Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Book of the Month
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
This book is a tense psychological thriller that made my heart race.
Jessica Farris is a New York City young professional struggling to pay the bills and support her family, when the opportunity to be a paid participant in a study presents itself. The money is easy, and soon Jess finds herself becoming more involved as the payouts grow and her attachment to Dr. Shields builds. But as Jess becomes more and more uncomfortable with Dr. Shields bizarre requests, she also finds it harder to distance herself from the manipulative psychiatrist. She soon finds herself caught in a dangerous web of deception, with the livelihood of both herself and the people she loves at stake.
The first half (though enjoyable) didn’t “hook me in”. I found myself picking it up, reading a few chapters, then moving on to something else. After putting this book down at the midway point and not touching it for a week, I picked it back up and finished the last half in one sitting. The last half was definitely the strongest, but the build-up is what made the ending so tense and fast-paced.
The perspective alternates between the first-person perspective of Jess and the second-person perspective of Dr. Shields (using “you” as if everything in her head is being told to Jessica, even when she isn’t around). Dr. Shields is a truly terrifying character. She thinks in such a methodical and analytical way that it’s hard to see her as anything but a complete psychopath (albeit a very observant and intelligent one). Every page with her on it is wrought with tension.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and domestic suspense, this is the book for you.