Three years ago, Zoe was involved in a horrible accident that killed three of her classmates. Now, after having done her time, Zoe and her mother Maria are hiding the past from their new family in hopes of getting a second chance at a happy life. Maria has planned a piano recital for Zoe only to have it end in Maria’s death by the end of the night. Faced with finding out what happened, secrets that were once buried come up to the surface.
When I first finished the book my reaction was more like “What!” but as it’s sat with me and I’ve digested it, it’s become more muted. The Perfect Girl is told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, but mainly Zoe, her aunt Tessa and her former criminal lawyer Sam. This allowed for different elements of the story to be revealed to the reader without necessarily having the characters find out just yet. I enjoyed it well enough, however I felt there were some elements – especially with the parts from Sam’s POV – that felt off from the pacing of the rest of the story. A lot of the chapters go back from “Sunday evening” of the recital, to “Monday morning”, however for a large chunk of the morning after the recital, it was actually Sam reminiscing about Zoe’s trial from three years ago. That felt a bit confusing to follow, as I wasn’t sure in what time Sam’s scene was taking place at that particular moment every time it returned back to his narration.
In all honesty, while I liked the character of Sam, I thought his use in the overall story was out of place. He really didn’t need to be there, and his side story felt completely irrelevant to the rest of the story. He may have added some mild “drama” to the dynamics between characters but otherwise I felt that he could have been removed completely from the story and it would have been fine.
The story started off a bit slow at times, and it’s not until Maria’s death that I actually found myself more captivated with the story. The premise of the book was an interesting one but there were some elements that I felt too obvious at what the author was trying to do or imply. Overall, The Perfect Girl was an interesting read with some mild plot twists that some may or may not anticipate (I partially did).