As a Psychology Student, I found An Anonymous Girl, to be very intriguing.
An Anonymous Girl, is about a young makeup artist who decides to take part in a psychology professor's research study on ethics. However, the questions asked seem to be very personal in nature, and as time goes on, the questions and requests only get more and more strange and invasive. The Professor eventually becomes very entangled in the main character, Jess' life and vice versa. Jess starts to question Dr. Shield's intentions. This novel focuses on a research study on ethics, but the story that takes place out of the lab, will leave you with many questions regarding morality as well.
The Psychology Factor
As a psychology student, I was immediately intrigued when I picked up the book at the book store. (Although first, I admittedly googled what psychological thrillers I should read). One thing that I can say, is that the theme of psychology (and ethics) is very, very prevalent. Perhaps, so prevalent It could be considered a little redundant. I am unsure about whether the authors had any background in psychology, but they have loaded the novel with information on studies and cases that actually exist. The dual perspective of the Professor and Jess is very intriguing, however in almost every chapter that involves Dr. Shields perspective there is some comment on psychology and a study done or something of the nature. It is as if the authors tried to load as much information of psychology into the novel as possible. I enjoyed hearing about studies (the majority of which I knew about already),but at times I also felt sort of tired from hearing about so much. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I already knew about these cases, or maybe it was just because It seemed unnecessary to constantly point out the fact that the doctor knew so much about psychology.
Regardless of this, the plot of the story was quite intriguing, and it did include a few twists which I will get into later. One thing I will mention, is that I enjoyed how Jess started to psycho-analyze her researcher at the end, as if there was a complete paradigm shift. This was a huge game of cat and mouse, and towards the end, the subject becomes the researcher. I would definitely say that this novel deserves it's label of a psychological thriller, and although it's not the fastest paced novel, I would say from the middle onward, things start to speed up immensely, and really begin to play with your head as you start putting pieces together.
One very obvious theme throughout the story is ethics, and the irony of the lack of it. I won't spoil the plot, but I will say that the story largely deals with deceit and false pretenses. I personally enjoy any story that manages to successfully make something seemingly clear, into something extremely complicated and twisted. There is a lot of questionable intentions, and the facade that each character puts up, will keep you guessing. This story delves into some very deep situations, and begs the question of whether or not a personal is moral if they did something terrible but never had the intention to. (Which is also a large part of philosophy). Also, on whether or not a person is immoral if they are just acting in response to something immoral that happened to them.
I personally, cannot truly enjoy a story unless there is time taken to address the multiple layers of characters. I like a story to be realistic, and in real life, people are not two dimensional. I also like the characters to leave you to your own interpretations. I would definitely say that the main character Jess, is looked at through a lot of scrutiny. This could be partly due to the fact that there is a perspective from her, but also Dr. Shields. She has a multi layered personality, and faces several issues that get discussed throughout the novel. I would also argue that Dr. Shields has a lot of different layers to her personality, and if you read it you will see why. The dual perspective is very helpful in unraveling the characters.
A good psychological thriller will include some twists and turns that leave you feeling shocked, and questioning the true intentions of those around you for days. I have read some other reviews on the novel ,both before and after reading it, and some people mentioned feeling completely shocked. There are probably around two or three twists in this novel, and the one that really got me wasn't even at the end: it was in the middle. However, the twists at the end really did surprise me in the sense that it kept me guessing up until the last minute. Once you are finally given enough information to start to formulate possible scenarios in your head, that is when the story starts to grip you and leave you asking questions. Will the answer surprise you?
I say yes.
Overall, if you are looking for a good novel with a unique concept and plenty of twists I would recommend this novel. I have read so many psychological thrillers and this novel definitely stands up. The multi layered characters and plot twists create an insatiable intrigue, and it will make you read non stop until you have the answers you came for.