An Anonymous Girl is one of those books that has been all over my social media lately. From rave reviews on Instagram, all the stars on GoodReads and chatter on Twitter, there was a real buzz about it. When I went to purchase it, my heart sank a little when I saw that it wasn’t due for release till 2019. I had straight up FOMO.
But, when St Martin’s Press sent me an eARC, I couldn’t wait to start it. I pretty much dropped everything stacked up on my to be read pile to dive into it. With all the hype, I was curious if it would live up to it and all I can say is, YES. Pretty bold claim but, with two months to spare, I’m declaring this my favourite thriller of 2018. So what makes this book so great?
Let’s start with the plot. Jessica is a struggling freelance makeup artist in New York, working for a brand named BeautyBuzz. They are like Uber except you’re called to make someone over. When she turns up at a clients apartment – two party girls – she overhears one of them talk about an experiment being run by a psychiatrist that pays $500 an hour but, her client talks to her friend and shrugs it off, declaring that she’ll probably be too hungover to go. Jess manages to get the information from her client’s phone and turns up to the address the next day. Her client from the night before doesn’t show up, as predicted and Jess is enrolled in the experiment. She is subject 52. At first, it’s a computer asking a series of questions judging her moral compass. Jess completes it but is summoned back again and soon finds herself being paid handsomely for her answers. But just what has Jess inserted herself into? Why does Dr Shields keep inviting her back?
Soon, Jess is asked if she would extend her participation in the study with the promise of generous compensation. Needing the money more than ever, she accepts but finds herself tangled in a game of psychological cat and mouse. She is gripped by Dr Sheilds hold and slowly, becomes wary of what she is asked to do. What is this study really about?
“We all have reasons for our actions. Even if we hide the reason from those who think they know us best. Even if the reasons are so deeply buried we can’t recognise them ourselves.”
Alternating between two different points of view – Jess’s and Dr Sheilds – the book makes for a rollercoaster of a read. Just when you think you might have sussed it out, another subtle twist comes along, and you soon discover that no matter what you believe, the book is always ten steps ahead of you – reeling you in to think you know exactly what is coming when there is more in store.
The reason why this has claimed the title of my favourite thriller of the year is that it’s completely addictive, unputdownable, electrifying and very, very smart. You are constantly kept on your toes, curious throughout and want to know the truth. The pace is perfect. The twists don’t sneak up on you but perfectly timed to help build the right level of curiosity. Usually with thrillers, when the twists are slowly mounting, I get frustrated, but the writing style in this book had me so impressed throughout.
I devoured this book in two sittings because I was desperate to find out the truth. With the last book I read having a disappointing ending, I was hoping this one would leave me satisfied and it did more than that. I loved it. It was perfect.
I haven’t enjoyed a book of this genre the way I have with An Anonymous Girl in a very long time. I’m kicking myself for having not read Hendricks and Pekkanan’s first book, The Wife Between Us. This has now climbed its way to the top of my to be read list so I can get another fix from both these authors.
An Anonymous Girl is due for release in the US on the 8th of January 2019 and for those of us here in the UK, we need to wait until the 7th of February. A huge thank you to St Martin’s Press for sending a copy of this my way.0