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My Sweet Girl

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Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you… Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she'll never live up to them. Now at thirty Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you… Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she'll never live up to them. Now at thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America—that is until Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country. Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there's no body—and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?


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Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you… Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she'll never live up to them. Now at thirty Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you… Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she'll never live up to them. Now at thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America—that is until Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country. Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there's no body—and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

30 review for My Sweet Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa This dual timeline story introduces us to thirty year old Paloma, adopted daughter of wealthy parents, formerly a Sri Lankan orphan. Adoption gave Paloma everything that money could buy and she has tried her best to stay in the good graces of her adoptive parents. Paloma was willing to do anything to escape the Sri Lankan orphanage, the abuses there, and the possible worse abuses once she aged out of the orphanage. Now her parents have cut her off, her roommate My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa This dual timeline story introduces us to thirty year old Paloma, adopted daughter of wealthy parents, formerly a Sri Lankan orphan. Adoption gave Paloma everything that money could buy and she has tried her best to stay in the good graces of her adoptive parents. Paloma was willing to do anything to escape the Sri Lankan orphanage, the abuses there, and the possible worse abuses once she aged out of the orphanage. Now her parents have cut her off, her roommate claims he knows her secret, and Paloma is going off the rails, mentally and emotionally. It doesn't help that she finds her roommate dead and then his body disappears. In fact, it seems several people in her life are missing and she can't find answers, especially because the police don't seem to think she's on the up and up. Actually, Paloma is hiding a lot of secrets, one building on another. It won't help if her way of bringing in money is discovered...what she does for money puts her in contact with the dregs of society. She has even gotten a stalker out of her shady business dealings. She's getting professional help for her mental problems but the prescription drugs she takes don't mix well at all with all the alcohol she drinks. Then there are the hallucinations, unless the ghost is real. On the surface, this seems like it could be an interesting thriller but I think it's more a character study of a possibly unreliable narrator. There is the supernatural element of the story but it all doesn't fit well with the rest of the story, which seems to have trouble finding it's identity. I wanted to sympathize with Paloma but she's such a critical, judgmental person and the more I thought I knew about her, the less I wanted to know her. I think the cover of this book is beautiful and I liked being able to picture the main character because of it. The cover is what drew me to the book, as much as the synopsis. I know the story will appeal to a lot of readers even though it didn't click with me as much as I would have liked. Published September 14th 2021 Thank you to Elisha, Berkley, and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Happy pub day to this mind blowing debut! Oh my...oh...my...oh....my...argh! This...is...freaking...fantastic... I proudly announce the best of the best debut of the year! This is smart! This is cunning! So twisty, so mind bending, so deliciously dark, vicious, outstandingly unputdownable! There are too many jaw dropping twists! I guessed the big one in the middle of the book! But the ending...oh that freaking, WTH ending is truly unexpected punch on my face! My spider senses could never ever ca Happy pub day to this mind blowing debut! Oh my...oh...my...oh....my...argh! This...is...freaking...fantastic... I proudly announce the best of the best debut of the year! This is smart! This is cunning! So twisty, so mind bending, so deliciously dark, vicious, outstandingly unputdownable! There are too many jaw dropping twists! I guessed the big one in the middle of the book! But the ending...oh that freaking, WTH ending is truly unexpected punch on my face! My spider senses could never ever caught it! I’m still soooo shocked! I’m still smiling! The author fooled me twice and shame on me!!! The story is divided between two time lines and two countries : 18 years ago at Sri Lankan orphanage and present time/ San Francisco-CA We’re introduced to Paloma who has been adopted by her American parents from her Sri Lankan orphanage when she’s 14! If she hasn’t been saved by them ,next year she may have sent to St. Margaret’s to endure the tortures of Sister Cynthia who knew how to create pain with her cane just like other 15 years old orphans ! But thankfully Evans family took her under their wing and gave her an opportunity to start over at the US with welcoming her with open arms. But now she’s in her early thirties, suffering from psychological problems, selling her dirty pantries on the internet for balancing her finances, mixing drinks with drugs, having blackouts and the worst part is she has been keeping a big secret for years which is already found out her roommate Arun who already started blackmailing her! The same day she is adamant to confront him she finds him dead at his room lying in a blood bath. As soon as she sees his body, she freaks out, dashing out from her apartment. Then she passes out at the stairwell. When the police officers come to search her place the corpse of Arun is nowhere to be seen. What the actually heck? Did she see another hallucination again? At CCTV records, they haven’t found something suspicious. The officers advise her to stay at somewhere else for a while if she feels she’s in danger so she moves to her parents’ house temporarily but her mind keeps playing games with her or someone is already targeted her to mess with her blurry mind! Who knows? When you deal with unreliable narrator you never know who you’re gonna believe. Especially a narrator is so agitated, negative, seeing the worst of people, acting too bitchy around anyone who wants to help her or befriend her. She’s so self destructive and when we read the flashback parts at Sri Lanka, we think we may make sense why she is turned into a person she is now. But from the beginning we know she might have done something so terrible which make her suffer from guilt feelings for years and we flip the pages so fast to find out! What can I say? Our past always has a way of catching up to us. Whatever will be, will be. But I’m telling you my friends, pay attention what you’re reading and be ready to get shocked! This is freaking best, fresh, extraordinary thing I’ve lately read! I’m one hundred percent recommend this amazing book! Absolutely this is the best debut of the year! I’m giving my highly earned, surprising, unexpected, riveting, cunning, wow just wow, five gazillion stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing For sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    “Que sera, sera Whatever will be, will be The future's not ours to see Que sera, sera” I guarantee you will have that earworm in your head while reading this. I thought my future looked bright when I decided to read this, but it wasn’t mine to see, and whatever was, was. Paloma grew up in a Sri Lankan orphanage. She was eventually adopted by the perfect Mr. and Mrs. from America, and looked forward to her new life in California. 18 years later, she’s struggling with funds since she’s not getting her “Que sera, sera Whatever will be, will be The future's not ours to see Que sera, sera” I guarantee you will have that earworm in your head while reading this. I thought my future looked bright when I decided to read this, but it wasn’t mine to see, and whatever was, was. Paloma grew up in a Sri Lankan orphanage. She was eventually adopted by the perfect Mr. and Mrs. from America, and looked forward to her new life in California. 18 years later, she’s struggling with funds since she’s not getting her parents’ money anymore. She has a roommate named Arun, who is living with her and paying cash ‘under the table’. Unfortunately for Paloma, Arun finds out her deepest and darkest secret, and blackmails her in return for his silence. Before Paloma can pay him off, she finds his dead body in her apartment. Before the police can come and investigate, his body and all evidence of death is gone. Further events confirm that this ties back to Paloma and the orphanage in Sri Lanka, but she has no idea what people will do to expose her secret. The story is told in alternating timelines between Sri Lanka and California...18 years back and forth. I usually love the separate timelines, but one reads like YA and moves extremely slow, and the present is entertaining...but also slow. I think a lot of your enjoyment will be dependent on your feelings for the twist. I guessed it at one point, but then set it aside since that would’ve left too many plot holes in the story. Well, the twist I guessed was correct. And I was still left scratching my head a bit because I still had questions when all was said and done. I think satisfaction will also depend on how much you like Paloma. Abrasive and nasty? Or alone and misunderstood? I couldn’t fully buy into all of it. Another problem for me was that I wasn’t sure what this story wanted to be. Is it a thriller? Is it a domestic drama? Is it paranormal? There was a lot going on...and yet it slow-crawled through the “increasing suspense” department. Despite that, I was hooked and committed to see it through. Debut author Amanda Jayatissa knows how to write and move a story from beginning to middle to end. While there are promising moments of suspense, I don’t think this reached its’ full potential. Plenty of readers have loved this book, so please check out other reviews. It could be a me thing. 2.5 stars Thank you to Berkley for sending me a widget for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Available: 9/14/21. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    A brash, agitated, moody and hot mess of an unreliable narrator - Paloma (not the sweet girl you might think) Alternating chapters with two timelines - One is of Paloma's past in a Sri Lankan orphanage and then we have the present after she is adopted by an American family. She is now thirty and living in San Francisco, her parents have cut off her funds and her roommate, Arun has learned her darkest secret. Things aren't going well for Paloma.... *She comes home to find Arun's dead body. *She flees A brash, agitated, moody and hot mess of an unreliable narrator - Paloma (not the sweet girl you might think) Alternating chapters with two timelines - One is of Paloma's past in a Sri Lankan orphanage and then we have the present after she is adopted by an American family. She is now thirty and living in San Francisco, her parents have cut off her funds and her roommate, Arun has learned her darkest secret. Things aren't going well for Paloma.... *She comes home to find Arun's dead body. *She flees the scene, horror-stricken. *The body goes missing! The crime scene is cleaned up! Where the hell is the body? There was a body, she saw it! (I'm wondering about the body too). *Oh great, now the elderly neighbor is missing. What else can happen? I really disliked Paloma. Her inner voice was so negative and cruel, I was annoyed by her over and over. She seems to see everyone in the worst way. I was tempted to take a star off the review because of her! Lots of twists come flying at you near the end! I had to finish it. One of the twists may slap you in the face (like me)! A little too long and a lot of too much Paloma in my head, but a solid debut! Library loan/ Read in Oct 2021

