book review: An Anonymous Girl by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I always appreciate the opportunity!

While I don’t believe that An Anonymous Girl is the “tour de force” that so many are touting it to be, it’s certainly entertaining. While I didn’t find it ‘unputdownable’, I did think the premise was intriguing, and I wanted to know what would happen. 

An Anonymous Girl (written by the writing team of Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks), takes us into two worlds. One: the world of Jessica, a struggling makeup artist in New York City, who works to help support her family and specifically, her sister, who is differently abled and requires additional care. When Jessica inadvertently hears about a psychological study being performed by a renowned New York psychologist, she sneaks her way in, attracted by the money on offer. Labeled as “Subject 52”, Jessica finds herself in a barren room, answering questions on a single laptop. Questions about morality, about judgment, about the tough choices we make, day in and day out.

The second world belongs to Dr. Shields, who is running the study, and who becomes singularly focused on Jessica and invites her for further “examination”. Dr. Shields is ostensibly fascinating, but Pekkanen and Hendricks lay this on way too thick – her “spicy” perfume and the fact that she likes shawls are presented as intricate layers of character development. 

As their two worlds intersect and collide, it becomes clear that the study isn’t quite what it seems, and that Jessica may be in over her head…

Saying any more would spoil the unveilings that occur, and I do think this tale is worth reading till the end. A few personal quibbles – I didn’t find Jessica all that sympathetic, and I thought she was idiotic for trusting such a creepy doctor and such an invasive “study” – every instinct would be telling her to run in the other direction since it was so odd from the get-go. Hendricks and Pekkanen would have been better served to dial down the creep factor until Jessica was already fully embroiled. I also hated how much she ignored her dog (she was NEVER home…), how she treated Noah, and how little she learned by the end. 

BUT it’s not like I have to be best friends with her. I also think the book would have benefited from tighter editing. However, the story itself is certainly engrossing, and I see why it’s popular. 

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