The instant #1 New York Times bestseller (January 2019) everyone is talking about!
People Magazine's Book of the Week • Bookish's "Must-Read Books of Winter" • PopSugar's "Best Books of Winter" • Cosmopolitan's "2019 Books to Bring to Your Book Club" • Bookbub's "Biggest Books of Winter" • Refinery 29's "Best Books of January 2019" • Crime Reads' "January's Best Psychological Thrillers" • InStyle's "7 Books That You Should Resolve to Read This January" • HelloGiggles' "The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019" • USA Today's "5 New Books Not to Miss" • Marie Claire's "The Best Women’s Fiction of 2019 (So Far)" • Hypable's "Winter Releases You Can’t Afford to Miss"
"Hendricks and Pekkanen are at the top of their game...You won't see the final twist coming." People Magazine
“Beware strange psychologists…the authors know exactly how to play on their characters’ love of danger to bring them to the brink of disaster - and dare them to jump off.” New York Times Book Review
"Slickly twisty [with] gasp-worthy final twists...major league suspense." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"For those who relished the creepy stalking in Hendricks and Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us, this unnerving tale will have them rethinking what secrets are safe to share and if moral and ethics really matter when protecting the ones you love." Library Journal (starred review)
"Masterfully escalates the suspense." Booklist (starred review)
Looking to earn some easy cash, Jessica Farris agrees to be a test subject in a psychological study about ethics and morality. But as the study moves from the exam room to the real world, the line between what is real and what is one of Dr. Shields’s experiments blurs.
Dr. Shields seems to know what Jess is thinking… and what she’s hiding.
Jessica’s behavior will not only be monitored, but manipulated.
Caught in a web of attraction, deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, An Anonymous Girl will keep you riveted through the last shocking twist.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
GREER HENDRICKS spent two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Allure, and Publishers Weekly.
SARAH PEKKANEN is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of eight previous novels. A former investigative journalist and feature writer, her work has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many others.
Together, they have written the New York Times bestselling novels The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl.
Read an Excerpt
Friday, November 16
A lot of women want the world to see them a certain way. It's my job to create those transformations, one forty-five minute session at a time.
My clients seem different when I've finished helping them. They grow more confident, radiant. Happier, even.
But I can only offer a temporary fix. People invariably revert to their former selves.
True change requires more than the tools I wield.
* * *
It's twenty to six on a Friday evening. Rush hour. It's also when someone often wants to look like the best version of themselves, so I consistently block this time out of my personal schedule.
When the subway doors open at Astor Place, I'm the first one out, my right arm aching from the weight of my black makeup case as it always does by the end of a long day.
I swing my case directly behind me so it'll fit through the narrow passageway — it's my fifth trip through the turnstiles today alone, and my routine is automatic — then I hurry up the stairs.
When I reach the street, I dig into the pocket of my leather jacket and pull out my phone. I tap it to open my schedule, which is updated at least once a day by BeautyBuzz. I provide the hours I can work, and my appointments are texted to me.
My final booking today is near Eighth Street and University Place. It's for ninety minutes, which means it's a double — two clients. I have the address, names, and a contact phone number. But I have no idea who will be waiting for me when I knock on a door.
I don't fear strangers, though. I've learned more harm can come from familiar faces.
I memorize the exact location, then stride down the street, skirting the garbage that has spilled from a toppled bin. A shopkeeper pulls a security grate over his storefront, the loud metal rattling into place. A trio of students, backpacks slung over their shoulders, jostle each other playfully as I pass them.
I'm two blocks from my destination when my phone rings. Caller ID shows it's my mom.
I let it ring once as I stare at the little circular photo of my smiling mother.
I'll see her in five days, when I go home for Thanksgiving, I tell myself.
But I can't let it go.
Guilt is always the heaviest thing I carry.
"Hey, Mom. Everything okay?" I ask.
"Everything's fine, honey. Just checking in."
I can picture her in the kitchen in the suburban Philadelphia home where I grew up. She's stirring gravy on the stove — they eat early, and Friday's menu is always pot roast and mashed potatoes — then unscrewing the top on a bottle of Zinfandel in preparation for the single glass she indulges in on weekend nights.
