{Review/Giveaway} LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Luckiest Girl Alive
   I inspected the knife in my hand. 
   "That's the Shun. Feel how light it is compared to the Wüsthof?"
   I pricked a finger on the blade's witchy chin, testing. The handle was supposed to be moisture resistant, but it was quickly going humid in my grip.
   "I think that design is better suited for someone of your stature." I looked up at the sales associate, bracing for the word people always use to describe short girls hungry to hear "thin." "Petite." He smiled like I should be flattered. Slender, elegant, graceful–now there's a compliment that might actually defang me.

(Page 1 US paperback edition)

“Sometimes I feel like a windup doll, like I have to reach behind and turn my golden key to produce a greeting, a laugh, whatever the socially acceptable reaction should be.” 


I've found that when I venture out of the YA section, my taste in adult fiction tends to heavily circle around psychological thrillers. In my mind, they are a version of mystery that leave so much wiggle room and opportunities for the author to truly surprise you. It's been a long time since I read a book that ACTUALLY made me gasp out loud. Jessica Knoll wraps you up in a character who only seems to get more cloaked in questions the further you get into the storyline.

What you, the reader, are certain of right from the get-go...is that TifAni FaNelli is a committed liar. First person narration gives us an intimate insight into the character's mind, and we get to hear all the snarky opinions she keeps to herself so that her outer veneer is shiny and perfect like she needs it to be. She confesses to us, honest about the fact that she lies all the time, that she needs this shiny and impressive outer shell to feel validated...to feel safe. Her names change throughout the book, variations and nicknames, which prove to be symbolism of the fact that Ani has never had a particularly strong sense of self. She's spent most of her life trying to reinvent herself to be whatever she thinks will get her respect and adoration. Her personality comes through with acidic and intelligent views on the world around her...she frequently refers to herself as rotted, a soul gone bad. There are moments where she blatantly admits that her choices are fake, that part of her is exhausted by the mask cracking against her face...but something in her needs it to prove to herself and the ghosts of her past that she is worth an upscale New York lifestyle and a jealousy-inducing fiance.

The mystery aspect of LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE comes as the narration weaves between past and present, all culminating towards a mysterious documentary that Ani is preparing to be a part of. Knoll makes the twists and turns of this ride unexpected, to say the least. There was a moment at the halfway point where I thought "Hey, I  get this character now. The big dark question mark just got answered and the suspense is gone now, isn't it? What's the rest of the book going to be about?" And then the plot grows, it gains depth you didn't expect, absolutely knocking your socks off and making your heart bleed for Ani's journey. Suddenly the mystery is no longer about how or why this woman has become someone so desperate for a secure and admired existence. The real mystery becomes the question of whether or not her psyche can handle seeing this plan through to the end...and what is the documentary about? What pieces of her past have we the reader not been informed of already?

When these questions get answered they build a big reveal that touches raw and human issues that make the reader connect with the characters, but also with the topic of trauma and healing in general. And that is a mystery in and of itself...the whys and hows of healing, trying to rebuild yourself and move forward even though you are irrevocably altered by your experiences. These are questions that don't necessarily get answered, but they serve a better purpose as a platform to start discussions about topics we don't cover enough in society.

Does TifAni unravel, or does she get the picture perfect ending she wanted? How many dark secrets is she hiding in her perfectly kept closet? More importantly, how much are you going to rave about the instances of foreshadowing and symbolism that that hit you in the face as the plot unravels? You'll have to pick up a copy of  THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll and find out yourself.  


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: R ( Comments about sex; including sexuality, acts of consensual and non consensual sex are peppered throughout the story. )
Language: ( There isn't an overt amount of cursing per se, but language about sexuality and sex is present, as well as phobic language.)
Violence:  ( Sexual violence and physical violence is present.)
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover is immediately catching and yet simple. The title itself holds such significance to the book, more than you realize upon first inspection, but it's the rose I love the most. Ani's story is filled with references to spoiling, rotting, her "romantic" ventures thorny and blackened. The imagery of the dead rose links in perfectly with the above, it's a mental image that keeps pushing to the forefront of your mind as you read. To me, that's a powerful cover, one that stays with you throughout the tale and has a presence of its own.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Jessica Knoll
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Received: Purchased


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 fiancé, 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 Alive explores 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?


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