An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen: Book Review

An Anonymous Girl  by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Published: January 8, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
384 Pages
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From Publisher: When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.  Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

My Thoughts: I’ll admit, every now and then I really let myself get swayed by all the hype surrounding a book as was the case with this one. It’s everywhere.  Going against my instincts and the fact that I don’t really enjoy psychological thrillers, I decided to give this a try. The verdict: I’m glad I read it so I don’t have to wonder if I’m missing out BUT my instincts were correct – this wasn’t the book for me.

The blurb tells you all you need to know about how Jessica gets involved with Dr Lydia Shields. From the get go, I wasn’t really into the psychological study aspect. I found it strange and unbelievable. I have no problem suspending my disbelief, but for me, this entire plot was just TOO unbelievable. Maybe it’s because I have a background in psychology but the Dr’s in this book were so far out of the realm of realistic, I just couldn’t be on board with most of the plot.

As for Jessica, I would say she was the most developed character but I would’ve liked more character development with everyone overall. Around the 50% mark I started to enjoy the cat & mouse that developed when Jessica finally started to take matters into her own hands and stopped being so passive when it came to Dr Shields and another character. The story is told through alternating perspectives of Jessica and Dr Shields; however, Dr Shields speaks in the second person for her sections – as if she’s talking directly to Jessica – I wasn’t crazy about this technique.   This very much boiled down to a story of  manipulations, lies upon lies, and who’s really the dangerous one. For me, I found it to be too drawn out (I skimmed here and there) and ultimately predictable.  However, the very reasons this wasn’t for me are the reasons so many are loving this (especially if you love psychological thrillers), so I highly encourage you to head to Goodreads and check out some of the many 5 star reviews for an alternate opinion.

Thanks To St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review

 

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REVIEW: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR By Sally Hepworth

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Publication March 6, 2018 By St. Martin’s Press

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

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Desperate Housewives meets Big Little Lies in this page turning domestic suspense drama! This is my first time reading Sally Hepworth but it definitely won’t be my last as I enjoyed every last page of this book. I have to say, I wonder if I enjoyed it so much because she tapped into the underlying thoughts I have as I take long nighttime walks in my neighborhood….what’s really going on inside all these houses? I can’t be the only one out there who waves at my neighbors, says hi here and there, gets together on each other’s patios in the summer but occasionally wonders how well I really know them.

Sally Hepworth has done a magnificent job of deconstructing the idiosyncrasies of suburban living and families, especially the lives of mothers with young children. Although my kids are older, I can remember those days so clearly and the way she weaved those details in with the secrets and drama of each family was perfection. The story revolves around the lives of four women – Essie, Ange, Fran, and Isabelle- and boy are they keeping secrets…big ones, little ones, and bombshells!

I had no idea what was happening and at one point I realized I needed to stop trying to figure it all out and just enjoy the drama. This book was so well paced that I felt like I flew through the pages, staying up late into the night to find out how it would all unfold. No spoilers here but I will say there were surprises galore!! Were a couple of them a little predictable, yes, but the others were superb…I love it when I can say I didn’t see that coming…or that. This would make a perfect book club book as well as a fantastic must read for your summer TBRs…if you can wait that long to read it that is:)

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for my copy