Cover Image: My Sweet Girl

My Sweet Girl

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Member Reviews

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? 

This is a thrilling read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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I think this is a good debut but I'm not a fan of the book as I found it a bit confusing and slow.
I found the part set in Sri Lanka more interesting the contemporary one.
Not my cup of tea
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Full of suspense and characters who are  flawed. What's not to like? Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book.
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This was a perfect debut. It was absolutely thrilling and immersive and nail biting. I couldn't put it down.

Jayatissa writes with wit and sarcasm Nd her main characters steal the show from the moment they arrive.

I disliked all the characters, not one of them was likeable - and I loved it! The whole story of Paloma and Lahini was heartbreaking and doomed from day one.

The ending was perfect although I did see the twists coming. I don't think that changed anything for me, in fact I think it made it better because I was ready for them and excited to read it play out the way it should l!

Overall a fantastic debut and one that I think will be huge this year.

Congrats to Amanda Jayatissa!
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A case of the secrets from your past will always catch up with you. Paleo a should of had a charmed life when she was adopted by a wealthy family. When she was thirty things began to go wrong when Arun came into her life. Her secrets began to surface, her life unravelled and she didn’t know if she had to keep running. Gripping
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If you are a lover of the unreliable narrator and who isn't, this one is for you. A remarkable debut from Amanda Jayatissa.

Thirty year old Paloma Evans' present day life in San Francisco is chaotic, not helped by her use of alcohol and prescription drugs. She is harboring a very dark secret which she is desperate to keep hidden. In Sri Lanka in 2002, Paloma is living in a orphanage waiting to be adopted by the Evans family. The two storylines run in parallel and that works really well.

Paloma is a great character. It is clear that she is messed up but she is also irreverently funny, clever and highly suspicious of those around her. 

There is plenty of suspense in this cleverly written novel both in the present day and in Sri Lanka. There are hints of the supernatural especially in the latter. As the reader you are never quite sure what is real and what isn't. A highly entertaining and enjoyable read. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It was clear within the first few chapters that this was going to be a phenomenal book. Not only is it a disturbing psychological thriller with twists you won’t see coming, it is also an incredible debut.

My Sweet Girl is a great option for a spooky season read as it reads like a gothic thriller at times. It’s super creepy with an unreliable narrator, an urban legend and delivers recurring intense feelings of dread.

While I did guess the main plot twist early on, I was constantly doubting my instincts. As for the other twists? I didn’t see a single one of them coming. They blew my mind.

The author did a fantastic job alternating between the dual timelines. Both were immersive and distinct enough to not disrupt the flow. And regardless of which timeline we were currently in, I didn’t want the chapter to end which is a testament to Jayatissa’s exceptional storytelling.

Overall, I can’t praise this book highly enough. It is breathtakingly good and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this author writes next.
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My Sweet Girl is a dark, twisty and fiendishly compelling psychological thriller featuring international deceit and murder that clearly reminds you that no matter what you do or where you go in the world, you can never outrun the fickle hand of fate. 30-year-old Paloma Evans grew up in the Little Miracles Girls’ Home in Ratmalana, Sri Lanka, and all she ever yearned for in life at that time was to be adopted and loved. At 12 years of age, a couple of rich, beautiful and married American philanthropists from San Francisco stopped by to visit the orphanage and had much to her surprise taken an interest in her; they eventually decided to take her home as their daughter. It felt like a dream come true, even if it meant leaving everything and everyone she knew and loved behind. Secretly, she was also glad to be able to escape the terrifying future she saw in store for her under the sadistic discipline of Sister Cynthia, who would take over her care once she aged out of the home. Fast forward eighteen years and Paloma is now an alcoholic barely holding herself together. Not only does she drink too much, but she also’s on meds, she has nightmares about something that happened back at the orphanage and sometimes she thinks she’s being stalked by a Sri Lankan ghost who followed her to the States, and she knows she’s being stalked here at her current home address by someone who keeps calling her and ringing her buzzer repeatedly. 

