banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

BOOK REVIEW: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

| 20 June 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

June 2015
Paperback, $29.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



TifAni FaNelli.

A google search will reveal variations of both names, but none with that particular capitalisation. The unusual capitalisation of the main character’s name, of both of her names, succeeded in pulling this reader out of the story every single time it was mentioned, followed by the line of thought to try and figure out why it was done.

Did the author think the reader was so stupid that they wouldn’t see how the character had decided to go by Ani (pronounced Ah-nee, rather than Annie) when she left high-school? Was this a choice to show that her name was pronounced Tifahnee, and if so, why did she have to explain the way Ani was pronounced when she bumped into people who had known her while she was at school?


The awful, awful character name aside, this was a more enjoyable read than not.

There’s nothing particularly bad about the writing, and it deals with some pretty serious issues like rape, bullying, and eating disorders. It deals with the way girls are raised, the way they’re guilted into thinking that rape and assault are their own doing, and they’re selfish and cruel if they say no:

“I’m really cold,” I protested even as I gave into it. I swallowed when I felt Dean’s wet lips on mine. Just for a little bit, I thought. You only have to do this for a little bit. Don’t be rude.

It deals with the way people around the victims of assault see them, including their own parents:

“Oh please,” Mom snapped. “I was in high school once. You don’t have a body like TifAni’s and go to a party with all boys and drink too much and not know exactly what you’re doing there. TifAni knew better. She knows what this family’s values are.”

It deals with trying to figure out if the path you’ve chosen for your life is still the one you want, or if you’ve just been following it because it’s what’s expected of you:

I know I shouldn’t fall into the old trap that I’m not someone, that I haven’t really “made it,” until I have a ring on my finger. Fucking Lean In and all that. I’m supposed to be better than this, a more confident independent woman than this. But I’m not. Okay? I’m just not.

It also has its share of funny and poignant moments, of friendship, and growing up, and finding your place within the crazy crush of high-school. It makes observations that don’t hit the reader completely until sometimes days later, but it is a little flat when it comes to emotions. 

The story bounces back and forth between TifAni’s high school days and Ani’s preparations to marry Luke Harrison, a man from old family money who doesn’t know the real her; between the traumas of her past that have contributed to her inability to connect with people, and her attempts to work out if she should be going through with the wedding or not; back to yet more intense trauma, and forwards again to the anniversary of one of these awful events, as a documentary is being made about her time at the school.

Despite all the dramatic situations, all the highs and lows presented, it was a little hard to relate to the main character and to completely lose yourself in the story. It was missing a certain oomph, something to make it stand out from the rest, but at the same time it defies being classified because it tried to be too many things at once.

This could be in part because Ani made a point of not letting anything at all get to her, of telling the reader how she thought other people should feel in the situation and how she didn’t feel that. It could be all the mentions of brands that she or the people around her were wearing, and how she distanced herself by looking down on every single person she met. It could even be a sign of post-traumatic stress after all the horrible stuff that happened to her when she was a teenager.

Whatever it was, it lead to a read that was interesting enough, but not compelling, not one that demanded the reader return for another chapter, especially when the character was sure you make another stupid decision in said next chapter.

Overall, this was an alright read but nothing mind blowing, and the characters could have been a lot stronger and more individual. But I will be keeping an eye out for further books by this author, and hoping the characters have less annoying names.


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad