An Anonymous Girl
Authors: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
To Be Published: January 8, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 10-24, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
I absolutely loved Hendricks’ and Pekkanen’s first collaboration together so much that I was anticipating their second. Unlike The Wife Between Us, An Anonymous Girl did not deliver. The premise is intriguing and makes you think, but otherwise the novel is not believable at all. I can’t say much in detail without giving spoilers. And the protagonist’s name is Jessica!
There are two points of view that alternate throughout the novel: Dr. Shields and Jessica’s. Dr. Shields’ POV came off disconnected while Jessica’s POV was intriguing and I found myself rooting for her. Dr. Shields is a therapist and maybe that is why the POV was the way it was, but for me it was to the detriment of the novel.
In the beginning where Jessica starts answering the questions for the study as Subject 52, I found myself thinking about what my answers would be and what I would do. Could this be because I am also Jessica? Well, my personality is not similar to the Jessica of this story. I would not do some of the things ‘Book Jessica’ did.
As the book progresses it becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game between doctor and Subject 52, and it’s not believable at all. I found myself rooting for Jessica and did not know how this story was going to end.
Though not for me, I will read future collaborations between Hendricks and Pekkanen. Definitely give their first The Wife Between Us a read!
Many thanks to St Martin’s Press for sending me an arc copy to read and review!
Title: Life After Death: An American Family Book Two
Author: Jackson Baer
Narrator: Dan Carroll
Published: November 5, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 15-19, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
The Childs family faced the unthinkable… now they have a second chance.
The Childs family has endured a terrible tragedy, but the FBI’s shocking discovery has turned their lives upside down.
His kids have all moved on from the death of their mother, as has Isaac from the loss of his wife, but now that the FBI has finally solved the case, the Childs family must face the loss of Ramie all over again.
Each has their own relationships and their own lives, but all are upended due to unforeseen circumstances. As they maneuver these new lives, they must deal with love, heartache, and jealousy as a family, and the choices they face will not be easy.
Their decisions bring out the best in some… and the worst in others.
Life After Death is the second and final book in An American Family series that follows the Childs family. I reviewed An American Family here. Life After Death picks up shortly after An American Family ends. I would recommend having both books to read sequentially, as An American Family ends a bit abruptly and I was ready for more story with the Childs’ family.
Life After Death deals with Isaac again and also more with his kids Olivia and Carter. As mentioned previously, all of these characters have many flaws and they have to deal with the aftermath of a terrible situation. If they had been perfect before, they would have been far from it after the fact!
This is a series where you cannot say much in the review without giving spoilers away, but it is just an average read for me. Yes, every family has some kind of tragedy, but for the Childs family the tragedies kept coming and became more extreme: This makes it less believable and also predictable as it became a “yep, this is going to happen next” kind of read for me.
Though predictable, I did enjoy the read. The psychology of the family experiences and how they coped kept me intrigued.
The narrator, Dan Carroll’s voice sounded similar to John Goodman to me.
Many thanks to the author Jackson Baer who sent an audible copy in exchange for a review.[Top]
Author: Cammie McGovern
Published: November 10, 2015
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Neither of us is exactly living the dream. But we’re living something and that’s more than either of us expected this year.’
In A Step Towards Falling, Cammie McGovern tells a poignant, compelling story of not judging people on appearances and knowing how to fix the things you’ve broken.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing – until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.
Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a centre for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
I really loved McGovern’s book, Say What You Will. So, when I saw another book by the same author on sale, I snatched it up! I wish I could say that I love A Step Toward Falling just as much, but I can’t. Unfortunately, in trying to make the story and circumstances believable, McGovern actually made the story more frustrating than anything else. When Emily and Lucas didn’t say or do anything for Belinda when she was attacked, the principal and “discipline committee” make it sound like they are just as bad as the attacker. I absolutely do not agree with that. We all know that teens are idiots; they’re immature children trying to act like adults. Society has this wonderful habit of changing its tune to fit whatever its narrative is at the time. I don’t mind the community service punishment, it’s just all the dramatics of calling a disciplinary hearing and requiring the kids to defend themselves that felt “kangaroo court-ish” to me.
McGovern was trying to salvage some likability for Emily and Lucas, but didn’t adjust the plot accordingly. For the record, of course it was wrong for the kids to just walk by without intervening; both Emily and Lucas acknowledge that very quickly. But one thing that McGovern is excellent at is portraying disabled people with empathy instead of pity. I liked all of the disabled characters in this book. I liked the way we can see into Belinda’s mind with clarity and realism. It’s a great way to look at her as a person as opposed to a label. Emily and Lucas were so sweet and redeemed themselves perfectly. Overall, I enjoyed this book. All that annoyance I felt at the beginning of the book, dissipated relatively quickly. This is actually a pretty good book for teens to read, with a little discussion. As I said with Say What You Will, learning the perspective of others is never a bad thing. A pretty good read!
Amazon US This post was created Saturday and when I (Jessica) was looking up the links on Amazon- I saw the paperback was just $4.19, so I grabbed a copy! You can’t loose at that price!!!! Hopefully at posting the book is still cheap!