There are yellow curtains dressing the small window above the sink, and a dish towel looped through the stove handle with the words Just roll with it superimposed over an image of a rolling pin. The flowered wallpaper is peeling at the seams and a dent marks the bottom of the fridge from where my father kicked it after the Eagles lost in the playoffs.
Dinner will be ready when my dad walks through the door from his job as an insurance salesman. My mother will greet him with a quick kiss. They will call my sister, Becky, to the table, and help her cut her meat.
"Becky zipped up her jacket this morning," my mother says. "Without any help."
Becky is twenty-two, six years younger than me.
"That's fantastic," I say.
Sometimes I wish I lived closer so I could help my parents. Other times, I'm ashamed at how grateful I am that I don't.
"Hey, can I call you back?" I continue. "I'm just running in to work."
"Oh, did you get hired for another show?"
I hesitate. Mom's voice is more animated now.
I can't tell her the truth, so I blurt out the words: "Yeah, it's just a little production. There probably won't even be much press about it. But the makeup is super elaborate, really unconventional."
"I'm really proud of you," my mom says. "I can't wait to hear all about it next week."
I feel like she wants to add something more, but even though I haven't quite reached my destination — a student housing complex at NYU — I end the call.
"Give Becky a kiss. I love you."
* * *
My rules for any job kick in even before I arrive.
I evaluate my clients the moment I see them — I notice eyebrows that would look better darkened, or a nose that needs shading to appear slimmer — but I know my customers are sizing me up, too.
The first rule: my unofficial uniform. I wear all black, which eliminates the need to coordinate a new outfit every morning. It also sends a message of subtle authority. I choose comfortable, machine-washable layers that will look as fresh at seven P.M. as they do at seven A.M.
Since personal space vanishes when you're doing someone's makeup, my nails are short and buffed, my breath is minty, and my curls are swept up in a low twist. I never deviate from this standard.
I rub Germ-X on my hands and pop an Altoid in my mouth before I ring the buzzer for Apartment 6D. I'm five minutes early. Another rule.
I take the elevator to the sixth floor, then follow the sound of loud music — Katy Perry's "Roar" — down the hallway and meet my clients. One is in a bathrobe, and the other wears a T-shirt and boxers. I can smell the evidence of their last beauty treatment — the chemicals used to highlight blond streaks into the hair of the girl named Mandy, and the nail varnish drying on the hands Taylor is waving through the air.
"Where are you going tonight?" I ask. A party will likely have stronger lighting than a club; a dinner date will require a subtle touch.
"Lit," Taylor says.
At my blank look, she adds: "It's in the Meatpacking District. Drake was just there last night."
"Cool," I say.
I wind through the items scattered across the floor — an umbrella, a crumpled gray sweater, a backpack — then move aside the Skinny Pop popcorn and half-empty cans of Red Bull on the low coffee table so I can set down my case. I unlatch it and the sides fold out like an accordion to reveal tray upon tray of makeup and brushes.
"What kind of look are we going for?"
Some makeup artists dive in, trying to cram as many clients as possible into a day. I take the extra time I've built into my schedule to ask a few questions. Just because one woman wants a smokey eye and a naked mouth doesn't mean another isn't envisioning a bold red lip and only a swipe of mascara. Investing in those early minutes saves me time on the backend.
But I also trust my instincts and observations. When these girls say they want a sexy, beachy look, I know they really want to resemble Gigi Hadid, who is on the cover of the magazine splayed across the love seat.
"So what are you majoring in?" I ask.
"Communications. We both want to go into PR." Mandy sounds bored, like I'm an annoying adult asking her what she wants to be when she grows up.
"Sounds interesting," I say as I pull a straight-back chair into the strongest light, directly under the ceiling fixture.
I start with Taylor. I have forty-five minutes to create the vision she wants to see in the mirror.
"You have amazing skin," I say. Another rule: Find a feature to compliment on every client. In Taylor's case, this isn't difficult.
