An Anonymous Girl
by Greer Hendrick and Sarah Pekkanen
St. Martins Press
Publication Date : January 8, 2019
Synopsis From Publisher:
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. 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. 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.
The story of what someone will do out desperation will never get old. Whether in books, TV, or theatre; this story will always be gripping. The reason?…it makes the audience think about what they would do in the character’s shoes. Whether the audience agrees or disagrees with the character’s decision they will always want to know how it ends. An Anonymous Girl is exactly this type of story. The protagonist made a choice I would not have necessarily made but I was no less captivated by her story.
When Jessica Farris stumbles on to an opportunity to participate in a psychological study for extra cash, she jumps at the chance. After the first session Jessica has questions and suspicions. The sessions then become increasingly invasive and uncomfortable. In spite of her hesitations, Jessica continues with the study. Soon Jessica realizes she is in a very dangerous situation in which a mysterious doctor knows her darkest secrets and has the will to use these secrets against her.
I immediately found Jessica relatable. While she is able to survive in New York City as a freelance make up artist, her financial situation is still tight. Her ability to balance her lifestyle and her family obligations is managed with a strict budget. Jessica also carries a lot of guilty. She believes she is responsible for a family tragedy. To me Jessica’s guilt made her more susceptible to harm than her financial need. After I finished reading the book I wondered if Jessica’s primary reason for agreeing to participate in the study was out of guilt or for the money.
Dr. Shields is one of the most captivating and manipulative characters I have read. Dr. Shields is conducting the psychological study in which Jessica is participating. The doctor’s ability to hone in on Jessica’s vulnerabilities and exploit them is a little unrealistic but entertaining. The game of cat and mouse Jessica and Dr. Shields embark on is one of wits; who can out think the other. No physical altercations but more like a game of chess, with very high stakes.
If I had to pick three words to describe An Anonymous Girl they would be entertaining, twisted, and gripping. The over the top aspect made the story no less intense. Because Jessica was so relatable I had to know how things turned out for her.
Those who loved this duo’s first book, The Wife Between Us may be disappointed. An Anonymous Girl does not have the same AWESOME twist that The Wife Between Us had. For me An Anonymous Girl was just as suspenseful as The Wife Between Us even without the twist. A relatable main character, an original plot, and a villain without a clear motive all conspired to make a binge worthy read.
*Thanks to St. Martins Press for my free review copy of An Anonymous Girl *
Murder and Moore Rating :
4 out of 5 Stars