An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

an anonymous girl

As you may remember, a few of months back I finally gave into the hype and read The Wife Between Us. The first half of the novel had me completely hooked – I was so sure it will be my favorite thriller read for 2018. But then it hit a wall with the second half by being too much like The Girl on the Train! So while the internet was going crazy over An Anonymous Girl, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump on the bandwagon at first. However, now having devoured the book in two sittings, I’m glad the curious side of my brain won this particular tug of war against my skeptical side! 😀

In An Anonymous Girl, Jessica Farris is a twenty-eight-year-old who had moved to the bustling New York City to become a makeup artist. But before her career could take off in Broadway, something that happened to her had left her scarred, making her move out of the theater scene and join BeautyBuzz app company freelancing her services. It is how Jess meets Taylor, one of her clients at NYU who gets called for a psychology study during a makeup session. Knowing Taylor isn’t the kind of girl who’d bother to keep her appointment after a night of partying, Jess decides to take Taylor’s place in the study instead, which doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Jess thinks all she will have to do is spend four hours answering a simple questionnaire and get a handsome paycheck in the end. For Taylor, $500 the study pays is not be a big amount, but to Jess who is secretly taking care of some of the medical bills of her special-needs sister, this extra money is bound to go a long way.

Ironically enough, the study Jess sneakily signs up for turns out to be one about ethics and morality. Jess gets assigned a number at the beginning – she is Subject 52 – and all she is expected to do is answer the questions that would appear on her isolated computer terminal as truthfully as possible. But these aren’t easy questions – they are invasive and requires respondents to dig deep. Also since Dr. Shields, the principal investigator of the study monitors Jess through a one-way mirror, she isn’t able to get away with lying.

From the start, I was drawn to this unique, twisted tale. I would not have been comfortable with revealing my innermost thoughts to a stranger I’ve never met, however to Jess, money is a big motivator to remain on the study. So Jess agrees to one-on-one sessions with Dr. Shields, even when she has to comply with Dr. Shields’s bizarre requests. But by the time Jess deduces Dr. Shields’s motive behind her “real-life psychological experiments,” it might be too late for Jess to save herself!

An Anonymous Girl is a chilling thriller that kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. The narrative alternates between Jess and Dr. Shields. And oh boy, reading Dr. Shields’s chapters made me understand why Jess was so drawn to her! Dr. Shields is a successful individual in her field whose sheer presence demands respect, and she is everything a young girl like Jess aspires to become. Also, plot-wise the meticulous planning of Dr. Shields who radiates intelligence (although highly disturbed) made the narrative extremely compelling – there were so many ways Dr. Shields reminded me of Gone Girl‘s Amy Dunne! So if you are a fan of Gone Girl/ masterful plotting I urge you to try this stellar novel! I doubt you’ll regret it! 😀 4 stars.

Note: Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a review copy of An Anonymous Girl.

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7 comments

  1. Literary Elephant · · Reply

    Great review! I’ve been so tempted by the hype surrounding this author duo, but I never picked up The Wife Between Us because the premise didn’t sound very interesting to me. But An Anonymous Girl sounds much more to my taste, and it’s encouraging to see that you liked this one better. I’m also very intrigued by the comparison to Gone Girl, as that was one of the first thrillers I really loved! I’ll definitely be reaching for this one before The Wife Between Us. Glad you enjoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, read this before The Wife Between Us! I would say I like Gone Girl’s ending a tiny bit more, and in terms of ratings, An Anonymous Girl is close behind it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooh I have kept it for my weekend read… But every weekend I have ended up doing other work.. Fab review… You made me crave to read it and tomorrow is the weekend.. I hope to get to it. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooohhh……. I hope you’ll end up loving it as much as I did, Shalini! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this review. I totally understood.
    I think now I too will break down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww.. Thank you, Martie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cant wait to read this one. Hope it draws me too like it did for you 🙂

    Like

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