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?
Thank you to Berkley for having me along for their Blog Blitz for My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa! This atmospheric thriller is a slow-build but it had my hair standing on edge for the first half of the novel. Jayatissa does a wonderful job at spinning a creepy web to ensnare her reader in. The build up caused a tension that was almost frustrating because we are given such little information about Paloma’s history at the beginning. As the story peels back Paloma’s story layer by layer, that tension and frustration slowly unwinds. Then, the mystery of solving what’s happening behind the scenes in present day takes precedence.
I think there’s a good chance that majority of readers seeking a thrill will be utterly blown away by this. To the book’s disadvantage, I had read a book that took a different path but had a similar ending recently. I had a good inkling of how this was going to end, multiple twists and all. That doesn’t mean that she didn’t write this well, it just was no surprise to me. There’s also barely a likable character in this book, with the exception of one Sri Lankan, though I won’t say who as all of the characters play their parts in the mystery and I don’t want to spoil any of the twists. For this story, I don’t think likable characters are really necessary, though. You don’t need to like Paloma or any of the others to want to know what is happening here.
There’s plenty of social commentary in this novel that I found interesting, which added some depth to the story. My Sweet Girl uses mental health as a device here as well, though I found it was quite unique to the usual outcome of psychological thrillers. That may turn off readers or make them more intrigued! This book makes for a great rainy day book, where you can turn up the fire, light a candle, and immerse yourself in this chilling tale that combines Sri Lankan folklore with an immigrant orphan’s experience and a good dose of twisty mystery added in for good measure.
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