"Thanks," she says, not lifting her gaze from her phone. She begins a running commentary on her Instagram feed: "Does anyone really want to see another picture of cupcakes?" "Jules and Brian are so in love, it's gross." "Inspirational sunset, got it ... glad you're having a rocking Friday night on your balcony."
As I work, the girls' chatter fades into background noise, like the drone of a hair dryer or city traffic. I lose myself in the strokes of different foundations I've applied to Taylor's jawline so I can match her skin tone flawlessly, and in the swirl of copper and sandy hues I blend on my hand to bring out the gold flecks in her eyes.
I'm brushing bronzer onto her cheeks when her cell phone rings.
Taylor stops tapping hearts and holds up her phone: "Private number. Should I get it?"
"Yes!" Mandy says. "It could be Justin."
Taylor wrinkles her nose. "Who answers their phone on a Friday night, though? He can leave a message."
A few moments later, she touches the speakerphone button and a man's voice fills the room:
"This is Ben Quick, Dr. Shields's assistant. I'm confirming your appointments this weekend, for tomorrow and Sunday from eight to ten A.M. The location again is Hunter Hall, Room 214. I'll meet you in the lobby and take you up."
Taylor rolls her eyes and I pull back my mascara wand.
"Can you keep your face still, please?" I ask.
"Sorry. Was I out of my mind, Mandy? I'm going to be way too hungover to get up early tomorrow."
"Just blow it off."
"Yeah. But it's five hundred bucks. That's, like, a couple sweaters from rag & bone."
These words break my concentration; five hundred is what I make for ten jobs.
"Gah. Forget it. I'm not going to set an alarm to go to some dumb questionnaire," Taylor says.
Must be nice, I think, looking at the sweater crumpled in the corner.
Then I can't help myself: "A questionnaire?"
Taylor shrugs. "Some psych professor needs students for a survey."
I wonder what sort of questions are on the survey. Maybe it's like a Myers-Briggs personality test.
I step back and study Taylor's face. She's classically pretty, with an enviable bone structure. She didn't need the full forty-five-minute treatment.
"Since you're going to be out late, I'll line your lips before I apply gloss," I say. "That way the color will last."
I pull out my favorite lip gloss with the BeautyBuzz logo on the tube and smooth it along Taylor's full lips. After I finish, Taylor gets up to go look in the bathroom mirror, trailed by Mandy. "Wow," I hear Taylor say. "She's really good. Let's take a selfie."
"I need my makeup first!"
I begin to put away the cosmetics I used for Taylor and consider what I will need for Mandy when I notice Taylor has left her phone on the chair.
My rocking Friday night will consist of walking my little mixed terrier, Leo, and washing the makeup out of my brushes — after I take the bus home to my tiny studio on the Lower East Side. I'm so wiped out that I'll probably be in bed before Taylor and Mandy order their first cocktails at the club.
I look down at the phone again.
Then I glance at the bathroom door. It's partly closed.
I bet Taylor won't even bother to return the call to cancel her appointment.
"I need to buy the highlighter she used," Taylor is saying.
Five hundred dollars would help a lot with my rent this month.
I already know my schedule for tomorrow. My first job doesn't begin until noon.
"I'm going to have her do my eyes kind of dramatic," Mandy says. "I wonder if she has false lashes with her."
Hunter Hall from eight to ten A.M. — I remember that part. But what was the name of the doctor and his assistant?
It's not even like I make a decision to do it; one second I'm staring at the phone and the next, it's in my hand. Less than a minute has passed; it hasn't locked out yet. Still, I need to look down to navigate to the voice mail screen, but that means taking my eyes off the bathroom door.
I jab at the screen to play the most recent message, then press the phone tightly to my ear.
The bathroom door moves and Mandy starts to walk out. I spin around, feeling my heartbeat erupt. I won't be able to replace the phone without her seeing me.
I can pretend it fell off the chair, I think wildly. I'll tell Taylor I just picked it up.
Dr. Shields's assistant ... eight to ten A.M. ...
"Should I make her try a darker lip color?"
Come on, I think, willing the message to play faster.
Hunter Hall, Room 214.
"Maybe," Mandy says.
I'll meet you in the lob —
I hang up and drop the phone back onto the chair just as Taylor takes her first step into the room.
