My Sweet Girl

The most shocking thriller of 2021 with an UNFORGETTABLE narrator

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Pub Date 5 May 2022 | Archive Date 5 May 2022

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Description

'My Sweet Girl is like nothing else I've read. Set in San Francisco and Sri Lanka, this is a story about friendship, lies, and guilt. A stunning and original must-read' Samantha Downing, Sunday Times bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

A girl in a new country.

A dark secret left behind.

A dead body which might tell all.

Ever since she was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka, Paloma has led a privileged Californian life: the best schools, a generous allowance and parents so perfect that Paloma fears she'll never live up to them.

Now at thirty, Paloma has managed to disappoint her parents so thoroughly that their relationship will never recover. Unemployed and friendless, the only person still talking to her is Arun - the Indian man subletting her spare room. That is until Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her fragile place in this country, and the next day is found face down in a pool of blood.

On finding Arun's body Paloma flees her apartment. But by the time the police arrive, there's no body to be found or signs of struggle - and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.

The police may be quick to dismiss everything, but Paloma knows what she saw. Is this tangled up in her childhood in Sri Lanka and the desperate actions she took to leave so many years ago? And did Paloma's secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

'My Sweet Girl is like nothing else I've read. Set in San Francisco and Sri Lanka, this is a story about friendship, lies, and guilt. A stunning and original must-read' Samantha Downing, Sunday Times ...


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ISBN 9781529365306
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 79 members


Featured Reviews

Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to start - I enjoyed this book it was well written with good pacing/flow and well-developed characters. I read this fast I could not put it down with plenty of twists to keep me guessing, I really didn’t see the ending coming and it had my mouth wide open and my jaw sitting on my chest afterwards. This book is delicious, it was dark, disturbing. Clever and gave me gothic chills all over. I could not put this book down and read it in one sitting, I am definitely going to be looking for more from this author, highly recommended. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.

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#MySweetGirl #NetGalley Hodder Straighten's best book published till date. Paloma has led a privileged Californian life: the best schools, a generous allowance and parents so perfect that Paloma fears she'll never live up to them. Now at thirty, Paloma has managed to disappoint her parents so thoroughly that their relationship will never recover. Unemployed and friendless, the only person still talking to her is Arun - the Indian man subletting her spare room. That is until Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her fragile place in this country, and the next day is found face down in a pool of blood. On finding Arun's body Paloma flees her apartment. But by the time the police arrive, there's no body to be found or signs of struggle - and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. I devoured it. Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder Straighten for giving me an advanced copy.

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Wow what a ride that was! I absolutely DEVOURED this book it was just so good. This had me from the first line and I knew it was going to be a “up till the wee hours” kinda read. As a debut novel I cannot wait to read more from this author because whatever it is I’ll be first in line. I particularly enjoyed the unreliable narrator and didn’t guess the twists (yes!!! More than one) despite reading a lot within this genre and other unreliable narrator novels. I haven’t read something like this since I was blindsided by “The silent patient” over a year ago. Anyway if you can’t tell by my raving this book is amazing and I recommend anybody to read it

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Que Sera, Sera.... whatever will be, will be? The future's not ours to see... When I found out that there is a psychological thriller written by a Sri Lankan author, I was so excited! I have never come across a thriller written by Sri Lankan author (there may be but maybe I am not too familiar) so this was my first thriller book written by a Sri Lankan author. And boy after reading this book, I was surprised at how good this book really was! Paloma Evans was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by a Mr. and Mrs. Evans and moved to America to start a new life. Eighteen years later, living in San Francisco Bay Area, her parents have cut Paloma off from their trust fund and she had sublet her apartment to a person named Arun from India. But soon, Arun starts blackmailing her, saying that he knows about a dark secret of Paloma and soon, Paloma finds Arun lying in a pool of blood in her apartment. But when the police arrive at the crime scene, Arun's body was no where to be found. Set between alternate time lines between Sri Lanka and San Francisco. From start to finish, I was so engrossed into the book! I must say, the author's writing was really good and witty and did a good job keeping the reader into the story. This was actually a fast-paced thriller, with chilling ghost folk tales shared among the children in the orphanage at night and towards the middle of the book, begins the twists and turns, so dark and unexpected! The main protagonist, Paloma seems to be witty and probably a bit unlikable character and I kind of had a love hate relationship with Paloma--at one moment, I liked her funny witty attitude and the other, I hated her for her personality. As a reader, I was curious what Paloma's secret was but with the twisted and unexpected end, when the secret was revealed, I was so shocked that I had to take a breather!! Totally unexpected. The book was also realistic in many ways, particularly about Paloma's life in San Francisco. Having lived in Ohio for five years, I got to experience some racism and the fact that people call Sri Lankan language Sinhalese as Sri Lankan and many Americans are a bit clueless about Sri Lanka is all realistic and the author has captured it beautifully, making it realistic as possible. Life in the orphanage and the corruption was all too realistic as well.. Overall, I completely enjoyed this book, staying up all night just to finish this book! Overall, My Sweet Girl is a heck of a thrilling ride that will keep you up all night! Worth 4.5 stars!! Many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

