Published: March 2018 - Wildfire
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary / mystery
Triggers/Content Advisory: Infrequent bad language.
Source: Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for a honest review.
It was the unique premise that grabbed my attention. You don't often find a thriller told from the point of view of who is, essentially, the villain; nor is it usually the girl who tries to get back the guy. I was enthralled by that premise.
The writing is captivating. It's also an example of telling versus showing where telling actually works; it fits the character, and the reportive style actually enhances the chills and the atmosphere. It excels where it typically wouldn't. It suits the story.
The story is a combination of the past and present of Juliette's life. The flashbacks are so seamlessly interwoven with the present that even without clear-cut breaks in the chapter it isn't hard to follow them. They're also just as entertaining as her present situation, and I enjoyed the glimpses into her history.
But the plot left me with mixed feelings. It is slow, which doesn't actually bother me all that much because I love the writing and characters, but it does get a bit confusing. As much as I love the originality of Juliette's job, I do think the many changing settings as she flew here and there and back again got rather bizarre. She just moved so fast. Not to mention the different places aren't always announced when she arrives. There's also the fact that the people she wants to meet with or who are essential pieces in her evil master plan, always just happen to be where she is - where her plane touches down. Maybe I'm missing something, but personally it seems very convenient and too easy.
There's also the ending. It's unsatisfactory, and it doesn't resolve things properly. There's not enough closure. I don't hate it, and it's not enough to make me angry, but it's still a bit of a cop-out.
The characters are stunning. Everyone is multi-faceted and incredibly well written, and despite a big cast they're all unique, three-dimensional, and compelling. I particularly love all the female characters, of which they are many. Katie, Amy, Bella, and Babs are all very human and well-realised and they make up an awesome female cast.
Juliette is a chilling anti-heroine. I love how complicated and damaged she is, and it's so unnerving to have her (as the narrator and point of view character) do things that are so obviously wrong as if they're right. It's weird, but it's fascinating. It's scary, but it's so naturally written; I love how deeply the author gets inside her head.
Another thing I adore is how strong Juliette's motivations are. The author has built up such a powerful past for her character, and I found myself sympathising with her even though she's doing terrible things that should not go without punishment. She's a terrific anti-heroine.
The Perfect Girlfriend is a clever, quiet, and slowly twisting thriller with excellent characters and writing. The plot often left me a bit confused, but otherwise I loved the the story.