  5. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    It didn’t come easily to me. I had to work at it. But if I learned one thing from Mom, it’s that it was usually worth it being the sweet girl. -------------------------------------- “When you die, can I have your skin?” she asked calmly, tracing a finger over my face, before getting up and walking out of the room, leaving me so afraid that I couldn’t move. Paloma Evans is 30 years old, living in San Francisco. She had been adopted at age 12 out of a Sri Lankan orphanage, the Little Miracle It didn’t come easily to me. I had to work at it. But if I learned one thing from Mom, it’s that it was usually worth it being the sweet girl. -------------------------------------- “When you die, can I have your skin?” she asked calmly, tracing a finger over my face, before getting up and walking out of the room, leaving me so afraid that I couldn’t move. Paloma Evans is 30 years old, living in San Francisco. She had been adopted at age 12 out of a Sri Lankan orphanage, the Little Miracles Girls Home. Recently cut off from her parental funds, she engages in dodgy on-line behavior to make a buck, (One of her creepy clients appears to be stalking her) and had to take in a room-mate to help with the insane San Francisco rental costs. But the roomie, an Indian immigrant, learned her big secret, and is blackmailing her, which is bad enough. Arriving home after a few too many, she finds him dead in her kitchen. It gets worse. Chased out of her own apartment by the presumed killer, a seemingly spectral figure, she heads for the stairwell. But fingers close on her neck before she can escape. She wakes up hours later, in the stairway, a scolding neighbor barking at her, presuming she had passed out, drunk…again. Amanda Jayatissa - image from Artra Magazine Before she can figure out how to deal, the cops arrive. She tells them what she had seen, but when they look through the apartment, the body is gone. The detective does not believe her, and his skepticism is understandable. Paloma is a blackout drunk, unable to recall events that took place, actions she undertook during her blacked-out hours. She really has no idea what happened to the guy, but does remember that she had fled her apartment, looking around after discovering the body, and was chased out of the place by a ghost from her past. Paloma may be an adult, but, despite years of therapy, she has carried from childhood a powerful belief in an old-country ghostly being called Mohini, (think the freaky girl who emerges from The Ring in desperate need of a makeover, dressed in white). Seeing that terrifying presence in her apartment just after discovering her roommate’s body reinforces her belief. Losing hours after fleeing her apartment does not help. So what’s going on? Mohini is my favorite ghost story. She is one of the most famous urban legends here in Sri Lanka, a stereotypical woman in white…It’s a story that is very special to me. It’s a story we grew up whispering to each other around the candle in the night. I have actually dressed up as Mohini…to scare my cousins…It was hilarious. I knew that I needed to include this ghost story element into the book…It was the story that defined a lot of the scary stories of my childhood. - from the Books and Boba interviewThe tale takes place in two timelines, alternating chapters, today, presumably 2018, give or take, as Covid is not yet a thing, and 2000, also give or take, when Paloma was a 12yo orphan in Sri Lanka. We follow her story there, her friendships, her interests, her hopes. The home is not a bad place, those in charge are a relatively benign pair, but on occasion the girls are given a class with the terrible, the horrible, the most feared Sister Cynthia, a sadistic witch of a person, who delights in physically harming the girls and threatening them with eternal damnation. (zero stars in RateMyTeachers) She is, unfortunately, in charge of Saint Margaret’s Home for Girls, the place where those who are not adopted will be sent after they age out of Miracles, a terrifying prospect. The Evanses are a wealthy American couple, supporters of the orphanage, and many other charities. They are looking to buy adopt a child. The girls at the orphanage are all prepped for when potential adopting parents stop by for a look-see, orphanage management trying its best to make a good impression, get one of their girls adopted, and hopefully gain some extra financial support and good press from the adopters. Paloma and Lihini are besties at Miracles. Physically similar, fair-skinned, similar in height, build and overall looks. They sleep together often, in the comforting child-like sense, not that other one. We see how their relationship evolves with each chapter back in Sri Lanka. As only one child will be selected, there is understandable tension between them. Today, give or take, Paloma is frantic. She goes to stay at her parents’ suburban house, as they are away, and remaining at the scene of the crime seems unwise. Was she hallucinating? This is not entirely impossible as she had been warned by her therapist that drinking on top of her new meds could do really bad things to her. But did we mention that Paloma is a blackout drunk? Paloma goes all Miss Marple trying to figure out what happened to her roomie, and why. Then the mysteries start to breed. A neighbor of her parents vanishes mysteriously, and who is that strange woman who seems to be spying on her? The story is plenty fun enough on its own merits. But there is more going on here. Racial elements permeate. Lihini and Paloma stand out a bit from the rest of the girls because of their relatively fair skin, seen as an advantage for those hoping to be taken in by a westerner. There is a wonderful scene in a restaurant bathroom in which Paloma is mistaken for another Asian women by a somewhat inebriated white woman, an experience Jayatissa has had, and which many people she knows have had. It is not the only moment in the book in which someone is unable to tell two people of color apart. Toss in discussions with other POCs about stereotypes applied to South Asians. Her shrink, Nina, whom she likes, is raucously white, dressing in white, her office decorated all in white, and it is shocking when Paloma sees her wearing anything with color. She kept all her pristine white files inside a pristine white filing cabinet, in a corner of her pristine white office. When I say pristine, I mean surgical-level clean. When I say white, I mean eyeball-searing, detergent-commercial white. She even asked her clients to take their shoes