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Paloma has a terrible secret from her time in the orphanage before being adopted by a wealthy couple in California. Now a young adult, her secret has been discovered and her flat mate is dead/disappeared. She's drinking, blacking out seeing a ghost from the past she's trying to forget in this twisting mystery tale told by Paloma as narrator.

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Thank you, Hodder & Stoughton, for suggesting this book to me. Very strong narrative voice. Paloma sounds kind of like Joe from “You” - there is no stalking involved... and she uses a LOT of f bombs, but overall her manner of speech (hope this makes sense) is quite similar. Another thing, there should be some kind of warning, like “read at night at your own risk” XD Because the way it’s written, you just glide from page to page, the story unfolds and then BAM, then it’s all good, some crazy things happen, some not so crazy things and BAM and you’re sleeping with your lights on. I did guess the big twist about half way through the book. From the reviews I’ve seen, quite a few people also figured it out — but I still enjoyed how the story unravelled. Final chapter was my favourite part. A more than satisfying ending. The only thing that bothered me while I was reading was the inconsistency of tenses throughout the book (note, I’m not talking about Paloma’s in-the-moment thought process). It felt like the novel had been written in present tense but for some reason was later converted into the past, which ended up leaving some verbs in the present. And there were a lot of errors like p135: “if my mother thought me anything”, but mostly things like p160: “I wasn’t sure I hear her right” and p292 “I was leaving her and I don’t believe her”. I’m not sure if the copy I’ve read is an uncorrected proof or not, though. Overall, I think Amanda Jayatissa did an incredible job. Will definitely recommend it!

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This book was insane!!!! I loved the twists and the ending. Recommended. goodreads.com/booksireadandliked Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and author for my advanced review copy of the book. This is my honest review

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Picked My Sweet Girl up just to start it to read a few pages ,this tense chilling thriller drew me in and I read late into the night.A book with so many twists and turns characters that come alive an edge of your seat thriller.A book I wo I’ll be recommending and an author I will be following.#netgalley #hodderstoughton

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Its 2.10am and I haven’t slept yet as I had to find out the ending to this addictive book. This has to be the best psychological suspense thriller I’ve ever read and I’ve been reading them for over 25 years, this is a one of a kind, dark and twisted tale of Paloma, a Sri Lankan woman who was adopted by a wealthy, charitable couple from America, when she was 12 years old. Paloma left her best friend back in the Sri Lankan orphanage that they’d both lived since birth and felt guilty about it ever since. The book flips from Paloma’s time in Sri Lanka as a child , to the present where Paloma lives in San Francisco as a disturbed woman who is trying to start a career as a freelance graphic designer, come to terms with her past as well as dealing with the disturbing incidents that seem to be occurring more and more often. She doesn’t have anyone close to her that she can speak to about them and her parents are currently away on a charitable trip but things are a little shady between them anyway. Paloma can’t tell her therapist what’s happening to her as she doesn’t want her to think she’s crazy…..is she crazy? . Paloma is a harsh and complex character that you can’t help but adore. At times you feel such heart ache for her and how troubled she is and then other times you can’t help but want to shout ‘sort yourself out woman’ which is a compliment to how well Amanda Jayatissa has wrote her. You feel her pain and fear deeply. And you are kept guessing what’s real and what’s not from the beginning…..all the better in my eyes as I’m fed up of being able to guess the ending early on in the book. I totally didn’t guess this ending. I’ve never read a psychological suspense thriller that has got under my skin as much as this one, it’s dark and compelling tale has caused me to sleep with the light on as the scenes from the book have played on my mind so much……I’m no way easily scared but this book is written not only to make your mind really work with its twists and turns of a strong thriller; but also to truly make you feel uneasy and eerie…….which I absolutely love, isn’t that why we read these kinds of books, for the thrill? I’ve found myself thinking about Paloma whilst going along in my normal daily life and when I have to nip upstairs in the evening and the lights are off, I think back to some of the parts of the book that have chilled me to the bone. This book packs a punch and has everything I’ve ever wanted from a psychological suspense thriller and much, much more. It has left a lasting impression on me and I can’t rave about it enough. When this book is published I will be buying it for my brother who I know will love it. Truly magnificent and the ending is unbelievably imaginative……WOW!! Is the only word I can use to describe the final twist. Happy reading you’re in for a wild ride.

