Disclaimer: I was given an advance digital copy of An Anonymous Girl in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published by St. Martin’s Press on January 8th 2019.
This book seems to be one of the most anticipated new releases of 2019. It’s written by the joint author team that penned The Wife Between Us – a New York Times bestselling thriller – last year. I haven’t read The Wife Between Us, but I’ve read many positive reviews, so when I picked up An Anonymous Girl I had high expectations.
The premise of this novel is interesting enough: a young woman named Jessica joins a psychology study to make a few extra bucks. As the study progresses she forms a complicated relationship with the psychiatrist and researcher running it, and becomes much more deeply involved than expected. Jessica is asked to do increasingly uncomfortable and bizarre things and begins to question the motives of the psychiatrist.
I had two main problems with An Anonymous Girl: the dialogue wasn’t believable and the story dragged. Anyone who’s read my reviews before will know how particular I am when it comes to dialogue. I hate when characters in books speak in a way that you’d never hear in real life. The dialogue in An Anonymous Girl – especially from the psychiatrist – read as very formal and forced, and very unlike how people really talk. Since the plot was pretty far-fetched to begin with, I felt the conversations made it even harder to believe and feel invested in.
An Anonymous Girl is also just a bit too long. It takes too much time to really get to the heart of the story, and even when tension starts to build and the truth starts to come out there isn’t really one particular climactic moment. I felt like I held on throughout the novel for no real pay-off.
While I personally didn’t like this book and wouldn’t recommend it, I have seen many positive and supportive reviews. It’s already been picked up for a television series, so clearly there is something likable in the novel. I think it just didn’t mesh well with my tastes. I think it will – and already does – appeal to people who are adamant fans of the thriller/untrustworthy narrator tropes, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of the better novels in that genre.
I’ve said it before, but I think the thriller genre has become over-saturated. For me, An Anonymous Girl was a perfect example of that. It tries too hard to be psychological and misleading and ultimately ends up being disappointing.