Title: Anonymous Girl
Author : Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 01/08/19
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.
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This was one of my December Book Of The Month picks, which I grabbed without ever reading the synopsis. This dynamic author duo, who crafted the master piece of The Wife Between Us, is full of talent and I knew I wanted to read whatever other titles they released together, regardless of the subject of the content.
Anonymous Girl alternates chapters between Jessica’s point of view (the make-up artist who has signed up for an ethics/morality study) and Dr. Shields point of view (the psychiatrist who is conducting said study). Their tones are so very different–with Jess’ being more casual and laid-back, and Dr. Shields’ being more uptight, formal, and frankly…clinical. So you are really getting to, fairly quickly, see both sides to each story as the plot unfolds… but you are going to be missing some large chunks of backstory that will be very important, and that’s what you will find yourself page-flipping to find out more about.
The beginning of this novel is really very mild in the sense of thrillers–the most interesting pieces are the mystery of this clinical study on morality and ethics and getting to know our main characters. But a little less than midway through the novel, there comes a major shift where high levels of suspense, fear, and confusion are thrown into the mix– quickly becoming your traditional psychological thriller vibe!
While The Wife Between Us was a tough act to follow, I feel that Hendricks & Pekkanen have produced a very strong, entertaining sophomore installment to their work together. Anonymous Girl did not have the same major-impact twists and turns that I felt The Wife Between Us did though–they were a little more subtle. The resolution was fairly predictable for me, but the form of narration that the authors used made me question what I thought several times in the second half of the novel.
Overall, I would consider Anonymous Girl to be a must-read for those who like psychological thrillers, especially those that lean more on the domestic thriller side of the spectrum. While the narration was often at this cool, conversational pace, the novel ultimately read very quickly and I found myself yearning to get back to it when I wasn’t reading so I could see where the plot went from there.
Highly enjoyable and another major hat-tip to these two talented authors! I’m officially a dedicated fan and will read anything they release together!