By Gill Macmillan
Published by Piatkus (22 September 2016)
To everyone who knows her now, Zoe Maisey - child genius, musical sensation - is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she's free.
Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life.
By midnight, her mother is dead.
The Perfect Girl is a fascinating portrayal of Zoe, a gifted teenager whose tragic past haunts her every waking moment. It's also a whodunnit, investigating the death of Zoe's mother.
This is a very intense read, with a strong focus on characterisation, as the story is narrated from the perspective of several different characters. It's beautifully written with vivid descriptions and powerful dialogue. The short chapters keep up the fast pace, while drip-feeding little snippets of information about not only Zoe's past but also her step-father and step-brother. There are several dark themes, including family secrets, domestic violence and teenage bullying.
The book is very enjoyable, although it didn't quite thrill me in the same way as the author's first book, Burnt Paper Sky. I found The Perfect Girl to be more of a slow burning study of family dynamics, and how one tragic mistake can influence your future. It's certainly emotional and full of surprises, and leaves you thinking.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.