Jess is a make up artist living paycheck to paycheck until she steals someone else’s windfall. While preparing a client for a night, Jess learns of the woman’s plan to skip a paid research survey for a psych professor, forfeiting the $500 payment. Armed with the client’s name and survey details, Jess takes the plunge and shows up for the appointment, and becomes Subject 52.
After answering a series of questions around the concepts of ethics and morality, and unveiling her secrets, Jess is invited back to participate in more session, with the promise of more remuneration. Her task now goes beyond answering questions, to being a player in elaborate scenarios created to test morality, or lack thereof, in unknown subjects.
As the scenarios begin to take on a familiar and ever-more-threatening theme, Jess wonders if it is possible to abandon the study with her own morals intact.
An Anonymous Girl is a beautiful but calculated dance around the concepts of good and evil, cleverly disguised as an elaborate research project. In truth, a single motivator lies behind the entire experiment, with lines firmly drawn and crossed. As the conflicting motives of the characters collide, it is up to the reader to decide whose versions of truth, love, and sacrifice are better. In a world where there is so much to gain and lose, Hendricks and Pekkanen dissect motivation, retributions, and apathy. The competing narratives of researcher and researched make for highly tense but enjoyable reading, as we are asked to divide our attention, and our loyalties, between two compelling characters. Perhaps this duality is a result of the book being penned by two authors, each with their unique insights, giving An Anonymous Girl its unique depth of character and enthralling dialogue of narratives. Hendricks and Pekkanen clearly demonstrate that every story has two sides, but that it is not always clear which is the right one.
An Anonymous Girl is a compelling and exciting read, filled with twists and subplots, which mingle to form an easy-to-read delight that will keep you up all night as you try to discover who to believe. Whose side will you choose?
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is published by Macmillan, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.