Margin Notes: Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive 

by Jessica Knoll


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 Aliveexplores 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?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but didn't love it.

It's received a ton of comparisons to Gone Girl and I think they're unwarranted. Just because the main character is unlikable and there's a bit of a mystery does not a comparison make. I'm not a Gone Girl fan, but I can recognize that it was well-written (though I'm not a huge fan of the plot device that was used). This book just isn't well written. This book isn't as completely nihilistic as GG. Luckiest Girl almost has a women's magazine tone to it. And the voice in general is less interesting.

Luckiest Girl is basically about a private school girl who is now a women's magazine writer, she wants to be upper echelon NYC society (that she was exposed to as a private high schooler) and has a history. She's engaged to a guy who can make her society dreams come true and is planning their perfect wedding. While that is all going on, she's going to be interviewed for a documentary about "The Five" and you're not quite sure what that is.

The main character is pretty unlikable, but not quite as burn-everything-to-the-ground as Amy in Gone Girl. Ani is not the sociopath that Amy is. There's a lot of brand-name dropping, private-school hierarchy talk, mean girl inner conversations in this book. All of the social climbing aspects of her character felt disingenuous to me. It just didn't ring true so I had a hard time with it. There was little to no emotive experience in this book--Ani is pretty one note--she's just always viciously judging other people inside her head. It gets repetitive at times.

I actually most liked the flashbacks when Ani is in HS. Those characters seemed to be alive on the page where as none of the modern day characters do--not Ani, not her fiancee, not her bridesmaids or mother or coworkers. The HS characters is this book is redeemed (though I think some characters could have been combined to good effect--the HOs, some of the boys...) Ani gets kicked out of her parochial school and is sent to a private school where she enters into the world of old money, crazy names, back stabbing, and social climbing. She has an English teacher she loves, starts to do track, makes some friends, and tries to get into the social scene of HS.

(view spoiler)

Worth it if you need a plane read or something like that, but certainly not memorable or anything I'd actively recommend.

Side note: Was her name really TifAni? That is so mean. I couldn't stop loathing that name in the book--who randomly capitalizes letters in a kid's name? Especially when her last name has rando caps as well. Yikes. 

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