off so they wouldn’t mess up the spotless shag carpet. And it always smelled like freshly laundered sheets. She probably had an air freshener tucked behind the couch or something, because there was never any laundry in sight. Gender and madness permeates. The book opens with Paloma about to lose it, dealing with a bank employee who is not quite up to speed with the institution’s processes. I was suffering from the worst case of writers’ block, and to say my mood was bleak would be an understatement. And then I had a really annoying experience with a customer service associate at my bank, where I found myself wanting to scream and shout and make a scene, but of course I didn’t. I kept it together, like most of us are trained to do, went into a coffee shop, where I pulled out a notebook and a piece of paper and really let that customer service associate have it. I guess you could say that’s how Paloma came about. - from The Big Thrill interviewDifficult women are often presumed to be nuts, and many have learned to couch their displeasure under a polite veneer. Paloma does that in the book. In fact, while one might think of her as foul-mouthed, the profanity in her internal monologue remains unspoken. This is not to say that Paloma is not abrasive and does not need considerable therapy. She certainly is and she certainly does. Orphanage girls must cope with potential. sexual predation, always knowing that they will be called liars or delusional if they report abuse. And there is the trauma of losing children that can drive women mad with grief. Also the danger of internalizing it when people keep telling her she is losing her mind. Several classic novels are mentioned, among them Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Oliver Twist, and, most significantly, Wuthering Heights, all present in the orphanage library, the last being Paloma’s favorite. (Mrs. Evans was going to be my Catherine. She was going to save me.). Unsurprisingly, most have to do with orphans. (Wish she had found a way to fit in a reference to The Pirates of Penzance, as well) Thematically, there are concerns from those books that are reflected here. Sister Cynthia certainly represents a Dickensian nightmare of orphanage management. The girls in these are hassled in other ways by people at an orphanage or a placement. There are other elements of contemporary orphanage life that echo the perils of being parentless in the 19th century, including the timeless emotional pain of losing, or being left by, biological parents. At first glance, My Sweet Girl offers us an unreliable narrator in the mold of The Girl on the Train’s Rachel Watson, another troubled soul with a drinking problem. Both generally fall into The Madman sort in the classification system to be found here. But Jayatissa takes the unreliable narrator a step further, so that there are times when you are not even certain who the narrator is, let alone the veracity of her reporting. Unrelated Random thoughts There is an Agatha Christie, Poirot-ish feel to the story when the facts are laid out near the end. The preparation the school does with the orphans for the visit by the Evanses reminded me of young women in Austen novels gussying up for the arrival of potential suitors, or going to a meat-market ball. In addition to the rage at the clerk scene that opens the book, there are other elements taken from the author’s life, some noted above. She named a character for her younger brother, Gavin. GRIPES We never get enough of a feel for Paloma’s actual life with the Evanses. She seems not particularly fond of them at age 30. How did that come to be? This could have used more. I had issues with how the POV was handled. It was a bit like one of those time travel stories in which it becomes impossible to keep track of who is where and when. The guilt Paloma experiences is way out of line with what she had actually done. That was a stretch for me. SUMMARY Nevertheless, My Sweet Girl is a fun, fast-paced thriller that will encourage you not to drink to excess and be more discriminating in selecting possible roommates. It may offer ideas for how to monetize some used clothing, and offer a perspective on how people perceive people who do not look like they do. It will maybe give you a few chills, and make your head spin like Reagan MacNeil (without the pea soup), with the twistiness of the finale. And you might be forgiven, if, when you get to the end, you feel an urge to hold up your bowl and say, “Please, sir, I want some more.” …things that don’t feel real during the day have a way of sliding into bed with you at night. Review posted – September 10, 2021 Publication date – September 14, 2021 This review has been crossposted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Stop by and say Hi! I received an e-ARC of this book from Elisha Katz of Berkley Books in return for an honest review. But then, I may have that wrong. I had imbibed a bit more than usual the day the offer came in, and I was quite distracted by finding that unexpected body in the basement, so…maybe it was her. I am beginning to wonder. And thanks to NetGalley for facilitating. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, and Twitter pages Jayatissa was brought up in Sri Lanka, graduated from Mills College in California, moved to the UK, and now lives in Sri Lanka. She is an entrepreneur, with a chain of cookie stores, and a corporate trainer. My Sweet Girl is her second novel. Her first was The Other One, released under the name Amanda Jay. Interviews -----Books & Boba – on Player FM – audio - #150 - Author Chat with Amanda Jayatissa by Reera Yoo and Marvin Yueh - audio - 51 minutes The interviewers claim to have read the book but misidentify where half the book takes place. They also keep saying that it is a debut novel. It is not. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good information in here. Roll your eyes and give a listen. -----The Big Thrill - When Nightmares Follow You Halfway Around the World by Neil Nyren -----News line - Award winning author Amanda Jayatissa speaks of her experiences - video – 28:50 – this is from 2018 re her first novel, The Other One, with too much focus on her experience winning an award, but there is other intel in here that makes it worthwhile Items of Interest from the author -----Excerpt - From Penguin Random House -----The Nerd Daily - another excerpt Items of Interest -----Amaya resorts and spas - Sri Lankan Folklore:Mohini -----Gutenberg - Wuthering Heights full text -----Gutenberg - Anne of Green Gables full text -----Gutenberg - Oliver Twist full text

