An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I’m making my way through my backlog of books I read during Thanksgiving break, and I can’t believe that I haven’t shared this one yet. It’s a thriller for a thriller reader, the kind that keeps you up at night with more questions than answers.


Title: An Anonymous Girl {375 pages}

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: January 8, 2019


Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?


2018 was my big year of thrillers, mysteries, and horror, and I’m happy to report I didn’t read one book that I disliked. Amazing, I know. Still, out of all those books that I did read, An Anonymous Girl stood out, because, frankly, it made my brain hurt.

I cannot be the only one who reads mysteries and thrillers and shouts out every new accusation that pops into my mind, right? Good, because I did a lot of yelling during An Anonymous Girl. It was one twist after another, but with great hindsight, the twists were always there, I just chose to ignore the truth laid out in front of me. Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen take you by the hand and lead you down a path, showing you the sights, giving you hints, until you’re ready to declare that you know everything. Then they shove you violently off that path and you’re left in the dark, wondering how you didn’t see this coming. They gave you all the clues, remember?

I quickly fell into Jess. She’s a hardworking twentysomething with bills to pay and a family that needs her help. When she stumbles – sort of – across an opportunity to make a little extra cash, she jumps on it. When that opportunity turns into something more, with a promise of a bigger payout, of course Jess is going to take it. It’s such a simple thing – running a few errands, answering some questions, making a few questionable moves – that it seems almost too good to be true.

And what’s that saying about something that’s too good to be true?

Jess ends up tangled in a world of lies and deceit, and she has no idea who to trust. She wants to continue working with Dr. Shields because the money is fantastic and it’s not like Dr. Shields is asking her to hurt anyone. Or, at least, that’s what Jess believe for awhile. Even when Jess meets Noah, she believes that she’ll be able to continue working for Dr. Shields and maybe cultivate a relationship with the cute boy from the bar. Of course, she’s going to have to tell him her real name for that to happen.

What’s even worse is that the reader is pulling into this tangle, too, and so trusting any of the characters you come across seems like a bad idea. And yet. Jess only wants to make some money so that her parents don’t have to take on the heavy load of caring – and paying exclusively – for their disabled daughter. Dr. Shields seems like she’s trying to do good in this world by setting firm boundaries regarding morals. Thomas, her estranged husband, although introduced badly, appears to be trying to make a better life with his wife. In reality, none of them are doing a bit of good, and there are some points in the story where none of them seem to care about the damage that they’re inflicting on the ones that they supposedly love.

Let’s be honest here, though: Noah is the only one of the bunch that deserves all of our praise.

Everyone in this world of An Anonymous Girl is dangerous and looking for the upper hand. Jess appears to be caught in the middle of the strangest, most dangerous tug-of-war in history, but that’s what I love most about her: she might just end up with the entire rope.

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