Cover Image: My Sweet Girl

My Sweet Girl

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Member Reviews

This was definitely a very unique story which was nice. I've never come across a story with the same background premise as this one has and it was quite fascinating to read about her past and the orphanage in Sri Lanka. that alone was quite an interesting read but cutting g back to present time, the thriller/ suspense really does ramp up so I'd say this book actually covers quote a few genres rather than just being a thriller. It was also the qst story I've come across where I spent most of the book, not entirely trusting the narrator/ main character. This obviously leaves a whole world of possibilities open rather than being guided by the hand through the story, yes we may be getting told certain things but is that really the case?! It definitely get your mind working and will keep you gripped and flying through the last quarter to the big reveal!! A really nice read and a nice change fron the norm
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Arun has recently moved from India to San Francisco and rents a room in an apartment belonging to thirty-year-old Paloma. Born in Sri Lanka but adopted when she was twelve and subsequently brought up in California, Paloma is very privileged. But now she is barely holding herself together and no longer has access to her parents' money and then Arun learns of her deepest and darkest secret. He is attempting to blackmail her, and she plans to pay Arun off, but then he is found dead... by Paloma. She flees the scene but returns the next day, only Arun's body isn't there.

This is a very dark, sinister début from Amanda Jayatissa and I revelled in it. It contains twist upon twist and is immensely compelling with a great protagonist in Paloma who is the quintessential unreliable narrator. The plot moves along with wicked force and the tale is told via alternating chapters set eighteen years apart. With action that never lets up, this was a novel I didn't want to take a break from. Very highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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When she was twelve, Paloma was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by a rich, philanthropic, American couple.  It is now eighteen years later and she is living in a small flat in San Francisco.  Her parents appear to have recently cut her off after receiving a mysterious letter, and have gone on a tour of South-East  Asia.  Her therapist has prescribed strong medication which mustn’t be mixed with alcohol – but Paloma is a borderline alcoholic so seems to exist in a present which might be largely a hallucination, and from which she keeps escaping to memories of her time in the orphanage.  And then one day she comes home to find her flatmate lying dead as a result of a blow to the head.   But when the police show up there is body, in fact no evidence that Arun ever existed.  Is she psychotic or just confused by the chemicals in her system?  Is she really seeing Mohini, the ghost who supposedly haunted the orphanage?  Are her memories real?  
So it’s a psychological mystery like many others?  Well no it isn’t.  In many ways it is unique.  For a start there is the story about the orphanage, the conditions in which it operates, the vying for position among the girls, the status of the staff, the role of benefactors without whom it would fall.  This could be a separate book, a sociological think piece.  It provides background for the mystery but it works perfectly well on its own.  Secondly, perhaps more tellingly, there is a political slant in the subtly interspersed highlighting of unconscious bias due to racial and social differences.  
The plot twists, of which there are several, are not original, but the writing, especially the speed with which it proceeds and Paloma’s confused and muddled thoughts, conceals them well.  Speaking of the writing, this is a single viewpoint story voiced by a young woman with very specific issues and experiences prior to the start.  The style and language are very convincing and I was quite happy to believe in the character.  I’m not sure that all readers would be, but I’d urge them to try.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.
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I added this debut novel by Amanda Jayatissa to my reading list when I saw it highly recommended by Crime by the book on instagram. I loved this book and really enjoyed the main character and her attitude towards everything. The book goes between two timelines, past- in a Sri Lankan orphanage and present time in America. This book kept me hooked throughout and I loved the different timelines and interesting characters involved. I also really enjoyed how conflicted I felt about the main character and if I liked her or not. I recommend this one to thriller fans who like a slow-burn thriller with some great twists. 
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 loved 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 jeopardise 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 aparemtny 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 tangle up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or she is now in greater danger than before?
Thank you to Hodder Books and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.
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A well written, pac, thriller/mystery following the story of Paloma from her orphanage in Sri Lanka to her current life in California. Immediately we are aware that Paloma has a secret but it is not until the end that it is revealed. It is not too difficult to guess but that does not detract from the build up of tension. A gripping read.worth devouring.
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There was not much I enjoyed about this book. Disjointed and strange,set in two countries and two time periods, I struggled to empathise with the characters. Not my cup of tea.
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This book flocks between two countries and can be quite complicated but stick with it, as it’s worth the effort. The main character Paloma comes across as very rude and unhappy but as the story goes on you discover why. This is also a story about an orphanage in Sri Lanka and how those who stay there cope.
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This story alternates between two timelines and two countries; Sri Lanka and the US. Our main character and narrator is Paloma, an
orphan until she was 12, when she was adopted by a rich family, the Evanses, from California. The Evanses are regular contributors to The Little Miracle girls orphanage in Sri Lanka.
The story opens with Paloma trying to lift money from her account, first impressions of Paloma is that of an angry, entitled and unlikable character as she verbally assaults the bank cashier. We learn that Paloma has been cut off financially by her parents at this stage. Shortly after the scene at the bank we discover that Paloma has been selling her worn panties online as well as taking a tenant on to help with the high rental prices and living in San Francisco.
Early on we know Paloma has mental health issues giving us an unreliable narrator. Chapters alternate between the 12 year old Paloma and the present day 30 year old Paloma. At the orphanage Paloma is best friends with Lihini; they were born at he orphanage only 3 weeks apart. They do everything together. They even sleep together (for comfort). They share the same hopes and dreams for the future, they read the same books. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women get a mention though Wuthering Heights is Paloma’s favourite book

