The Perfect Girl is a story about how 15-years old prodigy Zoe caused a horrible car accident leading to death of 3 teenagers. After serving her time, Zoe and her mother try to build new life with new names, new town and new family.
This is all going well with her perfect step-father Chris and his son Lucas, but when Lucas and Zoe perform together on a piano concert, this all falls apart, as her old life finds her again.
Later that night somebody murders her mother.
As the story goes on we find out it had to be someone from the family, due to some blood found inside the house. So now’s the question: which family member did it?
We read how the night went, hour from hour, through the eyes of Zoe, now 17-years old, her mother’s sister Tessa, Zoe’s former lawyer Sam, and Tessa’s husband Richard.
When Zoe was 15, she went to a party with her friend to Zoe’s boyfriend house. When her friend started feeling sick, Zoe offered to give her a ride home, despite not having a driving license, but she was the only one sober there. Her boyfriend and his sister came to the car as well and as Zoe is coming to the friend’s house, she suddenly started to feel intense sickness and crushed a car. She was the only one who survived.
At the night of piano concert, father of a dead girl recognizes Zoe and makes a scene. (They accidentally made a concert on the memorial of the dead kids from accident. I mean, what are the odds.) All family drives home, Zoe’s mother Maria has some explaining to do to her husband Chris, who had no idea what happened to Zoe in past, they have huge fight and Zoe goes to sleep. Later she finds out her mother was found dead in front of a house.
We soon learn that Chris is not just imperfect, but rather scary and abusive. (He literally called Zoe a whore for laughing.)
Lucas spends all night convincing Zoe to read a script he wrote and sent on her email, because it’s about something important. Also he kissed Zoe. That was weird… He was a weird kid.
Tessa is telling us a story about how she tried to calm Maria down and complains about her terrible alcoholic husband Richard, who she is cheating on with Zoes’ lawyer Sam. („His alcoholism made me cheat on him.“) Girl, just divorce him.
Sam is trying to convince us he is essentially important for this story too. Even though he’s not. He’s just cute and irrelevant.
Richard was probably my favourite character from this book, because he was the only one who was acting like an actual human being. (Expect for his self-realization in the end, but I can forgive this one.) I like how Tessa described him as a horrible human being and I actually found him more likeable than her.
It really felt like YA novel, because it was very simple and comparing it to Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins is really inaccurate.
We don’t get explanation of some quite important things, the tension was dragged for way too long („I can’t read this mail from Lucas because of internet connection problems.“ 200 pages later: „It still hasn’t loaded“ smh). The ending was expected, slightly disappointing, the characters were too flat, BUT it was a light reading and not at all terrible. Just disappointing.
3/5 but don’t spend too much money on it.