Review By Gabrielle

Perfect Little Lives is a psychological thriller that highlights the lengths people will go to in order to maintain their image.

Favourite Quote:

The moment you realize you have caused someone emotional distress is so surreal. You want to deny it at first, you want to defend yourself, you want to tell them you never meant to hurt them. But it’s all futile. What’s done will always be done.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Simone’s mother was murdered when she was thirteen. When her father was convicted, everything changed. Overnight, Simone went from living in a wealthy white neighborhood to scraping by.

Ten years later, Simone has given up on her dreams and lives a quiet life, writing book reviews and getting serious with her boyfriend. But with a true crime documentarian hounding her for a scoop and a surprise encounter with her childhood next-door neighbor, Hunter, the past seems set on haunting her. And after Hunter reveals that his father and her mother had a years-long affair, Simone is determined to find out who really killed her mother.

Simone is convinced that all evidence points to Hunter’s father, a renowned judge who had everything to lose if his affair—and his nascent love child—came to light. Playing the game from all sides, Simone enlists Hunter’s help in her investigation into his family—whether he realizes it or not. But is she so desperate for closure that she’ll risk imploding her carefully rebuilt life?

I’ll just come right out and say it – this book wasn’t for me. It’s just not the kind of mystery I like. I was expecting something a little more twisty and fast-paced. It’s more of a slow burn as we follow Simone’s life, with a deep look into how she’s feeling about everything. 

That being said, I liked several things about it, so I’ll focus on those. Simone’s experience growing up Black in a wealthy white neighbourhood is a highlight of this book for me. It’s heartbreaking the things her family experiences, and I do not doubt that Black families continue to experience in real-life neighbourhoods everywhere. There was a moment in the book when Simone returns to her old neighbourhood for the first time in years, and there are signs up everywhere for a missing dog. She recalls how when her mother disappeared, it seemed no one cared. These people care more about a missing dog than a missing Black woman. It was a very poignant moment that struck me hard. 

This book really got me thinking and that’s always a good thing. There are several obstacles that Simone has to overcome to get to the truth about what happened to her mother. It had me pondering our justice system and how things are handled, how unfair the system is, particularly if your skin is not white. Although this is fiction, I know thousands of people have experiences very similar to Simone and her family.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers that get deep into a character’s mind, try Perfect Little Lives.

Thank you, HarperCollins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.