Did she leave it faceup or facedown? But before there's time to try and remember, Taylor is beside me.
She stares down at her phone and my stomach clenches. I've messed up. Now I recall that she left it with the screen facing down on the chair. I put it back the wrong way.
I swallow hard, trying to think of an excuse.
"Hey," she says.
I drag my eyes up to meet hers.
"Love it. But can you try a darker lip gloss?"
She flops back onto the chair and I slowly exhale.
I re-do her lips twice — first making them berry, then reverting to the original shade, all the while steadying my right elbow with my left palm so my shaking fingers don't ruin the lines — and by the time I'm finished, my pulse has returned to normal.
When I leave the apartment with a distracted "Thank you" from the girls instead of a tip, my decision is confirmed.
I set the alarm on my phone for 7:15 A.M.
Saturday, November 17
The next morning, I review my plan carefully.
Sometimes an impulsive decision can change the course of your life.
I don't want that to happen again.
I wait outside Hunter Hall, peering in the direction of Taylor's apartment. It's cloudy and the air is thick and gray, so for a moment I mistake another young woman rushing in my direction for her. But it's just someone out for a jog. When it's five minutes past eight and it appears that Taylor is still asleep, I enter the lobby, where a guy in khakis and a blue button-down shirt is checking his watch.
"Sorry I'm late!" I call.
"Taylor?" he says. "I'm Ben Quick."
I'd correctly gambled on the assumption that Taylor wouldn't phone to cancel.
"Taylor is sick, so she asked me to come and do the questionnaire instead. I'm Jessica. Jessica Farris."
"Oh." Ben blinks. He looks me up and down, examining me more carefully.
I've traded my ankle boots for Converse high tops and slung a black nylon backpack over one shoulder. I figure it won't hurt if I look like a student.
"Can you hang on a second?" he finally says. "I need to check with Dr. Shields."
"Sure." I aim for the slightly bored tone Taylor used last night.
The worst thing that'll happen is he'll tell me I can't participate, I remind myself. No big deal; I'll just grab a bagel and take Leo for a long walk.
Ben steps aside and pulls out his cell phone. I want to listen to his side of the conversation, but his voice is muted.
Then he walks over to me. "How old are you?"
"Twenty-eight," I respond truthfully.
I sneak a glance at the entrance to make sure Taylor isn't going to saunter in at the last minute.
"You currently reside in New York?" Ben asks.
Ben has two more questions for me: "Where else have you lived? Anywhere outside the United States?"
I shake my head. "Just Pennsylvania. That's where I grew up."
"Okay," Ben says, putting his phone away. "Dr. Shields says you can participate in the study. First, I need to get your full name, address, and social security number. Can I see some ID?"
I shift my backpack into my hand and dig through it until I find my wallet, then I hand him my driver's license.
He snaps a picture, then takes down the rest of my information. "I can Venmo you the payment tomorrow at the conclusion of your session if you have an account."
"I do," I say. "Taylor told me it's five hundred dollars, right?"
He nods. "I'm going to text all this to Dr. Shields, then I'll take you upstairs to the room."
Could it possibly be this simple?CHAPTER 2
Saturday, November 17
You aren't the subject who was expected to show up this morning.
Still, you meet the demographic criteria of the study and the slot would otherwise be wasted, so my assistant Ben escorts you to Room 214. The testing space is large and rectangular, filled with windows along the eastern-facing side. Three rows of desks and chairs line the shiny linoleum floor. At the front of the room is a SMART Board, its screen blank. High on the back wall is an old-fashioned round clock. It could be any classroom in any college campus in any city.
Except for one thing: You are the only person here.
This venue has been selected because there is little to distract you, facilitating your ability to concentrate on the task ahead.
Ben explains that your instructions will appear on the computer that is being provided for your use. Then he closes the door.
The room is silent.
A laptop waits on a desk in the first row. It is already open. Your footsteps echo across the expanse of the floor as you walk toward it.
