Different books are appropriate in different situations. Some books are best discussed in a classroom, some books are best read with a drink and an ocean view, some books are best enjoyed curled up on your own couch. Particular books should be assessed differently based on the purpose for which they are read.
The purpose of our Book Club Guides is to recommend books for your book club and provide guidance for discussion. This inaugural book guide focuses on Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.
Book Review: Plot, Pros and Cons
Luckiest Girl Alive is a 2015 bestselling novel by Jessica Knoll. The book, billed as a mystery novel, tells the story of TifAni FaNelli, a 28-year-old woman trying to reinvent herself to escape her traumatic past.
Luckiest Girl Alive make for a great summer read. It’s an entertaining page turner that will soon be a movie produced by Reese Witherspoon. (Book club rule of thumb: if Reese Witherspoon recommended it, your book club will probably enjoy it.)
This book does plenty of things well. The story is engrossing and keeps you turning those pages. Most of the reviews inside the cover describe it as a combination of Gone Girl and Mean Girls, which seems to be a fair assessment.
In the novel, TifAni, or Ani, tries to invent a perfect new life in New York City to close the book on her disturbing teenage years at a private school in Pennsylvania. The story is told in first person by TifAni, who provides a strong narrative voice for an initially unlikable narrator.
She works as a magazine editor, has a closet full of designer clothes, a wealthy fiance, and a cruel stream of consciousness — and all she seems to care about is what other people think of her.
The narration successfully brings the reader inside TifAni’s consciousness, making it an engrossing read. TifAni is callous and materialistic at best, and a dislike for her helps keeps the reader curious about what happened in her past and if she can be liberated in her present.
Additionally, the book’s various topics and themes help generate plenty of discussion. Half of the novel takes place during TifAni’s high school years, which brings up a variety of topics such as bullying and teacher-student relationships. Even if your book club doesn’t enjoy the story, you’ll find plenty to talk about based on the ideas it presents.
However, there is an abundance of foreshadowing regarding the big event from TifAni’s past from which she is trying to escape. It’s hinted at so often that the reader may grow a bit annoyed. You may have to hold yourself back from shouting at the book: “Just tell me already!”
Further, while the strong narrative voice does help pull the reader in, some might find TifAni too unlikable. When this is the case, the reader tends to become disengaged, not caring quite enough about the protagonist’s tale.
Here we have a few topics of discussion for your book club. In the interest of not spoiling any of the story for those who haven’t read yet, we’ve provided some general discussion topics and opted only to ask questions that wouldn’t reveal too much of the plot.
- Discuss TifAni’s character development. Do you sympathize with her? Why or why not? Did your feelings about her change as the story developed?
- Did you have any idea what the event from TifAni’s past would be? Were you surprised?
- Discuss the issue of bullying in schools today.
- Why is the role of teachers in students’ lives.
- Share some of your high school experiences.
Overall, Luckiest Girl Alive will keep your book club talking.
Like many book club friendly tales, it even comes with a set of discussion questions at the end of the book (and plenty more online). At any rate, between its plot, themes, characters, and prose, it’s a novel worth the read with plenty for your book club to delve into and discuss.
Have you read Luckiest Girl Alive? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading! Cheers!