THE PERFECT GIRL

A Novel

Gilly Macmillan

From Gilly Macmillan, the international bestselling and Edgar Award nominated author of What She Knew, comes this whip-smart, addictive, and harrowing novel of psychological suspense—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Kimberly McCreight.

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

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From Gilly Macmillan, the international bestselling and Edgar Award nominated author of What She Knew, comes this whip-smart, addictive, and harrowing novel of psychological suspense—perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Kimberly McCreight.

Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.

In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all.

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  • William Morrow
  • Hardcover
  • September 2016
  • 464 Pages
  • 9780062567482

Buy the Book

$25.99

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About Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Praise

“With tightly drawn characters, a fascinating storyline and absolutely exquisite narration, The Perfect Girl is sure to keep readers up all night. Gilly Macmillan proves once again to be a master of the written word and is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors. Literary suspense at its finest.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Baby

“As the suspenseful, serpentine tale unreels from the alternating perspectives of several key players, readers will be rooting for the resilient, resourceful Zoe all the way to the perfectly executed final twists.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“I DEVOURED The Perfect Girl. An incredible page turner with awesome characters and suspense. Bravo.” — Kate White, New York Times bestselling author

Discussion Questions

1. What advantages do Zoe’s abilities give her? Can you understand why Maria pushed her daughter musically? What responsibility do you think parents have to a child showing strong aptitude for something? What is fostering and what is pushing too hard?

2. Zoe makes a very difficult decision towards the end of The Perfect Girl, one that will certainly have significant and long-lasting consequences both for herself and others. Do you think she did the right thing? How much sympathy do you have for her?

3. To what extent do you think of Maria as a victim, or as somebody who is deliberately deceiving others?

4. What does the character of Zoe’s solicitor add to the novel?

5. What is the importance of music and its redemptive power in the novel?

6. At the end of the book both Tess and Richard seem to have an inkling that Zoe has deceived everybody but they don’t discuss this. Do you think they will talk about it eventually, and work out what might have happened and, if so, what do you think they’ll do as a result?

7. Lucas is a quiet character. How do you feel about him? Do you think he’ll thrive in his new family, or could he be in danger of ultimately remaining loyal to his father and telling the truth about what happened?

8. A number of novels deal with the burden of a deadly secret – how well do you think this idea is handled in The Perfect Girl?

9. Do you recognize some of the pressures that the family find themselves under more generally? Is that urge to keep up with others, to be a successful unit, to put on a good show familiar to you?

10. ‘My mother: who never talks about what really matters…’ How far is this question explored in the book?
The ending is both satisfying for Zoe and enigmatic – how successful do you think it is, and do you think Chris deserved what happened to him at the end?