LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE deserves three stars based solely on the author’s narrative voice. Main character Ani leaps off the page with wit and astute observations about her environment, and describes her frigid feet surrounding her upcoming nuptials with biting clarity.
“…A study found that the act of physically closing your menu once you’ve decided what to order can make you feel more satisfied with your choice. So go with the pan-seared sole and snap that menu short before you can start sex-eyeing the penne alla vodka.”
The fourth star comes from the way Jessica Knoll conveys emotion through her words in LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE. We don’t just digest Ani’s plight—we experience it.
This isn’t the sort of book I would normally read. LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll was listed in the suspense section, so I gave it a whirl. I’m glad I did.
It’s in turns hilarious, horrifying, and beautiful. We know from the beginning that Ani internalizes her feelings. While she’s shopping for china with her fiance, Luke, she imagines shoving a knife into his gut. There’s clearly some dark trauma in our protagonist’s past.
You might not like the main character in LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE
I didn’t—at least at first. In addition to her violent fantasies, she’s deeply shallow (is that an oxymoron) and materialistic. She measures her success by her soon-to-be-husband’s fortune, her own salary at a women’s magazine, the friends she keeps, and the contents of her wardrobe.
This reader couldn’t identify with her at all until Jessica Knoll swept us back in time to Ani’s experience at an elite prep school. Many of her insecurities and deficiencies became far easier to understand.
There’s no major plot twist or revelation.
As I said, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE is a slow burn. It’s not meant to give you a gut punch with heart-stopping plot twists. Instead, Jessica Knoll weaves a tale that reads like a memoir, taking a deep dive into Ani’s internal processing of traumatic events and the impact those events have on her future life.
I will say, however, that the ending is satisfying. At least, for me. I felt like Knoll wrapped up the story with its inevitable conclusion. That’s something many authors fail to pull off.