Then there's the fact that Arun, the Indian immigrant roommate she’s been illegally subletting to, has discovered the secret she’s spent so many years hiding and is trying to blackmail her. Unfortunately for them both, her bank accounts are frozen, and the wealthy parents she’s been having such a hard time talking lately to won’t be unfreezing them any time soon. After an unsuccessful attempt to con a bank clerk into forwarding her the money she needs, Paloma stops at a bar as she feels she needs a drink or two in order to build up her courage before facing Arun again. When she finally feels ready and staggers back to her apartment to plead for mercy, she’s horrified to find her would-be blackmailer dead at their kitchen table. Worse, an apparition she thought she’d left behind in Sri Lanka appears, causing her to flee the apartment and lose consciousness in the stairwell. In the cold, sober light of (the following) day, Paloma is ready to return to her apartment, call the cops and report Arun’s death… only there’s no trace of a body or blood or other foul play. The police are ready to chalk up her story to the ravings of a hallucinatory drunk but Paloma knows something is deeply wrong. As visions of the terrifying female spirit known as Mohini continue to haunt her, Paloma must finally face her past and the crushing guilt she’s lived with for most of her life, if she wants to have any hope of future happiness.

This is a compulsive, enthralling and endlessly clever thriller that is wonderfully twisty and completely addictive with a devious unreliable narrator and simply fraught with tension. Most of all, it’s driven by Paloma’s uniquely cutting voice and wit that you can’t help but love. It was such a blast reading about a complex, sassy character whose experiences of being a brown woman navigating typically white spaces largely mirrors those of many minority women in real life. It opens in a profane, anger-and-adrenaline-fuelled blast that once I began there was no hope of putting down until dawn. It's an exhilarating novel that never skips a beat and will leave you breathless from its non-stop action and propulsive, rapid-fire plot. Told in alternating chapters set 18 years and half a world apart, My Sweet Girl hits with the force of a hurricane. It might even give you some nightmares of your own. The author’s experiences of overt racism, as well as the ubiquitous quotidian microaggressions minorities often face inspired the incidents Paloma come into contact with within these pages. The claustrophobic and suffocating atmosphere stems from how the protagonist experiences life as a person of colour in the U.S, “the pressure to conform to living in a foreign environment while often feeling inadequate” and the Sri Lankan chapters are full of intimate detail—the immersive folk tales and both the language’s lilt and rhythm. Highly recommended.
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I got My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa form NetGalley for a fair and honest review.
My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa is a thriller about a young Sri Lankan woman called Paloma, who was abandoned by her mum after being born in an orphanage.
Paloma lived in the orphanage until getting, her dream, an adoption by a rich American couple Mr and Mrs Evens, who live in California.
Now at the age of 30 the dream is turning into a nightmare, after being cut of from her parents, and after finding her flat mate dead after he tried to bribe her about what happened before she was adopted.
Now the flat mate’s body has disappeared, does this mean that Paloma’s life is in danger as well.

My Sweet Girl is a thriller which is told on two timelines one while paloma is still in the orphanage in Sri Lanka and the other is in California were the repercussions of the events that take palace occur.
To make things easier for the reader the timeline only changes at the start of each chapter, although. There were a few times that several chapters were grouped together with the same timeline.
The story is told by the narrative of Paloma, the first one in Sri Lanka and the second in California. 
What I really liked about this novel was the way that the writer Amanda Jayatissa, used the fact that Paloma in California became a narrator who missed events as she was on strong medication, which when she drank, gave her blackouts.
Meaning the story had a few blank spaces in as Paloma’s narrative was unable to fill in the gaps to the story which she would have done if she was not drinking.
Another thing the writer did well was because she used the dual timeline method of telling the story, I felt that as a reader any secrets in the novel were only told to the reader when the writer wanted them to be.
All in all My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa, was a griping thriller which drew me into the story and I can highly recommend it to the general thriller reader.
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Amanda Jayatissa’s ghostly and chilling debut thriller kickstarts with the protagonist Sri Lankan born Paloma facing dire circumstances. Struggling financially, the young woman who now lives in the San Francisco Bay area is being blackmailed by her roommate Arun who has stumbled upon her biggest, darkest secret. The narrative follows a dual timeline featuring the present day adult Paloma and as a young twelve year old girl, an orphan living in the Little Girls Miracles Home in Ratmalana, Sri Lanka in 2002, prior to her adoption by the charitable Mr and Mrs Evans. Your insight into Paloma’s two worlds, then and now is strangely disconcerting, rather strange and alarming and definitely a little bit spooky. 