“That’s what we did, Lihini and I. We shared the same books and spent every afternoon we could reading. And when we couldn’t read, we talked about what we read.”

The girls at the orphanage are obsessed by a ghost story: Mohini, an old Sri Lankan scary tale. Their obsession with Mohini is compounded by another girl in the orphanage; Shanika is convinced she has not only seen Mohini but was attacked by her.

Back to the 30 year old Paloma, Mohini still haunts her dreams. As a teenager she saw a therapist for these nightmares/terrors. As we get to the heart of the book (without giving any spoilers away) Mohini plays a huge part in Paloma’s life as an adult as well as a child. In her therapy sessions as an adult she talks mostly about her parents, she appears to her therapist to be rid of Mohini, she desperately doesn’t want her therapist to know that she is seeing Mohini again, afraid of disappointing her. 
Paloma gets home from the bank and finds her tenant dead, definitely murdered, she then sees Mohini and runs to get help. Paloma was being blackmailed by her tenant Arun. He found a letter, with information he believes he can blackmail her with, hence the reason for her stress and temper with the bank cashier. 
Paloma doesn’t get very far and passes out on the stairs of her apartment block. Seven hours later a neighbour wakes her berating her for the state she is in. Paloma remembers the nightmare in her apartment. She gets the building supervisor and calls the police. When the police arrive and enter her apartment there is no body, no blood on the walls. No blood at all. One thought enters her mind “And if he was killed, did my secret die with him?”  

On the day the Evanses are visiting the orphanage the excitement is palpable. If the girls are all on their best behavior, giving a good impression, it could mean another donation for books and other essentials for the orphanage. Paloma and Lihini are 12 years old and even if the Evanses intend to adopt, they’re sure that they will choose a girl a lot younger. However when Mrs Evans sees Paloma is holding a copy of Wuthering Heights, she is impressed that Paloma is reading it at such a young age. Paloma tells her it’s her favourite book, Mrs Evans tells her it is also her favourite book, from that point Paloma is besotted with her. As the Evanses go about their visit Paloma and Lihini marvel at what it would be like to be adopted by Mrs Evans. As we know Paloma is adopted by the Evanses. She is counting down the days where she will be free of abuses she has been subjected too although feels guilty to be leaving Lihini behind, she even asks the Master if Lihini can be adopted too.

