Summer is perfect to not only catch up on your reading list, but give yourself time to stumble upon something unexpected. My favorite part about this time of year is going to the down-town Madison Public Library (MPL) and leisurely browsing their “Too Good to Miss” section. From best-sellers, to adaptations, to obscure picks, the dear MPL librarians never fail to maintain a revolving collection of books that includes something that will appeal to any literary appetite. The reason why I seem to always leave the library with more books than I came to return is because the “Too Good to Miss” section lives up to its namesake.
It was at this section where I stumbled upon The Perfect Girl. As someone who likes to brag that I read Gone Girl and Girl on the Train (by the way, what is it with thrillers using the word “girl” in their titles?) before they became super ultra best-sellers, I am always hunting for the newest thriller sensation. My guilty pleasure are books that include: mystery, unreliable characters, murder, messed up families with secrets, and plot twists. This title initially caught my eye with it’s dark cover and that at first glance I thought the author was Gillian Flynn (which begs the question: When will she bless us with another book?). Then I read the back and saw it was about: mystery, unreliable characters, murder, messed up families with secrets, and plot twists. Say no more.
With the sudden surge of books like Gone Girl, I can imagine that before long this sort of genre will become cliche and tired. For now though, I am one of many who are hooked on this type of novel. However, it presents a challenge to authors: it’s hard to take a troupe that sells but avoid your book being lost in the noise. The Perfect Girl didn’t seem to get great reviews on Goodreads, but I think it is the perfect summer book.
Very short summary: Music prodigy Zoe was involved in an unfortunate accident a year ago that broke her family and sent her to juvenile detention. Tonight she’s performing a concert with her new brother in law to try to get her life back on track. Little does she know by the end of the night, her mother will be dead.
Dum dum dum!!
Mystery/thriller lovers will see that this book takes a lot of strategies from Gone Girl. It is told in multiple perspectives, you aren’t sure who is a reliable character or not, there are a lot of family secrets, and everything is revealed in spurts. The paperback version is about 430 pages, but it took me only 3 days to read. It’s fast paced and has decent character development. My only critiques would be that the ending is somewhat predictable, and the character Sam (a police officer) didn’t really seem necessary to the overall plot.
While we wait for Gillian Flynn (hint hint Gillian!) to crank out her new book (right now would be great!), The Perfect Girl is a satisfactory thriller that will provide you with a few days of literary entertainment. Take it with you on a trip this summer, or as you sit by the pool.
What books are you reading this summer? Let me know in the comments!