The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton will be published March 26, 2019. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
If you enjoyed You (either the novel by Caroline Kepnes or the Lifetime/Netflix series), then this novel could be a good next read for, well, you.
In The Perfect Girlfriend, Lily/Elizabeth/Juliette is obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, Nate, but she is giving him space. After all, that’s what he asked for when he broke up with her. She thought that they were destined to be together and was shocked when he asked her to move out, so she’s using that space to plan her return to his heart as well as revenge on his sister, the high-school bully who made her miserable.
This book is a tangled web and not all of the threads really weave together well. In particular, the backstory about a tragedy in Lily’s past is a bit extraneous. It does not really contribute to the character development or the plot and could have safely been edited out. The story also goes totally off the rails at the end. In the last 30ish pages, Lily/Juliette/Elizabeth goes so far in her pursuit of Nate that the result is very cringeworthy and unbelievable.
Nevertheless, this book is enjoyable in the way that a good Lifetime movie is. It’s not great, but it is plenty diverting when you just feel like snuggling under the covers and drinking tea. The story and characters are somewhat derivative of smash hits that came before The Perfect Girlfriend (Gone Girl, You, The Talented Mr. Ripley), but if you enjoyed those then you might really like this too. Although I am a bit tired of the disturbed, stalking, evil jilted woman character, I have to admit that I still like to see her at work. My favorite parts of this novel are when Juliette is schemeing. I liked seeing the pieces of the puzzle come together. She’ll do something devious and I’ll guess what she’s playing at, and then the result is often much worse than I thought. It’s fun and a little salacious and made a great read for a snowy weekend.