Author: Victoria Helen Stone
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman
Jane returns to her college town of Minneapolis after taking a leave of absence from her high-paying and impressive job as a corporate lawyer in Kuala Lumpur for one reason only: to get revenge on the man she blames for her best friend Meg’s suicide. A self-diagnosed sociopath, Jane has changed her entire personality in order to befriend and eventually seduce Steven, Meg’s ex. Instead of dark hair, a power suit, and a strong, confident personality, Jane turns into a floral and lace dress wearing Christian girl who wants to do anything to please her man. She quickly grabs Steven’s attention at her new data entry job at the insurance company where Steve works, and soon, he is asking her out on dates. Once she gains Steve’s love and trust, Jane is able to put her plan of destroying Steven’s life into motion. The only complication is Luke, a boyfriend from college, who immediately recognizes the Jane he knew back in the day. He wants to renew their relationship, and Jane starts seeing him again for fun. The problem is, she’s falling in love with him, too.
Rarely have I come across a book, movie, or TV show in which the main character wants to get revenge on someone and actually goes through with it. Usually, the character comes to a moral epiphany, or the plan gets thwarted, or something else happens that prevents the revenge from taking place. I was pleasantly surprised to see some form of revenge- whether the original plan or not I won’t say- for once. It’s refreshing to see someone plan and carry out the plan when nobody gets hurt in real life.
Jane has self-diagnosed as a sociopath because she cannot feel empathy for others. She talks about her struggle to fit in as a functioning member of society when she feels so differently from others, and I am sure many people can relate. Rather than making her seem unlikeable because of her personality, Stone manages to make her more relatable because of her ownership of it. We readers can see her struggle and therefore feel for her.
The story is pretty far-fetched as far as plots go, at least in my experience, but the fantasy of getting back at someone for a wrongdoing exists in each and every one of us. That part is fun and cathartic as we live out scenarios we know we would never personally do.
I can’t say enough about this book, and other than the obvious fantasy of the plot, it’s all positive. I was worried when I received this book that I wouldn’t have enough time to read it, but that was a fantasy, too. From the first line I was hooked, and I quickly devoured the story. The characters are each fascinating in their own way, some acting as wonderful studies of human nature. The plot moves along quickly although the reader doesn’t know until the very end what will end up happening. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep us interested until the very last page. I couldn’t get enough of Jane and her flawed personality just because she kept me on my toes.
No matter how much I loved this book, I would not recommend it for everyone. The language is frequently crude and not recommended for younger readers. The subject matter itself is for mature readers who will not take it to heart. There is a suicide (The basis behind the whole story) and revenge porn. Some mild violence and rough sex are also included. This book came in way beyond my expectations, and I believe that readers who enjoy thrillers and who can overlook some challenging themes will have an enjoyable read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.