Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
My Rating: 3 stars
“People are motivated to break their moral compasses for a variety of primal reasons—survival, hate, love, envy, passion, Dr. Shields wrote in her notes.
Jess is a single 28 year old struggling to keep her head above water and to make enough money to pay her bills and still be able to send some money home to help her family. She’s relatable and flawed, but also focused and disciplined; she has a penchant for a bit of risky decision making, and I found myself liking her right off the bat. Jess’s focus on needing money is what makes her take up the opportunity to participate in Dr. Shield’s study, and we find out that money is one of her main motivators early on.
The whole book had a constant tension while you were waiting for the other shoe to drop, and there was an atmosphere of unease throughout. When we were given a bit more information about what was going on, we were still unaware of how many events originated from the study Jess was participating in and how much was reality, so it was hard not to be paranoid right along with Jess.
“How do you know if you can really trust someone?” I finally ask.
“If you need to ask that question, then you probably already know the answer.”
I did have a couple complaints: first, the story got a little slow and the pace was stilted at times, and secondly, there were a few times where Jess made decisions that I couldn’t rationalize. Sometimes it seemed like the only decision a reasonable person would make was obvious, and Jess made the opposite one. There were all kinds of psychological manipulations and games going on, though, so I can cry to understand the stretch that the author made when having Jess deal with everything in certain ways. Then there was the overall plot and its revelations; it seemed like the story as a whole had some glaring issues and strayed quite far from believable territory at times.
The author did a great job of jumbling everything up and blurring lines, and it was super hard to keep track of who knew what, what was a lie, and when someone was saying what they really felt or if they were pretending. You had to keep track of the timelines, and you never knew when a narrator was being reliable or not. Some other books in this genre become outlandish in order to stand out, and this book didn’t fall prey to that pitfall; it kept me interested without becoming totally implausible. But, as I mentioned earlier, the pace did drag at times and the story could have used something more to spice it up. Overall, this was a quick read that kept me generally entertained and was interesting enough for me to not feel let down at the end.