The owner of my local bookstore recommended this bestseller when she tried to show me something lighthearted and I said “I like dark books.” I got what I asked for!
TifAni FaNelli, who goes by Ani in adulthood, has it all by appearances. A job in NYC in the magazine industry, a very wealthy and handsome fiance, a tiny physique, access to trendy clothes, and a bright future. We quickly learn that these appearances are HIGHLY orchestrated by our unreliable (and frankly, very unlikely) main character. Ani suffered a trauma in her posh Main Line, PA private school at the hands of more reprehensible characters, and she’s spent her adult life distancing herself from her past.
This is very dark and twisty in the spirit of Gillian Flynn novels as Ani’s past is revealed. Whatever there’s a trigger for, this book is a trigger. But I couldn’t put it down! The teenage villains are pretty one-dimensional…they’re just awful and I don’t really know why other than the fact that they are spoiled rich kids. But some of our other (still unsavory) characters are fleshed out in a way that makes their trajectories crystal-clear…with their parents, their traumas, their brains, their paths are true to character.
I LOVED the reveal of the title.
“The Shark”. Poor Beth. But what a subtle way to let us know what kind of main character we’re getting with Ani. Even a girl she’s friends with is given a dreadful (and hilarious) nickname.
Every.single.person. failed Ani. Yes, it was 14 years ago, but there’s one scene that seems to be reaching a bit as far as a systemic failure.