  6. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    *Now available* Welcome to the Sweet and Sour Cafe, located in the heart of Outlier Land! While reviews are just starting to come in for Amanda Jayatissa’s debut thriller, My Sweet Girl, anything less than a 5-star take on it is out of the norm. Why am I only at 3 stars then? The Sweet - The writing is brash, in-your-face, and unapologetic. Jayatissa has created a main character who’s first person perspective is unfiltered and fresh. You can tell from the very first sentence if it will work for yo *Now available* Welcome to the Sweet and Sour Cafe, located in the heart of Outlier Land! While reviews are just starting to come in for Amanda Jayatissa’s debut thriller, My Sweet Girl, anything less than a 5-star take on it is out of the norm. Why am I only at 3 stars then? The Sweet - The writing is brash, in-your-face, and unapologetic. Jayatissa has created a main character who’s first person perspective is unfiltered and fresh. You can tell from the very first sentence if it will work for you or not. “There’s a special place in hell for incompetent customer service agents, and it’s right between monsters who stick their bare feet up on airplane seats and mansplainers.” - Chapters alternate between present-day San Francisco and Sri Lanka 20 years ago. I enjoyed learning a little about the latter location, since I don’t think I’ve read a book set there before. - Jayatissa is from Sri Lanka herself, making this an #ownvoices story. The Sour - Paloma, the mc, is such an unreliable narrator that after awhile it was like listening to someone you know to be a habitual liar. What’s the point? - Which lead me to getting a little bored and looking forward to getting to the ending. - Which wrapped things up The Lamest Way Possible (see my Goodreads profile bio for definition/spoiler). - Which revealed many twists, most that I had guessed. - Which lead me to dreading and putting off writing this review, which is never a good sign. But as I said, I’m the outlier, so read the praise for this novel before crossing it off your list! You just might find My Sweet Girl to be much sweeter than I did. My thanks to Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an advance copy to review. Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    This is a really tough one to review, because I figured out the twist very early on, and it was likely because it has essentially the exact same twist as another thriller I read last week. That said, the writing is solid, the story was engaging, and much more interesting than that other book I mentioned above, so My Sweet Girl gets a rating bump. If you want to read this one, go in blind to ensure the best experience possible. This will definitely be an author to watch! *Many thanks to the publis This is a really tough one to review, because I figured out the twist very early on, and it was likely because it has essentially the exact same twist as another thriller I read last week. That said, the writing is solid, the story was engaging, and much more interesting than that other book I mentioned above, so My Sweet Girl gets a rating bump. If you want to read this one, go in blind to ensure the best experience possible. This will definitely be an author to watch! *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    In present day San Francisco Paloma Evans life is a bit of a mess no thanks to her blackmailing roommate Arun and if she thinks that’s bad the worst is yet to come. In Ratmalana Sri Lanka in 2002, Paloma is in an orphanage awaiting the much anticipated arrival of Americans Mr and Mrs Evans who decide to adopt her at the age of twelve. The two storylines run alongside each other which works well with the title coming from the Evans affectionate term for Paloma. In the present day we're inside Pal In present day San Francisco Paloma Evans life is a bit of a mess no thanks to her blackmailing roommate Arun and if she thinks that’s bad the worst is yet to come. In Ratmalana Sri Lanka in 2002, Paloma is in an orphanage awaiting the much anticipated arrival of Americans Mr and Mrs Evans who decide to adopt her at the age of twelve. The two storylines run alongside each other which works well with the title coming from the Evans affectionate term for Paloma. In the present day we're inside Paloma's head though it isn’t always a comfortable experience especially with some of the racism she experiences. She’s smart, funny but darkly so, she’s angry and definitely haunted. Some of her turns of phrase are genius and snarkily amusing but you can see she is a very messed up young woman. You realise pretty quickly that’s she’s an unreliable narrator and I do rather enjoy one of those!!! You’re in a puzzling conundrum- what’s a lie, what’s real, what’s illusion, what’s delusion? The 2002 orphanage voice of Paloma matches her younger self and I find these sections especially fascinating. Here there are some good Gothic supernatural elements with a ghost named Mohini and you have no idea if she’s imaginary, real or a coping mechanism. I love the cricket references of the younger Paloma, what a pity she doesn’t try to explain the game and cricketing terms once she arrives in San Fran. Maybe she does!!! In both timelines there are hints of suspense, menace, possibly more in Sri Lanka as it’s more of an uneasy and difficult quandary but the present day shows the past is certainly catching up with her as the plot twists and turns. It becomes scary in the present day with exacted revenge being sweet. I’m not too surprised by the outcome as you can see it coming but it doesn’t detract from enjoyment. The ending is really good and certainly chilling. Overall, this is an impressive and gripping debut which is hard to put down. It’s well written and has a fast paced plot. With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Hodder and Stoughton for the arc in return for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to NetGalley, Stephanie Felty at Berkley, and Amanda Jayatissa for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 9.14.21!** My, my, my...Paloma. 🎵 (to the tune of the Knack's "My Sharona", of course! 😉) This transplant from Sri Lanka has the 'opportunity of a lifetime' to move to America with her 'perfect' parents, the wealthy Evans duo, who are enraptured with young Paloma at her orphanage and are raring and ready to bring up this sweet little pink-wearing Wuthering Heights loving youngs **Many thanks to NetGalley, Stephanie Felty at Berkley, and Amanda Jayatissa for an ARC of this book! Now available as of 9.14.21!** My, my, my...Paloma. 🎵 (to the tune of the Knack's "My Sharona", of course! 😉) This transplant from Sri Lanka has the 'opportunity of a lifetime' to move to America with her 'perfect' parents, the wealthy Evans duo, who are enraptured with young Paloma at her orphanage and are raring and ready to bring up this sweet little pink-wearing Wuthering Heights loving youngster as the perfect, sweet daughter they always wanted. Fast-forward to many years later, where sharp-tongued Paloma is living in San Francisco and has been left in the dust by her new family and forced to take uh, 'odd jobs' to make ends meet. She also sublets her apartment to Arun...which is all well and good...until she finds Arun dead in her kitchen. In the meantime, Paloma finds out that Arun knew more about her mysterious past in Sri Lanka than ANYONE besides her should. But when she tries to alert the police about the body, she discovers it's gone. And more disturbing, she can't remember details she clearly SHOULD remember. Has Paloma's sketchy past from Sri Lanka followed her across the ocean, across the years....and WHO is the mysterious figure from her childhood that lurks around every corner? Can she keep herself--and her secrets--safe from the evil that threatens to envelop her completely? Amanda Jayatissa is a new player in the field, and one of the first Sri Lankan women to get an international book deal, so that's a huge accomplishment. She packs a punch with this first effort, in the sense that Paloma is quite the narrator. You're going to either love her or hate her...but you'd better get used to her. She swears. A LOT. Enough where it was starting to bother me, and cursing doesn't usually get to me at all. Paloma's also a fan of alcohol and mixing her pills with it in between therapy sessions. (But at least she has the sense to be going to therapy, I guess?) Her ''career choice' further emphasizes the main point: she's a bad, bad girl. The dual timelines of this one were interesting enough, with enough secrets revealed throughout to keep me guessing, although the final twist wasn't TOO much of a mystery. It was a passing thought I had pretty early on and basically kept on the back burner mentally until all was revealed...and I felt slightly let down by that result. There are several other characters that pop in and out when needed for the sake of the plot, but nobody was particularly important or memorable, outside of a creepy and unexplained visitor who seems to have jumped ship from Sri Lanka to the US with Paloma, waiting in the wings for the perfect moment to strike. I honestly enjoyed this element of the story (perfect for Fall and October reading!) but it didn't quite take center stage. The closing chapter was fun and a bit thrilling, but it took quite a while for the book to get there. This should have been a speed read, but for me it was more of a slow amble. I got where I expected to get in the end, but I think reading this book was like walking down a mountain, where you're forced to be overly careful not to trip over roots and rocks instead of perhaps throwing caution to the wind and ziplining down the mountain. Same result, but markedly different emotions along the way. Jayatissa is a sharp and innovative writer, however, and her unique voice will undoubtedly continue to flourish in her next book! 3 ⭐

