NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Zoe and Maria, mother and daughter, finally have a second chance at a happy family life when Maria marries Chris Kennedy. Chris has a son, Lucas, from his former wife (deceased) and now Chris and Maria have a new baby girl they've named Grace. The "Second Chance Family" is calm, reserved, and behaves perfectly -- though Maria and Zoe have a secret they've kept from Chris and Lucas. When Zoe was 14 she was driving a car full of school friends who died and she has completed her sentence and they have put their past behind them -- but they lie by omission. When Zoe is outed during a piano concert (she's a music prodigy), their carefully created facade starts crumbling. The family returns home, Zoe was so upset that she couldn't finish, so Lucas played on alone (yes, he's a prodigy too). Everything falls apart that night and Maria ends up dead. In this domestic drama, the reader waits to find out who killed her.

Sometimes having alternate points of view is illuminating and essential to the story and at other times, like in this novel, it just hampers the progression of the narrative with lots of extraneous detail that is probably meant to give the reader insight into the characters and paint a more dastardly picture of the killer. The pace was rather slow, and I am sorry but I really despised the conclusion.  There was such limited honestly by all the characters that I had no empathy for any pain they might have experienced because I do not feel that the lies and secrets met any criteria for ends justifying means. I can't say I liked Zoe and definitely am not a fan of how it all resolved -- too unbelievable and pat.

I got this book from the library because I had enjoyed Macmillan's debut.

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