It took me a while to immerse myself in this thriller, finding the style and language not immediately to my liking and not helped by the fact that due to an unexpected hectic work schedule I had no choice but to read in fits and starts. Normally I gobble up the majority of books in one or two days so the fact I couldn’t may account for why I feel less enamoured overall by this debut than I’d anticipated, rather than this being a reflection of the author’s writing. Present day Paloma isn’t easy to warm to, displaying the classic signs of an unreliable narrator behaving in a manner that makes you question her every word. Is she a fantasist living in her own fictional world or are her delusions and hallucinations the result of a troubled past? But who doesn’t love an unreliable narrator? They make the best characters; multifaceted, intriguing and unpredictable! You can only assume that whatever the secret is she’s been hiding is highly damaging if she’s being threatened with blackmail. Clearly frightened, panicked and angered by this turn of events, the author gives you the sense of a person whose already fragile state of mind is teetering on the edge of collapse, a tortured soul haunted by a figure from her past. It would seem Paloma can’t outrun this ghostly apparition which nicely arouses your curiosity and creates an element of confusion surrounding what is fantasy and what is fact. Switching between timeframes keeps the narrative flowing as well as providing the reader with a comprehensive picture of the childhood Paloma and the events that have shaped her into the woman she is today. Why when the opportunity to live the American dream with loving adoptive parents has life been derailed into this ghostly nightmarish existence? Should we feel sorrow for this woman who has come from such humble beginnings or is she the instigator of her own downfall?? These are pertinent but hard to answer questions! Strange things are occurring in this San Francisco neighbourhood made stranger still by some of the other characters who come into contact with Paloma. Suffice to say she isn’t the only one who’s acting a little weird and I found myself entirely discombobulated by some of these interactions and the twists and turns her life takes. The ghostly/supernatural theme works well across both storylines tying the past and the present together most satisfactorily. 

I preferred the Sri Lankan setting to Paloma’s present day life in San Francisco. I enjoyed these parts of the narrative given over to the young girl immensely, fascinated by her life in the orphanage before her dream to escape becomes reality. Much time is spent detailing her friends and foes, the guardians both good and bad in charge of the girls upbringing and the one figure who petrifies them all, the ghost Mohini. Whether or not this supernatural being is a figment of their vivid imaginations, a scary tale taking on a mythical status or is actually real is anyone’s guess. If the girls are divided in their opinion as to Mohini’s existence you can rest assured you will be too! Creepy, disturbing and quite dark and ominous in places this is a thriller with revenge at its heart. 

It’s in the latter stages of the book when certain pieces start falling into place and those nagging suspicions are confirmed that I became fully engrossed, zipping through the pages. At the point where everything becomes blindingly obvious (not that I’d sussed it all out!) the pace increases and the fear factor climbs a notch or two, the drama and the suspense reaching fever pitch. The climax is spine tingling good, ending on a very chilly note indeed. On balance this is a good debut, more gripping in places than others and is well executed. A very commendable 4⭐️ 

My thanks as always to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.
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I am afraid I struggled with this book I found it quite slow, having said that I am an impatient reader, so it might well be my fault. I see other readers enjoyed it more, and I can only apologise that it wasn't grabbing me.
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4,5 ⭐️

When a few weeks back Abby from @crimebythebook named My Sweet Girl as her favorite debut of 2021 I knew I had to read it. I had never heard about it but it immediately went up to the top of my TBR, so when a few days later I was offered a widget I was over the moon.

Sometimes it takes me several days to write a review, trying to find a way to convey my thoughts, but with My Sweet Girl I’ve found myself writing it the minute I finished it. It writes by itself! 2021 is being a year of phenomenal debuts and My Sweet Girl is now part of that list.

I went in almost blind and that was such a wise choice. You just need to know that the MC is Paloma, a 30 yo girl from Sri Lanka who was adopted by a wealthy American couple when she was 12. Now, 18 years later, some secrets from her past are about to come to light but she will do anything to prevent it.

Paloma was such an interesting character. Her belligerence and abrasiveness, alongside her permanent anger with the world prompted some funny moments among all the paranoia surrounding her. She’s also an unreliable narrator and I love when you can’t fully trust your narrator cause that usually means lots of surprises ahead.

The past timeline offered glimpses of her life as a child in an orphanage in Sri Lanka and I loved reading it. It’s the first time I read a story set in Sri Lanka, so it’s nice to see some different scenarios in the psychological thriller genre. I visited the country a few years back and fell in love with it. The Sri Lankan folklore and ghost tales were a nice touch and added a fantastic creep factor.

I became so engrossed from the first page that I actually missed my train stop. The positive side was I had longer to keep on reading, and you won’t want to stop reading once you’ve started.