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars: “My Sweet Girl” is a psychological thriller featuring an unlikable and unreliable narrator. From the start, the reader learns the distorted way that Paloma Evans sees the world. Trigger warning: the F-bomb is used in creative and continual ways. Given that Paloma is in her 30’s, it’s slightly within her character development, but if you have issues with cussing, this is not the book for you. Paloma is a train wreck. She drinks too much, blacks out, and takes no personal responsibility 3.5 stars: “My Sweet Girl” is a psychological thriller featuring an unlikable and unreliable narrator. From the start, the reader learns the distorted way that Paloma Evans sees the world. Trigger warning: the F-bomb is used in creative and continual ways. Given that Paloma is in her 30’s, it’s slightly within her character development, but if you have issues with cussing, this is not the book for you. Paloma is a train wreck. She drinks too much, blacks out, and takes no personal responsibility for any of her antics. Paloma has some sort of secret that she will stop at almost nothing to keep from being revealed. She was adopted from a girls’ orphanage in Sri Lanka when she was 12. Something from her past there is hounding her. The story is told from two timelines, beginning in the current time when Paloma comes home to find her roommate dead in her kitchen. She black outs, and when she awakes, her roommate is gone. Prior to his death, her roommate found out her secret and intended to blackmail Paloma. Still, Paloma alerts the police to the missing dead roommate. The police assume her roommate is undocumented, so they take little interest. And then Paloma thinks she sees a ghost from her Sri Lanka past. The alternate timeline is at the Little Miracle Girls’ Home when Paloma was a child. This is one of the creepiest orphanages I’ve read about. All of the adults running it seem smarmy, slimy, and disturbing. Through these chapters, in a slow burn sort of way, we begin to learn of what Paloma’s secret is. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Paloma continues to drink and pass out. Her current life in San Francisco is slowly crumbling. She seems to be estranged from her parents. Her therapist can’t seem to make Paloma take more responsibility for her life. Meanwhile, author Amanda Jayatissa expertly drops sparse clues along the way, adding suspense. Thus, we are left wondering if the roommate is dead or did she just imagine it. We wonder what the heck happened at that orphanage. What is real in Paloma’s current life and what is alcohol-induced mirages? One of Paloma’s beloved neighbors goes missing, and Paloma’s world spins out of control. Beyond the suspense, author Jayatissa weaves how immigrants are always outsiders. Inadvertently, people make judgements about her due to her skin color. The reader feels the frustration Paloma endures. The pacing on this story is fantastic. It’s not easy to write a good novel with an incredibly unlikeable narrator and keep the reader engaged. At times I thought every bad thing that happened to Paloma, she deserved. Yet, I kept listening to see how this thing would end. I listened to the audio production narrated by Deepa Samuel. Deepa did a fantastic job with different character voices.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    What was originally supposed to be a buddy read with Chelsea went about as well as ours usually go. She finished in a day and I took like three weeks to read more than a couple of chapters. But finally, FINALLY, I have finished this book and I have some ~thoughts~. When she was 12 years old, Paloma was adopted by the Evans’ after they visited her orphanage in Sri Lanka. In the 18 years since then she’s lived a privileged life as the only daughter of wealthy philanthropists. Now that she’s financi What was originally supposed to be a buddy read with Chelsea went about as well as ours usually go. She finished in a day and I took like three weeks to read more than a couple of chapters. But finally, FINALLY, I have finished this book and I have some ~thoughts~. When she was 12 years old, Paloma was adopted by the Evans’ after they visited her orphanage in Sri Lanka. In the 18 years since then she’s lived a privileged life as the only daughter of wealthy philanthropists. Now that she’s financially cut off from them, living with a roommate in a small apartment, the least Paloma can hope for is some kind of stability. When she comes home one night and walks in on her dead roommate she blacks out, only to wake up and find his body and all his belongings gone as if he never existed in the first place. Haunted by both ghosts from her present and past, Paloma must try to unravel the secrets of both versions of her life if she wants to discover what’s real and what isn’t. My Sweet Girl is told from two perspectives, one being Paloma as a child leading up to her adoption by an American couple, and the other in present day immediately after the death of her roommate, Arun. I do want to preface this review by saying I guessed the big plot twist early on. I don’t think it’s a particularly tough one to piece together if you read even a moderate amount of books in this genre, fair warning. The problem isn’t necessarily that I figured out the twist, which has happened before with other thrillers. But that so much of the story is wrapped around that singular twist that it’s hard to really enjoy anything else if you do in fact know what’s going to happen. Instead of feeling a sense of uncanniness, the majority of the time I spent reading felt tedious and like a waiting game. I kept thinking, ‘yeah yeah, can she just get on with it already’, which isn’t how I want to experience a book. It also was just too long and drawn out, and the tension turned irritating in a way I didn’t like. There’s an unreliable narrator, sure, but she was so unreliable that it was hard to empathize with her at all. Every person around her was incompetent or obnoxious, sometimes both. I don’t know, I just didn’t really take to the modern day portions at all. The parts set in the Sri Lankan orphanage were much more compelling, and now I want to read a book about a haunted orphanage instead. I also think some of the big interpersonal conflict wasn’t executed that well, at least for the adults in present day. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but they felt off. (view spoiler)[Is it bad I was rooting for the real Paloma to kill Lihini and her parents the entire time? This wasn’t a sad twist at the end at all. I hope she gets everything she wants. Not sure if the villain monologue Paloma gave was supposed to turn us against her, but the more sinister aspects felt really forced. I hate when authors use shocking murder confessions to try and influence the reader against siding with one character. (hide spoiler)] I think this genre might need a bit of a shakeup. There doesn’t seem to be much a divergence from the typical formula of these types of thrillers lately, and they’re all feeling kind of stale. Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d prefer better developed characters over the same types of predictable twists. They’re the literary equivalent of jump scares to me at this point. But regardless, thanks Chelsea for sharing your ARC with me! **For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan Collins

