Luckiest Girl Alive is a very popular book right now. It’s on the New York Times Bestseller list and there are a lot of holds on it. I was very excited when the book came in for me because I really wanted to read it. Overall, I thought that the book was well written and I enjoyed it. Since the main character, TifAni (Ani) grew up in the late 90s and early 2000ss I got a lot of the references that she made in the book. I thought that was a cool element.
I really enjoyed the technique that the author, Jessica Knoll, used which was to alternate chapters between Ani’s past and present lives. This helped me to better understand Ani and why she is the way that she is. Ani is a sex columnist for The Woman’s Magazine and lives in New York. She enjoys the prestige and clout that comes with her job, but she wants more for herself than writing about sex. She eventually wants to work for The New York Times. Ani is engaged to Luke Harrison, and he is very rich. Ani loves what Luke’s lifestyle can offer her and the opportunity to change her last name, but in actuality she doesn’t want to marry Luke.
Ani’s obsession with changing her name is a theme in the book. She doesn’t like to go by TifAni anymore as it is a reminder of her past life. She looks forward to the day when she becomes Ani Harrison so she can put TifAni FaNelli and what happened to her behind her. Ani has had a rough life. We learn that one night at a party during her freshman year of high school that she was raped by three of her classmates. It changed her dramatically. She was so desperate to fit in with the popular crowd and these guys were in the popular crowd. In fact, Ani actually had a crush on Liam, one of the rapists, at the time. Even after the incident, she still liked him, which I didn’t understand at all.
The guys of course made it out to not be a big deal and because Ani had been drinking at the time just joked that things “got wild” at the party. It was just disgusting that Ani had to see these guys every day and had to act like nothing happened. One of the guys, Dean, assaulted her weeks later at a friend’s sleepover after he tried to rape Ani again. After this incident is when the popular crowd ostracized her.
I was grateful for these flashbacks because it helped me to have a better understanding of Ani. Without this background information, I probably wouldn’t have liked Ani as a character because of how she acts in her present life. She was very snobby and sometimes downright rude. At the same time, though, I found myself feeling bad for her because of what she had to endure. I now understand why Ani puts on this facade; because she has to keep up this persona so she doesn’t break down. Plus a lot of the other characters, including Luke, aren’t very empathetic to what she went through. For him, it’s easier to act like it never happened to Ani.
Also, the back and forth help to explain why Ani is going back home to Pennsylvania, which is so she can participate in a documentary about a school shooting that took place at her high school. She was one of the survivors. The shooters were Ben and Arthur, two kids who were considered outcasts at the school. Ani was friends with Arthur until they had an argument a few weeks prior to the shooting.
The shooting part of the novel was a surprise to me because I felt like, wow, Ani had been through enough already and then this happens. It was definitely hard to read and it also felt very familiar because of all of the school shootings that have taken place in recent years.
Overall, I thought that the book was a good read and I can see why it is so popular. However, I did not enjoy the ending. I hated it actually. It made sense but I felt that there could have been more. I came this far on this journey with Ani just for this underwhelming ending. I would still recommend reading Luckiest Girl Alive. If you can find an available copy in our catalog consider yourself lucky. If you’ve read the book already and either enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the ending let us know in the comments below!