Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?1
Listening to audiobooks is kind of like being part of a bookclub. The choice of what you will read next is very random depending on what you have access to. At times it feel that it wasn’t even your choice. I have no time, I need a book, these are my options. I have two library apps that have access to a variety of audiobooks, but the selection can be very limited depending on your tastes. This means that most of the time I am choosing books at random. The best part about audiobooks are that they are so convenient. Even if it’s something you would never have read or never had the time for, you don’t have to feel guilty, and as it turns out, you do have time for that book now.
Luckiest Girl Alive had shown up in an e-mail or a list somewhere while I was scrolling through, so when I came across the audiobook this brief memory helped choose for me. Having only seen the cover in a flash I could only make my assumptions as to what the story would be about.
Tiffani FaNelli grew up in a mediocre town while attending a catholic school. Having developed beyond her years and well before the other girls in school, her body singled her out as the bad girl, the one who would be the first to be accused in any bad situation. After her friends and her get caught smoking pot, Tiffani is the assumed culprit and is suspended from her wholesome catholic school. Using this time to reinvent herself, her mother is able to get her into the prestigious Bradley School. Tiffani’s mother is part of a vast group of people who buy the nice clothes, the nice vehicle and home trying to appear as if they are one of the elite. As Tiffani will learn from a very unexpected source, there is a huge difference between having money, and being wealthy.
For Tiffani the clouds seemed to have parted and she was getting her big break instantly when she gains the attention of the popular kids. Tiff will do anything and everything it takes to stay in their good books, even turning the other cheek when something completely unexpected and disturbing occurs (much to the annoyance and anger of the reader, but then again, isn’t that what it’s like to be a teen?).
The story jumps between being 14 in high school and the “present”. In present day, Tiffani, who goes by Ani, works at the well known Woman’s magazine. Something comparable to Cosmo, Ani helps to write the stories relating to sex. Although making good money at the magazine, Ani has worked hard to gain her wealth which is shown by the recent family heirloom gracing her finger. Given to her by her fiancé, New York financier Luke Harrison, Ani’s stars are slowly aligning to make the perfect life. In a few weeks Tiffani FaNeli will be buried for good, along with all the ghosts of her past, when she officially becomes Ani Harrison. Aside from the big day, there is also the looming documentary she has agreed to appear in. The ghosts of the past are dredged up as she tells her story in pieces from leaving the catholic school and attending the famous Bradley school. There are clues scattered here and there but the reason for the documentary stays covered up until it is almost time to film. The reader is distracted by thinking about what the documentary is on by a disturbing scene during high school that plagues Ani for years to come.
I hate to stay all hush hush but trust me, the story is so much for impactful when you don’t know any of the gory details.
Jessica Knoll spins a wickedly crafty tale of the horrors of high school on a whole other level. For most of the story I was too disturbed to give it any sort of glowing review, but obviously Knoll was going for impact, and she got it. It’s hard to give a recommendation for this book because of the darker content, but that shouldn’t overshadow the rest of the story. There were scenes of wit, humour and many a questionable thing; generally portraying life while we bumble along making bad choices and how we choose to live with them. If you are looking for something different and don’t mind a little controversy you may be looking at your next read, or in this case, next listen.
- Book summary courtesy of Jessica Knoll webpage