    An unreliable narrator has never been this fun! MY SWEET GIRL is equal parts witty, chilling, and hypnotic, and it includes some of the creepiest lines and images I’ve ever read. By expertly pulling the strings of this riveting story, Amanda Jayatissa will have you thinking you know the answers to the book’s layers of mysteries—until she upends every expectation with a series of shocking reveals.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eliza Brazier

    MY SWEET GIRL starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. Haunted by her past, hunted in her present, Paloma must find her life in America, or lose it forever. A richly layered, firecracker of a thriller. Five out of Five Elizas.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    4 Stars for this very dark, sinister debut from Jayatisisa. This is one of those books that I feel completely relies on the twists it presents. If you are blown away or in any way shocked by these twists then I'm certain this will be a great read for you. I did predict the major twist, however there was one that came prior and one that came in the last few pages that I did not foresee at all, so those definitely prevented me from bumping this down to three stars. This is the story about a girl n 4 Stars for this very dark, sinister debut from Jayatisisa. This is one of those books that I feel completely relies on the twists it presents. If you are blown away or in any way shocked by these twists then I'm certain this will be a great read for you. I did predict the major twist, however there was one that came prior and one that came in the last few pages that I did not foresee at all, so those definitely prevented me from bumping this down to three stars. This is the story about a girl named Paloma that grew up in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. She has a best friend named Lihini, who is essentially her only friend, and she loves her like a sister. Then one day she finds out she has been adopted by a well-to-do American couple, and her fears of being separated from Lihini become a reality. Despite knowing she will have to leave Lihini behind she's looking forward to a bright and exciting future in America. Now that she has been saved, surely nothing can go wrong now?! The majority of this novel alternates from Paloma's childhood at the orphanage, back to present day San Francisco where she has shockingly discovered her roommate Arun bludgeoned to death on her kitchen floor. She passes out upon this ghastly discovery and when she comes to and the police arrive shortly thereafter, Arun's body has disappeared along with any evidence of it ever happening. Paloma is convinced she saw a dark-hair boogeyman from her past named Mohini in her apartment shortly before she passed out, however nobody believes her. Heck, she's having a hard time believing Mohini was there herself - she's imaginary after all, right? The rest of the novel is a buildup to events that took place in the orphanage leading up to Paloma's adoption and her present day investigation into Arun's death. I did feel that the novel was a bit slow at times and I even literally cried out 'let's just get on with it!' a few times, which is another reason this was not five star quality for me. Another issue that kept this from being stellar, but perhaps may not even be an issue to others, was the CONSTANT foul language, and her alcoholism. I felt like this trope had been overdone (unreliable alcoholic narrator), so at times I was a tad annoyed by how much of a hot mess Paloma was. Everything else considered, I really thought this was a great read and it went to a very dark place that I was not expecting and really enjoyed, especially for an October read! Even though I did predict the major reveal, there were a few other reveals that really shocked me, and I believe will do so to many other thriller/suspense fanatics as well! This book did feel like it had elements of paranormal, suspense, thriller, drama and mystery so I would recommend it! This author is one I will keep my eyes on and I cannot wait to read her next release!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Gentry

    MY SWEET GIRL has it all: a paranoid bad-girl protagonist, shocking twists, and gothic chills in a totally original setting. Flashing between a Sri Lankan orphanage and racially divided San Francisco, Amanda Jayatissa nails every beat with divinely wicked sleight-of-hand. An audacious and crackling debut!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    This book is perfect – everything a suspense/thriller reader hopes to receive. Thoughtfully designed story structure, complex and original characters in a well drawn, plot driven page- turner. With so many titles that push you back-and-forth with smoke and mirror- it’s delicious to be read a sophisticated suspense that keeps you satisfied to the very last page (and whowee- the twists we do get feel perfectly timed, and are indeed power punches). Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    This was a much talked about debut psychological thriller and I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. It did take me a little to get into this book, not really connecting with Paloma The second half of the book was twist after twist and a shocking ending and the pace did pick up. Told over dual timelines and locations, My Sweet Girl is the story of Paloma. Adopted as a young child from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by a wealthy American couple, and moved to California and lives the high This was a much talked about debut psychological thriller and I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. It did take me a little to get into this book, not really connecting with Paloma The second half of the book was twist after twist and a shocking ending and the pace did pick up. Told over dual timelines and locations, My Sweet Girl is the story of Paloma. Adopted as a young child from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by a wealthy American couple, and moved to California and lives the high life. But she has a secret from that time and her flat mate Arun finds out. The next day he is dead in their flat. And then the body disappears without a trace. The chapters in the past when Paloma is young are creepy with the ghost stories. At at 30, Paloma thinks this ghost has followed her to the States..... or is it the alcohol?? Thanks to a Hodder and Stoughton for my advanced copy of this book to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lea

