermath of this looms unpredictable plot twist number two, and there’s no way I’m going to spoil that shocker for you.

As present time Ani flashes from her current life to her past life, she reveals the difficulty she’s had moving on past her tragic youth. Knoll, the young author, did an excellent job creating this complex character, despite some stereotyping. My only other demerits are that there were some unclear jumps between past and present in between paragraphs, and the ending left me feeling deflated. It almost felt like Knoll put the ending out of order, that it should have gone before the climax of the plot. But it did leave the reader wondering, “Will Ani ever get her happy ending?”

I would definitely recommend “Luckiest Girl Alive” if you were looking for a gripping read, one where you can get lost in the story. I don’t think I would reread, but knowing that this is Knoll’s first novel, I’d be very interested in seeing what she comes up with next.

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