After a Lenny Letter revealed that many of the events in Jessica Knoll‘s debut novel were autobiographical, all eyes turned back to Luckiest Girl Alive. I can’t say it’s a novel I would have picked up without the hype, but I’m glad I did. Knoll’s story winds so tight that it explodes in an utterly satisfying way.
In the two years since its publication, Luckiest Girl Alive has garnered plenty of comparisons to Gone Girl. While it’s true that Knoll’s protagonist, TifAni FaNelli, has the same acerbic wit as the infamous Amy Dunne, the style here is much more American Psycho meets The Devil Wears Prada. Ani’s a middle-class prep schooler whose family comes across as hopelessly uncouth in the presence of her WASP-y fiance and prep school friends. Her observations on twentysomething culture and upper crust snobbery are laser precise, sure to generate more than a few wry laughs over the course of the novel.
Luckiest Girl Alive delivers on its promise of a dark story. One terrible night in 9th grade snowballs into a series of catastrophic events that leave Knoll’s protagonist in the lurch. By the time the novel opens, Ani has rebranded herself with an enviable career, fiance, and secure future. What happened to her in prep school continues to fascinate the country, however, and she’s agreed to take part in a documentary to clear the air. But Ani’s participation might lead to the destruction of everything she has worked hard to build.
Knoll’s novel ends on a triumphant note, the light at the end of an incredibly dark tunnel. It’s a cheer-worthy conclusion that makes every bleak moment in Luckiest Girl Alive worth the read.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.
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Image Credit: Manfred Moitzi