Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan 

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: September 6, 2016

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller 

Goodreads blurb: 

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.

In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all. 


Even though this is being touted as yet another novel amongst the likes of The Girl On The Train and Gone Girl (sigh, this really needs to stop!) it really doesn’t pack the same punch as those two books did. However, it is still a deeply compelling and altogether addictive and magnetic read.

I started this book yesterday evening and finished in almost twenty four hours, ironic in a way as the book takes place over a twenty four hour period as well. I’ve seen people say they were displeased with the multiple narratives that are used to tell this story but I found it to be a rather skilled way to tell the story. It wasn’t confusing as each chapter is labeled with who is sharing their part and it allowed the reader to see what is happening from every angle. The chapters were rapid enough to keep me saying, oh go on just one more chapter Amy! But revealed just enough relevant information to keep me completely focused and interested.

Everyone in this book is complicated in some way which always makes for a stimulating read. Zoe and Maria are living what Maria refers to as their Second Chance Life after Zoe has spent time in detention after a tragic accident that killed three of her friends. Keeping this secret is paramount to ensuring their new life doesn’t unravel as Chris and Lucas, Zoe’s stepdad and stepbrother know nothing of her past. The night that Maria is killed, but before her unfortunate death, buried secrets threaten to surface, leaving Maria especially frantic and unglued. It seems you really can’t hide from the past…

Right from the start, Zoe’s second chance family gave off an uneasiness and creepiness as things were portrayed to be just a bit too perfect to be believable. I loved the whole, there’s more than meets the eye aspect of this dark family. All of the characters fascinated me even if I didn’t care for some of them, but I especially sympathized with Zoe. She’s such a young fragile thing it was impossible not to feel sorry for her.

Macmillan is a skilled storyteller that crafted a set of circumstances that while not exactly thrilling, were alluring nonetheless. If you’re looking for the next heart pounding thriller, this probably won’t do it for you, but if you’re looking for a tale of a complicated family full of secrets that still has many mysterious aspects, give this one a try.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Harper Collins for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

15 thoughts on “Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan 

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