The Perfect Girl (Hardcover)
William Morrow, 9780062567482, 464pp.
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew returns with an electrifying new novel about how the past will always find us...
"Literary suspense at its finest.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Baby
“A wonderfully addictive book with virtuoso plotting and characters - for anyone who loved Girl on the Train, it’s a must read.”
— Rosamund Lupton
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.
About the Author
Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of What She Knew, The Perfect Girl, Odd Child Out, I Know You Know, and The Nanny. She resides in Bristol, England.
Praise For The Perfect Girl: A Novel…
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With tightly drawn characters, a fascinating storyline and absolutely exquisite narration, The Perfect Girl is sure to keep readers up all night. Gilly Macmillan proves once again to be a master of the written word and is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors. Literary suspense at its finest.”
— Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author
“I DEVOURED The Perfect Girl. An incredible page turner with awesome characters and suspense. Bravo.”
— Kate White, New York Times bestselling author
“Macmillan captivates readers with a story just as addictive as her first… [and] shines when exploring the intricacies of relationships… Fans of Tana French, Ruth Ware, and Gillian Flynn will become completely entrenched in the unfolding details.”
“A compelling read for fans of psychological suspense.”
— Library Journal review of THE PERFECT GIRL
“Gilly Macmillan (What She Knew) deftly explores the intricacies of relationships and the bonds that tie families all while ratcheting up the suspense in this page-turning thriller.”
— Real Simple magazine
“With lovely prose, depth of character and an intelligent narrative, Macmillan lifts the level of suspense with stiletto-like precision: a tiny graze here, a shallow cut there and, eventually, a thrust into the heart. At once profoundly unsettling and richly rewarding.”
— Richmond Times-Dispatch
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What advantages do Zoe’s abilities give her? Can you understand why Maria pushed her daughter musically? What responsibility do you think parents have to a child showing strong aptitude for something? What is fostering and what is pushing too hard?
2. Zoe makes a very difficult decision towards the end of The Perfect Girl, one that will certainly have significant and long-lasting consequences both for herself and others. Do you think she did the right thing? How much sympathy do you have for her?
3. To what extent do you think of Maria as a victim, or as somebody who is deliberately deceiving others?
4. What does the character of Zoe’s solicitor add to the novel?
5. What is the importance of music and its redemptive power in the novel?
6. At the end of the book both Tess and Richard seem to have an inkling that Zoe has deceived everybody but they don’t discuss this. Do you think they will talk about it eventually, and work out what might have happened and, if so, what do you think they’ll do as a result?
7. Lucas is a quiet character. How do you feel about him? Do you think he’ll thrive in his new family, or could he be in danger of ultimately remaining loyal to his father and telling the truth about what happened?
8. A number of novels deal with the burden of a deadly secret – how well do you think this idea is handled in The Perfect Girl?
9. Do you recognize some of the pressures that the family find themselves under more generally? Is that urge to keep up with others, to be a successful unit, to put on a good show familiar to you?
10. ‘My mother: who never talks about what really matters…’ How far is this question explored in the book?
The ending is both satisfying for Zoe and enigmatic – how successful do you think it is, and do you think Chris deserved what happened to him at the end?