My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 21st, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Ambition
I love, absolutely LOVE, reading about ambitious women. In the context of this book, we’re talking about women who put their careers before anything else—romances, friends and even family members. Because not everyone can do it. Putting something above anything else requires sacrifice. Strength. Knowing what you want from and in life and going for it and not stopping until you reach your goal.
If what you want is a husband and children and you do everything and ANYTHING to have them and work hard on maintaining a good relationship with them, FABULOUS. That’s ambition, too. But if you want a husband and children and don’t go on dates or give good guys a chance, and yet every night you pout and whine and wonder why a woman like you can’t have what so many others do, well that’s not being AMBITIOUS.
What we have here is a young woman (Violet) who is used to being in her best friend (Stella)’s shadow. Until, one day, she has had enough. No more waiting around for texts to come. No more wondering how to capture Stella’s attention. No more performing actions for the sake of HOLDING Stella’s attention. She wants her own life. Her own shadow. And does get it, because ambition produces concrete results. But when she is forced in Stella’s shadow again, her ambition takes her down a dark path…
I have read the author’s debut novel THE FUTURES and enjoyed it very much. This is different though. In her debut, Anna Pitoniak’s female characters were strong, but here they are FIERCE. They are talented, they are snarky, they are annoying and blunt and sometimes weird and unsmiling and selfish and spoiled and so on. And yet… boy did I admire them. Even those that cared about what people thought of them had a fire inside them. Even the ones that fit the category of ‘‘villains’’ won my respect.
You know what doesn’t win my respect? People who try hard to please other people. People who act like it’s their job to make another person happy. People who don’t realize that they deserve more in life than to be in someone’s shadow or to follow orders that had no business being given. So I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the narrator who often pretends to be the good girl or doesn’t stand up for herself. But one thing I really loved about this story was how it welcomed shades of grey. Nothing is as simple as either wrong or right. You have to look at the whole picture, and the author does a great job of developing it.
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