Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Luckiest Girl Alive Book Cover by Jessica Knoll
Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!

This month's book pick is LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll. An interesting read since it walks the fine line between adult and YA fiction.  The protagonist is a 28 year old woman but spends half of the novel as her teenage self. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Aliveexplores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. 

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

First Line:

"I inspected the knife in my hand." 

This first line invokes so many questions.  Why does she have a knife in her hand?  What does she intend to do with it?  It sets a dark intention and tone and gives us insight into the protagonist.  She is one that is meticulous and pays attention to the objects and people around 


The surprise turn of events is definitely the highlight in the novel.  Without giving away too much, the event helps the reader to understand the character at a deeper level and to feel a level of empathy and understanding of why the character is who she is at the end of the day.  It turns what could be an unlikable protagonist to once that is complex and layered. 

Notes for Writers:

The writer has done a very good job of presenting a single protagonist's story using two distinct time periods in her life.  She deals with very serious issues in a way that does not appear flippant or irresponsible but impacts the way the protagonist has chosen to live her life and feels authentic to the suspense/thriller nature of the novel. 

One interesting highlight is the effective use of marketing for the novel that has propelled it to the New York Times Bestseller's List.  While the book is strong enough to stand on its own, the marketers have created buzz around the launch by tying it to recent successes such as Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL.  There are striking differences between the two books and it's questionable how similar they really are, but regardless, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE has definitely benefited from these comparisons.  

A Good Read For:

Anyone who likes a good YA suspense/thriller with older characters and a touch of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS/GOSSIP GIRLS.

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