Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of publication: January 8th, 2019
Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
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. 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.
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.
Jessica is a makeup artist who isn’t living her life to the fullest. Barely making ends meet, her days consist of running around NYC, toting her make up case. Her nights are spent hanging out with her best friends and having one night stands. When she sees a text about a study on ethics and morality that pays around $500, she decides to go and take the girl’s place. She catches the eye of the psychologist running the study, Dr. Shields. As her relationship with Dr. Shields gets more personal, Jessica realizes that she isn’t involved in a study anymore. Instead, Dr. Shields is using her in an experiment. As Dr. Shield becomes more and more demanding and obsessive, Jessica needs to find a way out. Will that happen? Will Jessica be able to end her relationship with Dr. Shields? Or will she be a casualty?
I loved how Dr. Shields side of the story progressed. It was interesting to read how she picked up on Jessica. How she singled her out of the study. The author did a great job of letting Dr. Shields crazy come out in small doses. Her obsession with Thomas and Jessica. Her ability to read Jessica’s mind and to be one step ahead of her. It was all wonderfully spaced out. I will say, though, Dr. Shields did scare me. I had no issue imagining this same scenario playing out in real life. That is what made this book so good to read. It was totally believable.
Jessica’s side of the story was as wonderfully written as Dr. Shields. The authors did a fantastic job of showing how easy someone was to manipulate. All it took was asking the right questions and creating the right atmosphere. I loved watching her transformation from an independent woman to a person who was controlled. But, what I also liked, was how Jessica took her life back. How she fought back against Dr. Shields.
I will warn, for those of you who don’t like it, that Dr. Shields part of the book was written in 2nd person. Myself, I don’t care for it. It makes the story harder to read because the reader never gets to see what is going on from the other people’s perspective. But in this book, it worked. It only worked because Jessica’s part of the book was written in 1st person. I wasn’t only reading the book in 2nd person. Another reason it worked was that we got to see Dr. Shields in two totally different lights. I thought it was fascinating how the author was able to merge the two different people who I associated with Dr. Shields into one person by the end of the book.
The main storyline with Dr. Shields and Jessica was wonderfully written. Like I mentioned above, I love reading how Jessica was manipulated by Dr. Shields. I loved how the author kept the true reason for the Dr’s social experiments under wraps until about the middle of the book. I was as shocked as Jessica when the truth was revealed.
The secondary storylines were alright. Except for April’s storyline, I didn’t get as involved with them. I did have a question about Ben and how he knew to call Jessica “Jess“. I wanted to know how much he knew about the study. The way he acted with her at the meeting made me think he knew more than he let on. It was dropped after that.
The end of An Anonymous Girl underwhelmed me. It was anti-climatic with how it was ended. I was left scratching my head and going “Huh” afterward. I should have seen what happened coming but I didn’t. The epilogue added to it.
I gave An Anonymous Girl a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this book. The plotlines were beautifully written and I was kept on edge the entire book. I connected with the characters. The only thing that affected my rating was the ending. It was not what I thought it would be. I was left wondering why.
I would give An Anonymous Girl an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be sexual assault and suicide. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread An Anonymous Girl. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers.
I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review An Anonymous Girl.
All opinions expressed in this review of An Anonymous Girl are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**