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This book is everything a psychological thriller should be! Gripping, addictive, exciting, and impossible to put down - I read this in one sitting! The drama starts from the first few pages, which is what I love, and although the back story was told through the narrative voice, it was still chilling and intense. The conclusion was unforeseen, and I didn't guess what was coming, (although I know some readers did!) This is definitely a book I will be recommending - I can not praise it enough!

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This story really started off strong, by the second chapter I was already hooked! And amazingly this didn't let up. The suspense was killer, the twists were shocking, the intricate characters and plot structure really pulled together a dark, gothic, mysterious debut psychological thriller. I can't praise the author and her work here enough. It's been a long time since a psychological thriller like this has been able to surprise me, and it was filled with the perfect amount of sinister and unpredictable touches. The flashback setting was greatly atmospheric and eerie, exactly what you wish for in an ideal thriller. The last ten chapters or so of this book has honestly left my jaw hanging, my mind is just blown at how complex the plot became and seeing the past play out along side the present, finally the story meets in the middle with massive reveals you won't see coming. I'm loving all these new debut authors, they've one hundred percent raised the bar over this past year with my rating my last few debut novels with five stars. This is definitely one I will be recommending to friends. If you are looking for real suspense and shock, something more original, you will find it here.

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I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review I loved this one. Very fast paced, had me turning pages as I tore through it – I had to see how it would end. The characters were well rounded and the narrative felt believable. Gave me chills. Solid five

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Thanks NetGalley and Amanda Jayatissa for an ARC to review. Wow! This was insane, I believe I haven't read anything like this before! Original, engaging writing style, thrilling, emotional, heartbreaking whirlpool of a book. I loved it and when I was about to take out maybe half a star earing the ending, where the wow ending came and earned back the full five stars. Maybe I'm not a sweet girl myself as well!. The storyline altenates between current time America where Paloma is struggling through a tough phase of her life and 18 years ago in SiriLanka following her life in the orphanage before getting adopted and coming to America. Brilliant!

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I loved this book! Reading the first few chapters I honestly couldn’t work out where this was going - and wow! I never would have guessed in a million years what unfolded! Brilliantly written with some curve balls thrown at you right until the end! I found the more I read the more I needed to read. I loved the writing style and how the book just flowed seamlessly. Definitely an author I’ll be keeping a lookout for in the future.

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Well written and thoroughly enjoyed this. Set in San Francisco and Sri Lanka the 2 different narratives both had me hooked. Without giving spoilers there were some things that I felt stood out as obvious rather then being revealed with a shock value but I still enjoyed reading it and would recommend.

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A debut novel with a bite. Really loved this one. The tale of Paloma, a Sri Lankan 30 something living in San Francisco after being adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage when she was 12 by a wealthy couple, she is a troubled young woman, haunted by her past. In therapy and battling with alcohol, her life is spiralling out of control. Her secrets from her past and her childhood haunt her to this day. When her flat mate finds a letter belonging to her that will reveal her secret past, he tries to blackmail her. Panicked she returns to her flat to confront him but finds him murdered. Shocked and seeing someone in the flat she runs for her life before collapsing and passing out on the buildings stairs. When she reports the murder there is no body in the flat and no sign of a crime scene. Pamolas drug treatment along with her drinking and paranoia lead her to doubt herself constantly, struggling to tell what is and isn’t real. This story is told in the present and in the past back in the orphanage with Pamola as our unreliable narrator throughout. A tale of guilt, betrayal and revenge, and also subtle racism, I found this a compelling read with loads of twists and turns along the way, many of which I didn’t see coming. Hints of supernatural add to the intrigue as you try to figure out what is going on. Both timeframes work equally well as I was invested in the character both as a child and an adult. I didn’t find the pacing slow at all and indeed fairly flew though this book. Maybe a twist too many would be my only criticism but they were fun and wrapped things up nicely. This author has introduced herself with a bang and i for one look forward to reading her future works. Four and a half stars rounded up to five. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC though Netgalley.

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What an amazingly accomplished debut thriller this is! It has everything from gothic horror and unreliable narrators to dead bodies and Sri Lankan orphanages all mixed up together to produce a coherent and very twisty whole! I'm already looking forward to the author's next book

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I love reading thrillers and was delighted to receive this book in exchange for a review! This is a debut novel for this author and if this book is anything to go by I can’t wait for more! I can normally predict what’s going to happen in these type of books but this one kept me turning the pages right to the end! I was engrossed in this book from start to finish.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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