The cover caught my eyes first. In combination with the summary and the short excerpt I could read, it sounded very promising. And when I got the news, that I was among those lucky few who could read the German edition upfront before the book´s actual publishing day, I was happy. But not every bestseller from the New York Times bestseller list is made for me. Unfortunately, it turned out, that Luckiest Girl Alive couldn´t make me happy. I am not sure if it is average for me because of the main figure, the plot itself, or the way how the book was written. But in the end, it was only an average read for me.

Luckiest Girl Alive
by Jessica Knoll
Translation Kristiana Dorn-Ruhl
Publisher LYX on August 31, 2018
Genre Novel
Pages 411
Format Paperback
Source Publisher

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.  
Tifani is not happy. She despises her mother, has no real good relationship with her father either and at school, well that´s a whole other story. Her schoolmates, some of the boys especially, treat her like she´s an easy-to-get-girl and soon it turns out, that she´s made the biggest mistake of her entire life. She gets raped and after that, her life isn´t only turned upside down, but the aftermath turns out to be fatal for Tifani´s future.

I liked the writing style, the author has, that is for sure. It is fast-paced, contains a huge amount of cynicism, irony, and sarcasm, and shows the main figure who is full of doubt, fears, complex, and without any self-esteem. So far, so good. What I didn´t like was, that the main figure soon turned out to be a woman who wasn´t able to move on. Tifani never processed what had happened to her during her first half-year at the prestigious school she was so eager to go. Not what happened during that first-party or afterward. Instead, she turned into a woman who tries to be someone she isn´t. Her desperation, her lack of self-esteem, her hunger for money, a meaningful name, and a man who can protect her is at first irritating for the reader because you get thrown into the presence of the novel and Tif´s past without any upfront information. It took me a while before I was able to see the pattern behind it all. 

It was also sad, that this novel is missing any depth. The plot stays sketchily, and the figures are very one-dimensional. Sure, you get to know who the bad persons are and somehow why they did what they did, but nothing more. I found that very sad because of the way the story went you can´t avoid having questions. Questions the author never answered.

Usually, I don´t mind reading about women who have a successful career, some wealth, and who found a man who is handsome, rich, and loves them. But when that main figure plays a role, does everything to be someone else and in fact, is full of self-doubt and needs to uphold a facade at any cost, even her own well-being, then I am out of it. I just don´t see a point why a woman has to starve herself almost to death only to fit into a certain dress for one day only. Tifani starts to become bitchy and wonders why her fiancé isn´t so happy about the way their relationship has turned into. And reading her real thoughts about him, and what she would like to do to him – hello?! 

Luckiest Girl Alive wasn´t really my book. Some parts of it I enjoyed reading, and the style of how it is written is almost the best. But the rest? Not enough to give it a higher rating. And if you´ve got some issues with rape and a school massacre you better don´t touch it. Otherwise, it might be a good read for you if you like to read about an ungrateful girl and woman who bites everyone around her.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by LYX in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first.

*This book was originally published by Simon and Schuster on May 12, 2015 

Jessica Knoll
Jessica Knoll ©Lesslie Hassle

Jessica Knoll is the New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive, which has been optioned for film by Lionsgate with Reese Witherspoon set to produce. She has been a senior editor for at Cosmopolitan and the articles editor at Self. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her bulldog Beatrice.  


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