You ease into the seat, pulling it up to the desk. The metal leg of your chair grates against the linoleum.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "An Anonymous Girl"
Copyright © 2019 Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed." The plot for this story is incredibly original and is what initially piqued my interest in this book. But that's where it ends for me. I already know that I'll be in the minority with my opinions as this book will no doubt appeal to the masses. Told in two points of view, that of Dr Shields, the alluring, manipulative therapist conducting a survey on ethics and morality, and Jess, the unlucky participant that has drawn the attention of Dr Shields. Dr Shields finds Jess is most suitable for a personal agenda and begins the process of grooming and manipulating her. Its clear that the chapters narrated by Dr Shields are meant to have a creepy feel but the atmosphere falls flat. Jess is likeable enough, devastatingly flawed and a victim of her own secrets. I'm all for a slow burn but this book burns so slow it extinguished itself by the 40% mark and never really becomes engaging throughout. The synopsis for this book paints a picture of a story more psychologically frightening than is actually between the pages. The story is totally implausible, which I could forgive if only the narrative had been told in a more captivating way. There are no twists in this book, no gasping moments, no real sense of mystery. The ending is just blah and completely farfetched. I found the story to be pretty lackluster throughout. I would be remiss in not mentioning that clearly the authors are fans of fashion because nearly every scene includes a detailed description of what the characters are wearing down to the tiniest of details. These details lend nothing to the storyline and become laughable at points because of the absurdity of their inclusion in the book. I'm giving this one 2.5 ? rounded up for plot originality and the fact that I was able to finish the book despite it's failings. I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Once I started this book, I could not put it down. It pulled me in with the twisted mind games that took place. The way it ended had me basically with my jaw dropped and shaking my head because I didn’t anticipate it. All I can say is that if you love a good psychological thriller, this book is for you! Happy Reading!
Couldn’t put this down. Every time something was revealed, and I thought I had it figured out - another twist! So good. 10/10 would recommend.
Where were the twists and turns of The Wife Between Us?
Wow! This is the second book that I've read by Greer Hendricks and Sara Pekkanen and I am hooked on this dynamic duo! Jessica is a single girl with a struggling career trying to make it in the big city. Jessica has a sister who needs special medical attention due to an accident as a child and Jessica feels responsible to support her family in taking care of her. When she not so accidentally becomes part of a study run by Dr. Shields, her life begins to change. The extra money is exactly what she needs. At first her involvement in the study and her relationship with Dr. Shields seems to be a positive influence on her but things quickly start to change? The chapters alternate between Jessica's point of view and Dr. Shields' notes. Being able to see the story from two points of view made the characters so much more interesting and believable. I could actually see myself in Jessica's shoes and understand why she makes the choices that she does. As I neared the end of the book, it wasn't all that shocking to me until the very end. I thought I had it all figured out, but it turned out that I didn't really know the characters all that well! Those unreliable narrators will get you every time! This book is a real thinker! I could say more but don't want to give it away.
“Welcome back, Subject 52.” I have read a lot of mystery and thriller/suspense novels over the years. I’ve read no less than 30 in the previous year. So it’s fair to say, I’m experienced in the genre. I am rarely surprised by a thriller book anymore. And while the ending isn’t the “WTF!” moment, I tend to look for in a mystery/thriller/suspense (whatever you want to call it). I found it to be fully satisfying. The authors’ left such a beautiful, deceptive breadcrumb trail to follow to find out what the hell is going on. An Anonymous Girl starts with Jessica Farris sneaking her way in to a psychological study on morality conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields. The questions become more invasive and the sessions transition from questions to manipulative outings. Jessica starts to wonder if she can trust anything in her life let alone the secretive doctor and what obsessions she’s withholding. My favorite part of An Anonymous Girl was the juxtaposition between the two narratives. Jessica is a 28 year old makeup artist struggling to survive in the city. Jessica is sweet, a little naïve, but she has some dark secrets in her past that leads to some self-destructive tendencies. Tendencies that lead her right in to the cold and calculating arms of Dr. Shields. Dr. Shield’s perspective reads like case notes on her study. But is anyone as they seem? Hardly ever. Full of unreliable narrators, a realistic story of how wrong an obsession can go, this book is perfectly paced to keep your eating up every word until you read the end. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second book that I have read written this author duo. I did not love The Wife Between Us as much as I wanted to. So I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book, but I was still really excited to read it. Overall I found this to be a really good thriller. I was hooked from the beginning and the pages flew by. It is a thriller that can easily be read in one sitting. This book is told in alternating perspectives between two women. Neither woman is likable, but as I reader I was still captivated and wanted to know what was going to happen. The reason I couldn't give this book 5 stars was because the ending just seemed a little too easy. After all of the build-up, the ending came off a little lackluster. Other than that though it was a really good book and I am looking forward to future books written by this author duo. So if you are looking for a gripping thriller, then this book is definitely for you!
