Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I walked into Waterstones one day and all I could see were copies of this book piled everywhere. I must have picked up the book about ten times, read the blurb and put it back down. It sounded good – it really did – but I don’t like reading about upper-class characters. They just annoy me.

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.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

This book infuriated, moved, bored and captured me all at the same time – how that is possible, I will never know.

The character of TifAni FaNelli – or Ani, as she is known throughout the book – is a stuck-up snob that I absolutely hated. (Oh, and her name is pronounced Ahhh-neeee) She seriously got on my every last nerve and I was seriously tempted to not even finish the book, but I decided to carry on because I wanted to know what this big secret of hers was.

Luckiest Girl Alive is told from two different timelines. You have the present-day timeline where Ani is going through the motions of planning her lavish wedding and also filming a documentary about ‘that disaster’. Then, you have the timeline where she’s TifAni – her younger self (14 years old) and you see slowly over the course of the book Knoll building up the outrageous things that happen to TifAni whilst she’s at that younger age. 

“Moving on doesn’t mean you don’t talk about it. Or hurt about it. It’s always going to hurt.”
– Jessica Knoll, Luckiest Girl Alive

You could argue that the things that she goes through whilst she’s younger make her this cold-hearted, world-hating woman. However, because she’s this cold character for nearly all of the book, I couldn’t bring myself to connect with her so when I found out what happened to her when she was younger, sure I felt slight sympathy, I felt angry that she had to go through that but I wasn’t deeply moved. 

(It sounds really bad and I feel horrible for even saying that I hardly felt sympathy for her but I hated the character that much!)

I preferred the younger timeline because it was really nice to see Ani when she was young. Knoll also showed the side of high school that everyone fears: the cliques, the popular girls, the bullies, the peer pressure, the humiliation. TifAni went through things that no child should ever have to go through at school or in life in general. The moment that moved me the most was the ‘shorts incident’. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m on about. I felt horrified, I felt mortified for her and I just wanted to give her hug.

The things that frustrated me the most about this book was Ani’s mother (OH MY LIFE! SHE WAS A MONSTER!) and the ending: WHAT HAPPENED TO ANDREW?!

This book did have a lot of suspense throughout, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished the book. I think having the younger timeline helped this book massively. If Luckiest Girl Alive didn’t hav14-year-old TifAni, then I would have given this book one star. 

I do recommend this book purely for that younger narrative and even if you do hate the snobbiness of Ani, please stick it out because the secret that she has will shock you and leave your mouth hanging.

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