Review: THE PERFECT GIRL by Gilly Macmillan

Reading time 3 mins

This is the story of a teenage prodigy who got herself into trouble. Zoe looks perfect and plays the piano so well that she earned herself a scholarship into an elite private school. One night Zoe makes a horrible mistake and ends up killing 3 of her classmates in a DUI accident. She is 14 years old when this happens. Three years later Zoe is living her second chance life with her mother’s new husband, his son, and her new baby sister. On the night of her first performance since the accident, Zoe is confronted with her past. That same night her mother dies tragically. Told in alternate perspectives, this story is the quest to find out what happened.

This story builds at a steady although slow pace. At first we only have Tessa (Zoe’s aunt), Sam (the lawyer), and Zoe’s POV. Zoe’s POV lends this story an immature perspective, complete with first love and social status bullying. It is good that we get so many other adult POV because with only Zoe this book might have been a typical YA book. Tessa and Sam’s grown up drama adds to this story, but also makes it an adult who-done-it. Later we get other POVs and they all add something special to this story. As far as mysteries go, this was a great read. THE PERFECT GIRL was well written and kept me turning pages because I had to find out what happened to Zoe’s mother.

This story starts with the recital and then leads to the phone call that threatens to reveal Tessa (Zoe’s aunt) is cheating on her husband with Sam (Zoe’s lawyer). Tessa gives us an outside perspective because she is right there before and after it happens, but she doesn’t know what happened. She only sees how perfect her sister’s family looks and wonders the same way the reader does if there is more than meets the eye to this family. Zoe is the automatic suspect because of her past. She struggles to be the person her mother expected her to be, and declare her innocence to those who think she did it.

I was entertained reading about how Zoe and Maria (Zoe’s mother) struggled to start over after Zoe came home from “the unit”. I think Zoe’s therapy recollections add a bit of angst to this story. Zoe is so young when she is thrust into detention and she gleans the worst things from her experience. Marie puts on such a good front but it ultimately cost her her life.

Alas, this story was ruined for me personally was the anti-climactic ending. Also, the author left one huge loose end. I am left thinking we could have done without a certain person’s POV since it did not add anything to the story and we never find out what happened to that person. I have to knock off 2 whole stars for those reasons. Too bad really, because I was thoroughly enjoying this book until the last 50 pages.

My Rating


About Gilly Macmillan

8183303Gilly Macmillan grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied History of Art at Bristol University and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family, and since then has done some lecturing in ‘A’ Level photography.

Gilly lives in Bristol, UK with her husband and three children and now writes full time. She’s currently working on her third novel.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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By | 2017-12-16T10:20:36+00:00 Tuesday, August 23, 2016|3 kisses, Mystery, reviews, Thriller|8 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Valerie August 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    This book actually sounds really saddening (with the DUI) and I’m not sure if it’s something I would read, but I am intrigued with the death of her mother! Also I put a ton of pressure on myself to be perfect, so this makes this book far more relatable than I would think haha.

    Awesome review Karen!
    Check Out Valerie’s most recent post- Top Ten Tuesday #89My Profile

  2. Alise August 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    I really want to read something by Gilly Macmillan and I’ve seen this one floating around. I’m liking the sound of a lot of the aspects so it’s a shame it has sort of an anticlimactic ending.
    Check Out Alise’s most recent post- Five Books I Absolutely Could NOT Live Without #TheReader GiveawayMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      August 26, 2016 at 7:26 am - Reply

      Yea, it was a shame. I think the writing is worth checking out. I would probably read another book by this author.

  3. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance August 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Oh bummer about the ending! I don’t like open endings most of the time and when it happens in a mystery like this? It really doesn’t tend to work.
    Check Out Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance’s most recent post- Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave HolmesMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      August 26, 2016 at 7:28 am - Reply

      Yea, I know. Like I said before, I think the writing was really good and I enjoyed the way this story was laid out. I would check out something else from this author before writing her off. Thanks for checking out my review!

  4. Anne C September 19, 2016 at 6:07 am - Reply

    What? No mention about what really happened to the mother? And I thought the killer wasn’t made known to the readers because the author was building suspense and was going to give a brilliant twist ending. That is how I like my mysteries to end, with a bang! This is a pass for me.
    Great review, Karen!

    • Karen Blue
      September 20, 2016 at 6:58 am - Reply

      We do find out what happened to the mother actually. It is another POV that never gets sorted. I did enjoy the writing style a lot. I think you might want to give this a try, it is well written and gives many angles to this mystery.

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