The only reason this was not 5 stars is because I called the twist early on, but that did not detract at all from my enjoyment.

Qué será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see….  But it is! And I predict a future where My Sweet Girl is a huge hit!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely devoured this book! It was hard to put down - even when it was so spine-chilling that I had to put the big light on to stop me getting too scared when I was reading it in bed! Loads of fab, unexpected twists and turns, and a wholly unexpected ending. I can't wait for more from this author!
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I have been wanting to read My Sweet Girl for a long time, ever since I saw it announced and I was so excited to start!

Amanda Jayatissa did not let me down, I loved every second of this read!
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This twisty twisty novels moves back and forth in time to tell the story of Paloma, who was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka at the age of 12.  Now she's living in San Francisco and struggling with her mental health and her drinking.  She's shocked to find Arun, her room mate who knows a secret about her, dead at the kitchen table but then his body is missing when the police arrive.  Is she a reliable narrator?  She tries to find Arun and then heads to her parents' empty house (they're off doing good works) where she stumbles into another mystery involving a neighbor who has gone missing.  Interspersed is a look at her last year in Sri Lanka, the other girls, and the ghost story of Mohini.  This has so many twists that I found myself a little confused near the very end.  It's also got some biting commentary on International adoption and other things.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  It's well paced - a page turner- and very entertaining.
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Such a clever book, very dark, very disturbing, but so well written!
We flip between Paloma as an adult in the US and her life in an orphanage as a child, until the age of 12 in Sri Lanka. Paloma was adopted and found herself living a very privileged life in San Francisco, somewhat of a shock to the system.
I felt so much for her, suddenly immersed into a new culture that she didn't understand and trying to live up to the expectations of her new parents, and things now take a very dark turn with the murder of her flatmate who was blackmailing her. 
I did guess where it was going but it was so well written, a really excellent debut novel and I will be excited to read more from this writer.
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Divided between two time lines this book takes you on a roller-coaster ride. 

Haunted by her past Paloma must find her life in America or lose it forever... 

This book is full of suspense and twists and turns that I didn't always see coming although I did struggle with the fact I found Paloma not to be a particularly likeable heroine.  It's well written though and I would recommend this author.  

Thanks to Netgalley for the copy.  

With thanks
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Thank you #Hodder&Stoughton, #NetGalley and #AmandaJayatissa for a digital advanced reader's copy of #MySweetGirl  in exchange for a genuine review. 

First of all, kudos to Amanda for sharing with us Paloma's story of her life in Sri Lanka before in the orphanage up to the point where she was definitely living her American Dream. However, I'm not entirely sure if I was the right audience for this. I find it hard to read because it was too slow for me. I didn't get that invested in Paloma and for some reason, I didn't really like her character that much. I've just tried to sort out what I liked and disliked about the book below. 

What did I like about it? 
* It had a scary and creepy factors in it. 
* It still kept me intrigued even if it was too slow 
* Twists and turns of the story 
* Secrets to uncover 
* First person point of view 
* Two different timelines. 

What I didn’t like about it? 
* Too slow & writing style 
* I couldn’t find myself to get invested in the book 
* I got to the point where I felt like it was a burden to read. 
* When the twists and turns were introduced my mind was so messed up to the point where I was genuinely confused about what was going on. I felt like there were too many plot holes as well. There were parts where it just didn’t make sense when it came to the REVEAL. 

I am giving this book a 3-star rating. 
I would still recommend this book to those readers who would mainly just focus on the secrets, twists and turns. 
Once again thank you for the digital advanced reader's copy #Hodder&Stoughton, #NetGalley and #AmandaJayatissa.
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An incredible debut novel thoroughly deserving of 4*. This psychological thriller starts in Sri Lanka, continues to USA but is interwoven with stories from Sri Lanka

I thoroughly enjoyed this.  My first novel partly based in Sri Lanka which only makes me want to read more about this country, it’s traditions and it’s mysteries

I have no hesitation  recommending this book 

With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin books for an ARC in return for an honest review
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I found this book quite a difficult read .I wondered if it was written for the young adult market due to the writing style which I didn't enjoy and found tedious .The story is written across two times lines going back and forth between Sri Lanka and San Francisco. I wasn't drawn to Paloma I didn't find her very reliable or likeable but the story is full of twists and turns ,secrets and an unexpected ending . Many thanks to the Publisher ,the Author and NetGalley for my copy in return for an honest review .
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