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Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive By Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
on 12th May 2015
Pages: 352


As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

Book Review: Luckiest Girl Alive By Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive is the story of quite the opposite – TifAni FaNelli had a rough start in life to say the least. When we are first introduced to her, she is planning her wedding to a rich blue-bood, working at a top women’s magazine in New York and she seems like she’s living the dream life.

However, it soon becomes apparent that that is not the case at all.

Ani doesn’t come from a wealthy or prestigious family but is born to an incredibly ambitious mother. Ani gains a scholarship to a top private school  but things aren’t at all plain sailing. Ani is hiding demons from the past but they’re about to be brought to the surface again in a new documentary about her school.

Ani finally has the chance to share her side of the story to a shocking incidence that took place when she was a teenager but it could cause everything that she has built for herself since to crumble down.

Ani (pronounced Ah-nee) is quite a character. On the surface it looks like she has it all but her bitchy internal monologue make it apparent that she’s something quite different on the inside.

At first you think she’ll a superficial bitch, then you’ll read more about her and realise that she’s actually quite vulnerable. Keep going and you start to get confused again as to whether she really is just a superficial bitch.

She’s a tough character to figure out and I’m sure everyone who’s read the book will have slightly different opinions on her but I personally thought she was an awful character.

She went through something traumatic as a child and I appreciate that her adult life was shaped by brutal things that happened to her when she was young but I just couldn’t get over how manipulative and self-absorbed she was. 

TifAni isn’t a likeable character in the slightest. She’s not the sort of character you’re supposed to like but neither are any of the other characters to be honest. This meant it was a little difficult to connect with the characters and I felt a little distanced from the story.

That said, they were all still interesting to read about, but this book really needed a strong plot to carry it through to make up for the lack of character connection and it fell (slightly) short.

I read Luckiest Girl Alive pretty quickly because I was desperate to find out what the big twist in the story would be. However, as page after page went by, I started to think that maybe there wasn’t such a big twist and that I’d already gone past it.

This is when the disappointment started to sink in.

I was still interested to see where the story ended up but it was evident that I had been misled into thinking this was next Gone Girl. This, in my opinion, is the main problem with this story as the comparison to Gone Girl prepares the reader for the most disturbing of thriller’s and unfortunately that’s not what Luckiest Girl Alive is.

There are undoubtedly similarities between Amy Dunne and TifAni Fanelli but TifAni has her own story to tell and thinking that this is going to be the next Gone Girl caused me to be a little disappointed in this book.

In conclusion, Luckiest Girl Alive is a great debut novel, but thinking that this is the next Gone Girl will only leave you disappointed. If you manage to stave away from all that marketing that I’m sure you’ll find the story gripping and exciting.

I’m still not entirely sure what the ‘big secret’ was in all honesty. There were a few shocking revelations but once you’ve got into the story and the sort of vibe Jessica Knowles has created then you have an idea of what to expect.

There was no one big secret for me and the anticipation for this is what kept me reading, but is also what meant I was disappointed when I finished. There are some disturbing scenes such as bullying, rape and violence these hit you hard so this book definitely isn’t for everyone. However, if you like a strong female lead (albeit a hated one), and an intriguing story then this is the book for you.

Thank you to Simon Books for sending me a complimentary review copy. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Buy Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll: 
Amazon | Book Depository 

If you like the sound of this, check out the following posts:
Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Film Review: Gone Girl
Film Review: Red Sparrow

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

Find me on: Web | Twitter



  1. Beautyqueenuk
    6th October 2015 / 1:21 PM

    Ooh well you have pretty much sold it to me, though I hated Gone Girl and still don’t get all the hype surrounding it x

    • 7th October 2015 / 4:45 PM

      Oh really? I’ve only seen the film, not read the book, but I thought it was incredible!!

  2. Karl Cowell
    6th October 2015 / 1:29 PM

    Ooh Looking for a present for my girlfriend actually! And you know… she is the luckiest girl alive 😉

    • 7th October 2015 / 4:45 PM

      hahaha beware, the leading character is particularly nice about her significant other ;p

  3. 6th October 2015 / 5:01 PM

    Lovely review – ah it’s disappointing that there isn’t a twist but it still sounds like a bit of a page turner x

  4. 6th October 2015 / 7:55 PM

    I’m not a big reader but I do like the sound of this….Great review x

  5. Tori Gabriel
    6th October 2015 / 9:56 PM

    Brilliantly honest review. I don’t think I’ll be bothering with this one but I think it’s great that you gave your honest opinion.

  6. Kacie Morgan
    7th October 2015 / 12:38 AM

    I’m really impressed by the amount of reading you must do – good for you! 🙂

    • 7th October 2015 / 4:44 PM

      It’s getting increasingly hard to keep up with it to be honest, but I’m trying!

  7. 7th October 2015 / 7:55 AM

    I still haven’t managed to watch or read Gossip Girl but the Luckiest Girl Alive has the right amount of mystery and intrigue needed to keep me in suspense.

  8. 7th October 2015 / 10:22 AM

    Love reading blogger’s book reviews and adding them to my read list – thanks! 🙂

    • 8th October 2015 / 12:37 PM

      Me too! It’s why my reading list has at least 839501857 books on it! XD

  9. raine_hp
    7th October 2015 / 1:14 PM

    Doesn’t sound like my sort of read. I reckon I would get pretty bored of it quickly

  10. Zena's Suitcase
    7th October 2015 / 4:50 PM

    To be honest, I’m intrigued about this one. I like your honest review and I’m curious about these characters now, I think it’s something I would have a go at

  11. 7th October 2015 / 4:56 PM

    Comparisons between novels can either make or break my reading experience. Like you, I would have jumped at the chance to read this because of the Gone Girl reference. I’m glad to read a review that gives me a heads up about the story and characters. Maybe I won’t be as disappointed if I read it and don’t connect. Awesome review!

  12. Louise Collier
    7th October 2015 / 6:50 PM

    Oh this sounds like a really interesting book, but I really like to like the main character when I’m reading and like you say feel some kind of connection with them. Great review x

  13. 7th October 2015 / 8:32 PM

    What an interesting sounding book – it is definitely something I think I would enjoy wonder if it’s on amazon. x

  14. 7th October 2015 / 9:45 PM

    This sounds like a really interesting read. I have an never ending to read pile and I will have to add this to the list,

    • 8th October 2015 / 12:36 PM

      My reading pile is never ending too! There just isn’t enough time in the day…

  15. bloggingastrid
    16th October 2015 / 5:10 PM

    This sounds like quite an intriguing read. I love this type of story.

  16. 16th October 2015 / 10:33 PM

    I like stories like this. Sounds like an amazing read.

  17. 17th October 2015 / 12:06 PM

    Oooh another great find, I love discovering new authors and especially reading their debut novels. I will enjoy discovering the twists.

  18. tracey bowden
    20th October 2015 / 12:17 AM

    Sounds interesting. I haven’t read gone girl just seen the film so maybe I would enjoy it without having read the book (I presume the film probably isn’t exactly as the book?)

    • 6th April 2016 / 3:52 PM

      I believe the film and the book have different endings but I haven’t read the book so I can’t say for sure!

  19. 25th June 2018 / 10:40 PM

    Laura, it`s true review!

    as for me:
    I was close to giving up on this but it had qualities of redemption that helped me see it through. I feel there are a lot of interesting talking points for young people, parents and educators throughout the novel. Unfortunately, these points are wrapped in 13 chapters of sludge. The book starts in one genre and finishes somewhere completely different. Nothing like “Gone Girl”, so I don’t get the comparison. But it’s a storyline you might not see coming and one that might make you think.


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