A Wonderful Psychological Thriller An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen was a psychological thriller that put me on the edge of my seat many times. I had read The Wife Between Us and didn't think that these authors could top that book but boy was I wrong. An Anonymous Girl had me holding my breath without even realizing it and every time I thought I had it all figured out another twist was inserted. I was so excited to read it and was not at all disappointed. As the book began, Jessica or Jess as she liked to be called, one of the main characters in the book, was introduced. She was a woman in her early twenties who worked as a freelance make-up artist. While applying make-up for two college age young women at their apartment she overheard their discussion about a psychiatrist's study about morals and ethics one of the girls had signed up to participate in that was going to pay her $500. Jess was so tempted with the money that she sneaks to view the information about the study on one of the girl's cell phone. She showed up for the study the next morning claiming to be replacing the other girl who couldn't make it. After her personal information was checked, Jess was allowed to partake in the study. The study was being conducted by Dr. Shields, a professor at N.Y.U. and prominent psychologist. Participating in this study was going to change Jess's life more than she ever could have imagined. Every time I thought I had figured out was going to happen In An Anonymous Girl I was often wrong. The story was told alternatively by Jess and Dr. Shields. It was hard for me to put it down because I wanted to know what was going happen next. The ending left me in a good place. I liked how Jess's character evolved, got stronger and wiser as the story unfolded. In the beginning she was so trusting, needy and dependent It made me question how much of a person's private thoughts and secrets should be revealed even when honesty, trust and best interests are promised? In the end, I believed that Jess regretted sharing some of these very private confessions with Dr. Shields. How could Jess have ever guessed what a vindictive, self-serving woman Dr. Shields would end up being? Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen for the advanced reader's copy of An Anonymous Girl in exchange for my honest review. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous Girl is the thriller that will mess with your head. From the first chapter I knew I was in for an amazing psychological thriller! The story is based on Jessica Farris. A makeup artist in need of money she finds out about a study taking place that os paying $500. Although she isn't invited to join she finds a way to participate in the study. Jessica soon finds out that the good doctor in charge of the study seems to know a little too much about her. I loved this book and thought the way the author revealed the doctors thoughts as well as Jessica's throughput the story worked really well. I haven't read a story this good that I couldnt put down since Gone Girl. Readers of psychological thrillers will love this!
This book captured my attention right away. I was immediately intrigued by this morality study and what it meant and entailed, and then when Jessica was drawn more into it, and we started to get glimpses into Dr. Shields and her motivation behind the study, I was hooked. There's a definite cat-and-mouse feel to the story, and you're not always sure who's the cat and who's the mouse, as there are some interesting and surprising twists. I was engaged and intrigued through the whole book and kept picking it up to sneak in a couple pages if I found myself with a free minute in the middle of the day, because I kept thinking about the story! I understood why Jessica was drawn to Dr. Shields and continued the "study" even as more and more was asked of her. And then I was afraid for Jessica as she found herself deeper and deeper into this "study" and wondered how she would ever be able to get out of it...people like Dr. Shields do not make mistakes! As (I assume) was their intent, I was never sure where Thomas stood, whose "side" he was on, which added another layer of suspense to the whole thing. I thought the twists and turns were good and they kept me turning the pages, but I have to say that there were a few things that I wish had been made a little more clear. For example, while Jessica wasn't allowed to ask about the study, and we as the readers know early on what Dr. Shields' study is about with respect to Jessica's involvement, she was also conducting a "real" study with other Subjects (we know about Subject 5 and Jessica is Subject 52...we can assume there were nearly 50 other subjects), so what was the purpose of the real study? What was Ben's true role and why was he nervous when Jessica confronted him? I felt that raised questions that were never answered and may have been unnecessary. While there were a few things like that which left me wondering (and the reason for my 4 star rating instead of 5), overall I very much enjoyed the book and thought it was a great mind-game type of thriller.