In present time Paloma’s life is unraveling fast. She doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction, second guessing herself at every turn, with no friends to confide in she becomes increasingly paranoid, but for a good reason. In reading this book, especially with Paloma as the narrator, I felt that she was living in a fugue state, keeping me glued to the pages and unsure of what was coming next.

As with most thrillers I do my best to give away as little as possible. This was a fantastic fast paced thriller and also quite menacing, with a few great twists and a perfect ending, Jayatissa planted vivid images of Mohini in my mind, making this is a creepy read as well as a crime thriller. I loved getting to know Paloma as a child and also the environment of the orphanage, giving it an extra ominous feeling. A brilliant unforgettable 5* read. I’m really looking forward to her next novel.
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This was so different to the typical psychological thrillers and I found it such an intriguing, dark and slightly creepy read. I loved the dual timeline of Paloma's childhood growing up in the orphanage in Sri Lanka and then her present day life in California. I really liked the writing style and found Paloma a very witty narrator!

Paloma was adopted by a rich American couple when she was twelve and left behind her best friend and lifelong companion Lihini. Paloma is now in her thirties living in an apartment with an Indian flat mate. But what is the secret that she has been hiding since she left the orphanage? The reader is let into Paloma's mind and has to try to discern if much of what she is experiencing is real or merely hallucinations.

I just couldn't work out what to believe as I read it. Who was the ghost Mohini from the Sri Lankan stories? Did Paloma have more to do with Arun's death then just finding his body? What had happened between Paloma and her adopted parents? Did something terrible happen all those years ago at the orphanage? I was desperate to answer all of these questions!

The book really picked up the pace towards the end and I was racing to try and unravel all of the secrets. They really kept coming! If you love twisty psychological thrillers I highly recommend this book. I can't wait to see what this author writes next.
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Paloma has just found her roomate dead in their apartment but when the Police arrive, his body is gone. Did she imagine his death in a drunken episode. Paloma goes to her family home only to then realise her neighbour is also missing just what is going on? Do all these events have any link to her past and the journey that led her to America?

This was an interesting read. It jumps from present day to the past and her time back in Sri Lanka. I have to say I did guess the big plot twist fairly early on but not all the details about how it came together. There were a couple of other twists that caught me by surprise. I found the story interesting but didn't thrill me quite as much as i hoped. Paloma is just so fundamentally unlikeable. Even by the end, I wasn't sure how I wanted her story to end. Its one of those stories where none of the characters are overly likeable except maybe Sam. The ending was clever and finished the story well. A good thriller.
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My Sweet Girl had me hooked, I needed to keep reading to find out what the answers to the 10,000 questions I had were. I really enjoyed the dual narrative aspect, and that the story mainly focused on elements of life after adoption in another country. 

The writing is really clever, and I adored the blunt style in which Paloma talks. Everything is very matter of fact, and helped illustrate her mindset. It also crosses a couple of different genres, so I would struggle to sum up where it sits, there is a bit of the supernatural, mystery, thriller, contemporary, a little bit of everything. 

That being said, I did pretty much guess how the story was going to go from very early on, so with the absence of a shocking 'WHAT THE HECK' moment, it fell a little bit flat for me. I'd probably recommend this one to someone if I knew they didn't read a massive amount, or generally steered clear of thriller/mystery books. But I think for anyone who reads a lot, the 'twist' is quite similar other stories and so the book wouldn't quite have the wow factor it would otherwise have. 

I did however enjoy the read, but didn't discover a new favourite this time.
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HELLO FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2021!! 
Starting this review with a bold statement because this is a BOLD book! (It's important to be aware of trigger warnings in this book which will be posted below.)

As someone who is a big fan of character-driven books, this is incredible. The narrator is a wholly unreliable character, which makes for an interesting and suspenseful analysis of the plot as the reader makes their way through the book. Growing up in Sri Lanka before getting adopted and moving to the States, Paloma deals with many dark issues throughout the plot. These personal struggles, developed in her childhood, affect her current relationships and the reader is allowed to puzzle through the mystery and horror that plagues her throughout. A lot of these stem from unresolved tension between her best friend, Lihini, who was left in the orphanage. 

