Book Review for Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel

Jessica Knoll’s debut novel, Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel, fascinated me so much from beginning to end that I constantly rattled off tidbits to my husband, Russ. That’s rare. I don’t think he followed my synopsis–I’m not very concise when I’m excited. But when I told him why I preferred the story over Gone Girl, his eyes lit up. Finally, he heard me say something that made sense: I disliked Ani when the book started, but quickly changed my opinion and loved her by the end. When I finished Gone Girl, I didn’t like Amy or Nick. Russ saw the Gone Girl movie and still talks about how he doesn’t care what happened to either character.

There were many twists in Luckiest Girl—some I saw coming, some I didn’t. I prefer a combination of both. I want to feel the suspense building, experience the challenge of trying to figure out what will happen (and sometimes get it right), but I also like to be blindsided. I got all three with this book.
Writing strength is important to me because I’m a writer. Knoll’s writing is exceptional. It will appeal to women who like snappy, chick-lit humor as well as women who want to wrap their minds around a good suspense. Authors sometimes try too hard to make descriptions relevant and I lose interest in their overly polished sentences. Knoll applied the perfect balance of relevance, humor and raw, relatable emotion.
The Hunger theme in this book intrigued me. Hunger, literally the starvation brides-to-be often subject themselves to, was woven throughout so well that I experienced hunger pangs as I read, no matter how much I’d eaten recently. And Ani’s Hunger to show off her success to all the people who were sure she’d never amount to anything—that part really resonated. I bet most of us have experienced the need to prove something, especially after high school or college, whether we were bullied or even popular. To  prove that we now have “it,” or prove we’ve still got “it.”
Don’t skip the Acknowledgements at the end of the book. Knoll’s career is very similar to Ani’s and you can even read some of the articles she wrote for Cosmopolitan.