    Wow. This book had me hooked from the opening line. Paloma is one of the most interesting, voicey, and intense characters I’ve ever read. Being inside her head for this twisted was a trip- in all the best ways. The dual timeline also added a rich layer of storytelling in between. This book was SO creepy, suspenseful, and smart. It will keep you guessing until the very end. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ali Hazelwood

    This was a perfect book. And I'm really struggling here because I cannot say why BECAUSE I'D GIVE AWAY SO MANY SPOILERS and I really want everyone who reads MY SWEET GIRL to experience it like a did and to have the amazing, mindblowing reading experience I had. So I'll just say: trust me, you'll want to devour this book the moment you start it and you will NOT guess the turns and twists it takes. So, since I cannot talk about the plot, a non exhaustive list of other things I loved: - Paloma. The This was a perfect book. And I'm really struggling here because I cannot say why BECAUSE I'D GIVE AWAY SO MANY SPOILERS and I really want everyone who reads MY SWEET GIRL to experience it like a did and to have the amazing, mindblowing reading experience I had. So I'll just say: trust me, you'll want to devour this book the moment you start it and you will NOT guess the turns and twists it takes. So, since I cannot talk about the plot, a non exhaustive list of other things I loved: - Paloma. The unlikable main character that I love to like. - The dual timeline (the orphanage!!!) - The relationship between Lihini and Paloma - Mohini. This book is so genuinely tense and scary I LOVED IT!!!! - The descriptions of what it means to be a brown person in the US - Paloma's inner monologue. It can be so REAL and incisive!! - THE ENDING. Basically: READ THIS BOOK IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A GENUINELY HEART-STOPPING THRILLER IT'S AMAZING!!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alma

    Through flashbacks and real time, Paloma tells her story of being adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage when she was 12 years old and moving to America with her new parents. Paloma had to leave her best friend behind but, even though she had a new life and the best of everything, she spent the next 18 years terrified of Mohini, who she had actually seen in Sri Lanka. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... Through flashbacks and real time, Paloma tells her story of being adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage when she was 12 years old and moving to America with her new parents. Paloma had to leave her best friend behind but, even though she had a new life and the best of everything, she spent the next 18 years terrified of Mohini, who she had actually seen in Sri Lanka. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Blacke

    How on earth am I supposed to review a book this incredible? Amanda Jayatissa's MY SWEET GIRL is a dark, twisty thriller with more loops and curveballs than Space Mountain. This is everything a great book is supposed to be - it has heart and keeps you guessing on every page. In MY SWEET GIRL, the main character (and author) hails from Sri Lanka, which makes the book out of the ordinary, but that's not what makes it unique. What is so unique about it is that the story is so exquisitely crafted and How on earth am I supposed to review a book this incredible? Amanda Jayatissa's MY SWEET GIRL is a dark, twisty thriller with more loops and curveballs than Space Mountain. This is everything a great book is supposed to be - it has heart and keeps you guessing on every page. In MY SWEET GIRL, the main character (and author) hails from Sri Lanka, which makes the book out of the ordinary, but that's not what makes it unique. What is so unique about it is that the story is so exquisitely crafted and every time you think you know what's going to happen next, you don't. I'm one of those readers who overanalyzes books to try to figure out what's really going on, and I maybe caught 3 of the 10 or so biggest plot twists. It's not often that an author comes along that can bend reality on the pages of a book, and Jayatissa is one such author. You're going to want everyone you know to get their own copy so you can discuss it late into the night without spoiling anything for anyone. Now I'm gonna go stare at a blank wall for a few hours while I think about how amazing this book is.

  22. 4 out of 5

    MarvelUsReads

    A classic tale of betrayal and revenge, My Sweet Girl starts off with an early climatic buildup. When her roommate/blackmailer’s lifeless body goes missing, before Paloma can call the police, she begins to question herself. However, when escaping to her childhood home leads to further suspicious events, Paloma quickly realizes that the only common link is her. Has a ghost from her past unearthed itself, ready to expose her secrets? An anti heroine that is not naturally kind, a police detective th A classic tale of betrayal and revenge, My Sweet Girl starts off with an early climatic buildup. When her roommate/blackmailer’s lifeless body goes missing, before Paloma can call the police, she begins to question herself. However, when escaping to her childhood home leads to further suspicious events, Paloma quickly realizes that the only common link is her. Has a ghost from her past unearthed itself, ready to expose her secrets? An anti heroine that is not naturally kind, a police detective that is insensitive and socially inept, and a villain motivated by revenge. The plot and conclusion were predictable, but overall My Sweet Girl is a well written novel with smooth transitions between past and present. Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Freya Sampson

    This book blew my mind! I was immediately sucked in with the smart, sardonic and at times very funny voice of Paloma, as her life starts to fall apart. As a character she is complicated and messy, and straight away you start to question her reliability as a narrator, which makes for a dramatic and thrilling read from the very first page. The chapters set in the children’s home 18 years previously are hugely evocative, and I loved the horror story element weaved in. I really empathised with 12-yea This book blew my mind! I was immediately sucked in with the smart, sardonic and at times very funny voice of Paloma, as her life starts to fall apart. As a character she is complicated and messy, and straight away you start to question her reliability as a narrator, which makes for a dramatic and thrilling read from the very first page. The chapters set in the children’s home 18 years previously are hugely evocative, and I loved the horror story element weaved in. I really empathised with 12-year-old Paloma, and her very real desire to be adopted before she gets sent to the terrifying sounding school for girls. This book is beautifully written, and author Amanda Jayatissa has done an amazingly subtle and sophisticated job of weaving the two timelines together. She is a master at keeping the reader on their toes, always making you question what you’re reading. And the ending of the book is utterly jaw-dropping!