TW: alcohol abuse. Another aspect of her character that makes her an unreliable narrator, not only making her doubt her telling of the story but also making the reader doubt her version of events, is her alcohol abuse. I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of how this kept popping up as an excuse, but I understand it's place as a plot device. 

The plot is incredibly suspenseful, to the point where I had to put it down before I went to sleep because it was getting too scary (lol). I enjoyed how it kept me guessing and I couldn't put it down. The inclusion of local legends made the plot all the more tangible. Knowing that it is also an own voices novel made it much more filled out and engaging. It was such a unique concept and does not adhere to traditional suspense tropes, which I highly appreciated. It fulfilled my need for it to be creepy and engaging, and I cannot recommend it enough. 5 stars!!

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this thriller, however towards the middle I was starting to lose interest but it definitely picked up and the ending provided all the shock factor that I needed (although I admit I sussed out the secret, way before the reveal). The ending I have to say really did it for me - it may actually be one of the best thriller endings that I have read and quite often their endings tend to be lackluster so Jayatissa wins bonus points for that alone. This book was very very creepy and the flashbacks in the orphanage were perfect in creating that feeling! Despite the eerie backdrop of this book, it had a touch of humor which I also enjoyed. 

Overall, this is a good book with an amazing twist at the end!
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I added this debut novel by Amanda Jayatissa to my reading list when I saw it highly recommended by Crime by the book on instagram. I loved this book and really enjoyed the main character and her attitude towards everything. The book goes between two timelines, past- in a Sri Lankan orphanage and present time in America. This book kept me hooked throughout and I loved the different timelines and interesting characters involved. I also really enjoyed how conflicted I felt about the main character and if I liked her or not. I recommend this one to thriller fans who like a slow-burn thriller with some great twists. 
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 loved 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 jeopardise 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 aparemtny 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 tangle up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or she is now in greater danger than before?
Thank you to Hodder Books and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.
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Sorry, I will not write a Review about My Sweet Girl von Amanda Jayatissa. The book was not what I expected... not my cup of tea...
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Thankyou to netgalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a very interesting read. The plot was very well written and the story had me hooked all the way through. The characters were very unlikable which was an interesting twist. I did sort of guess the ending but i didnt mind because of how well written it was. A very enjoyable read.
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An intense and twisty psychological thriller told in dual timelines. Present-day San Francisco finds Paloma's life in a desperate freefall. The reasons why gradually emerge intricately tied to her childhood in an orphanage in Sri Lanka.  Paloma is an unreliable protagonist, drinking too much alcohol whilst taking prescription drugs for her mental health issues.  She is intelligent and likeable but is on a self-destructive path. There is a resonating, supernatural element in this story. Beginning in her past Sri Lankan life, becoming increasingly disturbing in her adult life. Delusional, a clever revengeful illusion, or something more menacing? The reader doesn't know until the final revelations.

Relentless pacing keeps the reader turning the pages. It allows little time to peruse the evidence. The plot keeps its secrets well the reveals are few but impactful. Amidst the sinister and supernatural,` there is a poignant ethos surrounding the main protagonist. It shows her loneliness and vulnerability. 

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Wow wow wow. What a thrilling ride this book was! I couldn’t put it down and it had me gripped from the very start… and I did not see the end coming! This was a 5* book for me and I cannot wait for future releases from this author. Thank you for providing me an arc!
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A very interesting novel with a twist. Paloma has been left in a children’s home in Sri Lanka and is finally adopted by an American couple when she is 12. We hear this part of her story as well as her present day story in San Francisco, aged 30. Things appear to have gone wrong but we are not sure what until part way through which is good suspense! There are bits of the supernatural and cultural stories leading you to wonder what is true and what isn’t. 

Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. A really good read. Very unlikeable characters but so well created it was still enjoyable to read about them.  Not an easy thing to do.  It was well written and held my attention to the end. Recommend as a good read.
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