I purchased The Perfect Girl at an airport newsstand because I’d heard good things about What She Knew, Ms. Macmillan’s previous novel. I ended up staying up really late finishing it the day after I bought it (I’m probably the only person who got 5 hours of sleep in Vegas not because of the gambling or the drinking, but because I wanted to finish a book).
However, even though I really enjoyed reading the book, I don’t actually think I liked the book. It is written the way many books seem to be these days (and I enjoy it) – something has happened, we go back in time and forward in time to get some glimpses and start to put together the Real Story. In this one, a teen named Zoe is a piano prodigy, and is performing a concert with her step-brother when someone comes into the church and screams at her. We quickly learn he is the father of someone Zoe killed – accidentally – a couple of years ago.
We also learn that by the end of the night Zoe’s mother will be dead.
We get chapters from the point of view of at least five characters, and the storytelling is engaging. But in the end, I kind of didn’t care that much, and found one of the storylines completely useless, and another a bit of a … I want to say cliché, but that’s not right. Honestly it felt a little like what I might do if I were writing a story when I was in middle school. Basically, one of the characters uses a film script to convey autobiographical information to another character. But there’s no need for it.
This is a fine time killer, and might even suck you in, but it’s nowhere near as interesting as other similar books, such as pretty much any in Liane Moriarty’s body of work.