Book Review

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Release: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster



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?

We’re introduced to Ani FaNelli on the first page. She’s important at her job, she’s engaged to someone important, she just tries to be important and influential. Then we’re introduced to TifAni FaNelli, normal high school student trying not to fade into the crowd, normal high school student trying to be everything her mother wasn’t. The journey she takes from TifAni to Ani is filled with pain but she doesn’t let that stop her from moving past her small town existence.

With everything Ani dealt with, she lets it mold her until she’s untouchable. She feels that with the right job, the right fiancé, the right image, no one will ever find out about TifAni and what she hides.

When we start, we learn that she’s apart of documentary involving something that happened in high school, and through an alternating perspective of current Ani and past TifAni, we slowly learn of what made her the woman she is today and how she’s letting it rediscover what she wants versus what she needs.

Ani is … a character. She’s a bitch, she knows it, and she exploits it. She’s one of those women who probably uses the word frenemy too much in normal conversation. Ani hides from her fiancé what happened to her in high school, changing her emotions to better suit his needs.

The writing is something typical to an adult novel. It seems a bit technical while still trying to relay a story. It also has it’s subtle hints of sarcasm and annoyance, a simple way of making Ani more human and it works for her. A look inside her head is like viewing two different people, one constantly wearing a mask and one too scared to let the real world in.

I had some issues while reading this one. Of those being the Big Secret she keeps. It was off how easily she was able to move on. Weird how she just accepted it, let it become apart of her to be accepted. Then the other thing, the reason for the documentary – that was the only time she seemed human, she seemed real, trying to survive that. I know people handle things differently, people aren’t copied to have the same emotions, but her emotions seemed forced and wonky, a bit weird for the situation at hand. Typically, there’s a breakdown later, a moment when what really happened affects her, and it just seemed to roll off of her like she were waterproof. I might just let my own experiences cloud my judgment, but it seemed odd.

I did hear this was being turned into a film and I think that would be a better way of telling the story.

I originally picked up this book because I noticed the author was coming to my local bookstore for a reading and signing. During this, I may have insulted Jessica Knoll by putting my awkward foot in my awkward mouth, but I’m slowly learning not to dwell on that.


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