  24. 4 out of 5

    India Holton

    I stayed up most of the night reading this. What a spectacular book! Thrilling, chilling, and utterly mesmerising. Not only is Paloma an unreliable narrator but everyone else presents an ambiguous front too, creating an intricate and compelling mystery and a growing sense of dread. As I read, my mind was full of theories about what was happening, and I must confess I felt rather smug about it - but when I got to the reveal, I literally gasped out loud with surprise. The plot is genius, the writi I stayed up most of the night reading this. What a spectacular book! Thrilling, chilling, and utterly mesmerising. Not only is Paloma an unreliable narrator but everyone else presents an ambiguous front too, creating an intricate and compelling mystery and a growing sense of dread. As I read, my mind was full of theories about what was happening, and I must confess I felt rather smug about it - but when I got to the reveal, I literally gasped out loud with surprise. The plot is genius, the writing gorgeous, and I only wish I could give it more than five stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shannon A

    A stunning debut psychological thriller that will keep you up all night reading and haunt your thoughts by day.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jannelies

    A great debut, I must say! Amanda Jayatissa has a way with words and knows how to keep the reader interested. She even invented some new words and cleverly used them in the story. I like that and I hope she will keep doing that. Although the story revolves around Paloma you can learn a lot when not focussing on her alone. How’s life in an orphanage, except from the fact that you do not live in a home with parents? How does it feel to know your parents didn’t want you? It may be an orphanage wher A great debut, I must say! Amanda Jayatissa has a way with words and knows how to keep the reader interested. She even invented some new words and cleverly used them in the story. I like that and I hope she will keep doing that. Although the story revolves around Paloma you can learn a lot when not focussing on her alone. How’s life in an orphanage, except from the fact that you do not live in a home with parents? How does it feel to know your parents didn’t want you? It may be an orphanage where Paloma grows up, she herself is one of the many girl that were put up for adoption immediately after birth. Unfortunately those adoptions are not always 100% legal, and things can go terribly wrong. There is a heart-wrenching example of that in the book. On the other hand, Paloma and the other girls seem to have a nice home and very good teachers. It might be me, but I’ve never heard before of 12 year old girls whose native language is not English, enjoying reading Wuthering Heights and books by Charles Dickens. I think even for children who do have English as first language, I’m not sure how many there are to be found who really enjoy these authors. And yes, I myself am a big fan of Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens, and read most of their books. But not when I was 12. The story is fast-paced and filled with interesting characters and very sudden plot twists although there are parts that slow it down a bit. Paloma is not my favourite character but I was intrigued what would happen with her – and I really didn’t see it coming! Not for people who don’t like swearing by the way. The f-word is said 308 times to be precise. Maybe the author can use a bit less swearing in her next book or have a thesaurus handy. Thanks to Netgalley for this digital review copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Liao

    I did not expect how this book would suck me in and keep me thinking about it long after I finished it. What a brilliant, strange, eerie story, as you follow Paloma from her life in the orphanage in Sri Lanka to her present day life in San Francisco. An unreliable narrator who is not always likeable, there's something about her that draws you in and want to know what happened years ago, as well as what is going on in her present life. The ending and the twist - I had a feeling that something lik I did not expect how this book would suck me in and keep me thinking about it long after I finished it. What a brilliant, strange, eerie story, as you follow Paloma from her life in the orphanage in Sri Lanka to her present day life in San Francisco. An unreliable narrator who is not always likeable, there's something about her that draws you in and want to know what happened years ago, as well as what is going on in her present life. The ending and the twist - I had a feeling that something like that was going to happen, but it was so much more than I expected. The author masterfully winds intrigue, pyschological twists and mind-blowing events to bring you into Paloma's world, so that you find yourself rooting for Paloma, even as you kind of hate her a little. A definite must read for anyone who loves suspense and thriller, but also for anyone who just wants to be drawn into a fantastic read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Warren

    The plot: How far will you go to keep a secret? Poloma was adopted from Sri Lanka as a teenager and has been keeping a secret ever since. After her roommate is murdered while blackmailing her, Poloma needs to get to the bottom of what's going on. This book was told in a flashback format between current day and 20 years ago. The nonlinear timeline added to the story (as the backstory is very important). Super surpise ending. Highly recommended. The plot: How far will you go to keep a secret? Poloma was adopted from Sri Lanka as a teenager and has been keeping a secret ever since. After her roommate is murdered while blackmailing her, Poloma needs to get to the bottom of what's going on. This book was told in a flashback format between current day and 20 years ago. The nonlinear timeline added to the story (as the backstory is very important). Super surpise ending. Highly recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    After being adopted by an American family, Paloma had it all — financially stable parents, good schools, and money. It was Paloma’s dream come true. Now thirty years old, Paloma can no longer depend on funding from her parents. Living in an overpriced San Francisco apartment, Paloma desperately needed money to continue living the lifestyle that she carved out for herself. So, Paloma resorts to subletting her apartment to an undocumented Sri Lankan, Arun. Everything as going seemingly well with Aru After being adopted by an American family, Paloma had it all — financially stable parents, good schools, and money. It was Paloma’s dream come true. Now thirty years old, Paloma can no longer depend on funding from her parents. Living in an overpriced San Francisco apartment, Paloma desperately needed money to continue living the lifestyle that she carved out for herself. So, Paloma resorts to subletting her apartment to an undocumented Sri Lankan, Arun. Everything as going seemingly well with Arun. Paloma felt good about the arrangement until Arun discovers a secret that Paloma has been hiding all these years. A secret that could destroy everything that Paloma has worked for. Knowing that Paloma would do anything to keep her secret hidden, Arun commences to blackmail Paloma, draining her bank accounts. In a last-ditch effort to end the blackmails, Paloma resolves to negotiate a deal with Arun. But before anything is set in motion, Paloma discovers Arun’s lifeless body hunched over the kitchen table in a pool of blood. Police are called to the scene. But upon investigation, Arun’s body is nowhere to be found and the apartment is spotless. It’s as if Arun never existed. Is it possible that Paloma dreamt the whole thing up? What is the secret that Paloma is hiding? My Sweet Girl is a slow burn suspense novel. The pace is atmospheric with little nuggets of edginess. The storyline follows a first-person account that spans past and present between Sri Lanka and San Francisco. The novel contains an easy to follow narrative. However, it is somewhat of a tedious grind. But, if one is willing to invest the time and endure the hills and valleys of this novel, they will be rewarded with an unexpected ending. Four stars. I received a digital ARC from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions. Stay tuned for the Blog Blitz celebration on September 14, 2021.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather Love

    It’s taken me a while to read this one, it may have been as I needed a break from reading, however I feel it’s because it took me some time to really get into the plot…. Which wasn’t until I was at least 60% in …. More thorough review to follow.

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