An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is a wild ride from start to finish! A must-read.
I have an interesting relationship with thrillers. Sometimes they are exciting and other times I feel story choices are made for shock value. Another aspect that bothers me with some thrillers is when the women are helpless or just evil for no reason at all. So as a result, when I start a thriller, I’m always wondering which direction it will go—a good path or a disappointing one.
Well, let me say from page one of An Anonymous Girl—I was all in! The authors had previously released the bestseller The Wife Between Us, which has received so much acclaim! As a result, there were high expectations for this one, which they have exceeded.
The story follows Jessica Farris, a struggling makeup artist in NYC. On a whim, she agrees to be a test subject in a psychological study about ethics and morality. But as the study moves from the exam room to the real world, the line between what is real and what is one of Dr. Shields’s experiments blurs. Dr. Shields perfect image is well-crafted and while at first it seems she has Jessica’s best interests at heart, it starts to become apparent that lines are being crossed. Caught in a web of attraction, deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
There are two different perspectives: the first-person present of Jessica and second-person of Dr. Shields. I loved the authors wrote in this style. With first-person present, the action is immediate—we experience events as Jessica does, which makes for an exciting and even more thrilling read because the reader has no idea where the story will go. And it was interesting to present Dr. Shields’s viewpoint in second-person. This is where she analyzes Jessica’s behavior at the time and gives her own perspective as well. A very effective combination that builds up suspense and intrigue.
Without giving away spoilers, where we meet Jessica at the beginning is very different from the end. I really felt we got to know her and she’s a well-written character with a solid arc. She’s loyal to her family but has plenty of secrets—both things she’s done and also being a victim. Before she decides to participate in Dr. Shields’s study, she’s almost living in a fog of sorts. When she starts therapy with Dr. Shields, she finally reveals her secrets but soon learns that there is a cost to working with someone like her.
Dr. Shields is quite complicated and just when you think you understand her motivations—a curve ball is thrown. I loved the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the two.
Twists, twists and more twists
I love a thriller that is full of surprises! There are so many out there where you can guess where the story is going from almost the start. Not this one. I’m telling you there are legit surprises. Thrillers are hard to review in a sense because I don’t want to give anything away. But let’s just say women in this story are smart, strong and have a couple surprises up their sleeves.