I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us.
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
An Anonymous Girl was… fine. Really, that’s about all I can say about it. It’s told in two POVs, one from Jessica, a late-20s makeup artist who sneaks her way into a local university study because she needs the money and finds herself increasingly involved in a situation she can’t understand, and one she suspects goes deeper than the study initially indicated it would.
The other POV is that of Dr. Shields, who is conducting the study. The sections from Dr. Shields’ POV were really difficult for me to relate to. They’re told in second person, and, while there is a way to do second person in a way that really immerses the reader in the story and makes them feel like they’re really in the head of the narrator, (see You by Caroline Kepnes for a fantastic example), this wasn’t it. Here Dr. Shields uses the second person narration specifically to keep the reader at a distance, and it works. “I told you about my day.” becomes “You are told about my day.” I understand that the authors did this intentionally, to keep the reader at a distance, and to create that sense of separation, but it worked a little too well, and those sections had me more bored and annoyed than anything else.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book wasn’t quite good enough to make up for it. The entire thing boils down to cliched situations and a completely predictable path. There was nothing surprising here, nothing that made me want to keep turning the pages. The middle of it dragged, becoming repetitive, and I found myself skimming those areas. It wasn’t offensively bad, just boring. If it hadn’t been the book I needed to read for my book club, I doubt I would have finished it.