Was excited to get to review this book. It draws you in for the first few pages and it keeps you wanting more. Fast read and loved the ending. Thanks for the opportunity to review this title. This is their second together hope to see more.
"if you have to ask that you trust someone or not then you already know the answer" I am not sure if I can talk about this book without giving away spoiler so I am going to keep it short; if you like thriller then you should read this book. This is a psychological suspense obsessed book. I loved reading it especially halfway through the book, I was so hooked on; I literally spent all my time reading it. Its just WOOW. Jessica is participating in Ethics & Moral study experiment to earn extra cash by filling those questionnaires, since its a survey I was like may be all these secrets will be used to blackmail her or what worst can happen, right? But nope it is so much packed with obsession, manipulation, sudden twists and lots of hidden secrets unravelling. The story is told through both Jessica & Dr. Shields perspective alternating so its like reading their thoughts which is so creepy. I could feel for both Jessica & Dr. Shields at times, they are both driven by their love for their family. Though towards the last few pages it was easy to guess the ending for me but there was lot of build up untill the end and it gave me such a thrill reading it to find out what will happen next with Jess who can she trust but herself and who is to blame for what happened, the secret which is hidden has to come out. The plot was so much twisty, at one point my head was pounding with so much going on. I enjoyed reading this one, it made it worth my time
I loved the premise of this book: Jessica learns about a research study that pays well and finds a way to participate for the money. Things immediately get interesting when it turns out to be a study about morality. How deep will she have to dig? What will she discover about herself in the process? And who is this mysterious doctor observing her and delving into her psyche? The book alternates between Jessica's point of view, showing her uncertainly about what's going on, and the pain of view of the researcher watching her. I thought it was an interesting choice to allow the reader to be both the observed and the observer, increasing the tension in the plot. This book was provided as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Didn't like the main character Jess, so really did not care what happened to her. A very stupid woman!
I wanted so badly to love this book. I loved the cover, I loved the premise, I loved the writing. I love the main character. I loved the start of the book. But man did it not do it for me. I feel as though there was no real twist? The ending could be figured out very quickly and the whole story how it played out was just reckless, foolish, and frankly unbelievable and not in a good way. I was so done with this book I almost dnf with just a few chapter to go, something I almost NEVER consider doing. I don't know where the hype for this one came from, maybe it was just not for me. I would give other books by the author a read though since I did enjoy the writing style for what its worth.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The second book by this writing duo. I am more familiar with Sarah Pekkanen and have read and reviewed almost all of her books here on Kritters Ramblings. The synopsis for this one is we have Jessica Farris who is barely making ends meet for a few reasons and when at a job she hears about a study where she can make a large amount of cash and at this moment in her life she will do about anything for more income. Dr. Shields is the person running this study and she has quite a few reasons to run this study and they aren't all fo real academic research.
Great book kept me guessing until the very end
This book pulled me in straight away. It was fast-paced and intriguing, and had a unique premise that drew me in immediately. The plot follows Jessica, a young struggling makeup artist in Manhattan. She discovers a psychological study from a client, where she only has to answer a few questions to collect several hundred dollars...or so she thinks. Slowly she becomes more involved with the psychiatrist running the study, Dr. Shields, and comes to realize more is expected of her than she expected. The story alternates between the perspectives of Jessica and Dr. Shields. Personally, I loved the perspective of Dr Shields far more than Jessica. I could not relate to Jessica. I found her naive and whiny, and desperate for attention. She felt one-dimensional. Dr Shields was far more fascinating. Her character was well developed and you get closer and closer to her as the story progresses.
This book kept me on my toes wondering what would happen next. I can’t imagine being Jess, the main character. Very suspenseful to the very end.