The Perfect Girl was written by the same author as What She Knew and I was pleasantly surprised that her novels seem to be improving! Zoe was a convicted killer who tried to fit into a normal life after being released from a juvenile facility. When her mother suddenly died, her past came back to haunt her. This was a great family drama with several twists at the end, but it started a little slowly. First off, the description of this just didn’t do it justice.
There were several subplots and lots of narrations, which didn’t make much sense at the beginning. Slowly, the pasts of each character begin to make sense of how they reacted to the grisly scene surrounding Maria’s death. By the end, I appreciated the information because it provided the motivations for the characters’ ultimate decisions, which all culminated in a solid ending. This had a very thoughtful plot that used each character to create a well crafted story.
I liked Zoe as the protagonist because her high IQ (above even Einstein’s) made her a methodical and analytical youngster, but her age and criminal history made adults underestimate her. That made her a complex character who was intriguing to follow. Zoe was a piano prodigy and was performing a concert when the father of one of her victims made a scene in the middle of her piece. That raucous caused Chris, her new step father, to learn about her background. Chris was furious that Zoe’s mother, Maria, hadn’t told him about Zoe’s history prior to their recent nuptials. By the end of the night, Maria was dead and the police were suspicious of Zoe again.
The narration of police officer Sam helped describe Zoe’s experience with the law a year ago, and Zoe’s aunt Tessa provided some family background, but neither of their narratives were especially exciting. It seemed they were more for informational purposes. Another part of the book was a script written by Chris’ son, Lucas, who also lived with Zoe, Maria and Chris and Maria’s new baby, Grace. The script was written from the perspective of Lucas’ deceased mother and told of her marriage to Chris filled with terror and physical violence. Initially I thought the script was odd and out of place, but by the end, I recognized saw value to the quirkiness of it and liked that it was a different way for a character obsessed with film to tell a story.
This is one of those novels where the end justified the means. I was happy with the ending even though it probably wouldn’t satisfy someone who needs absolute justice. I consider this a fantastic read!