Cover Image: My Sweet Girl

My Sweet Girl

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Berkley Publishing and Net Galley for the eARC of My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa. Wow......just wow!

Set, In San Franscisco, Paloma finds her roommate dead.  She reports it to the police but when they investigate the body has disappeared.  Has she imagined this?  Has she hallucinated this?  She then moves out of her apartment into her rich parents house.  Soon, her neighbor goes missing.  Just what is happening?  She meets her other neighbors,, a young couple who are acting strange as well.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Paloma was adopted by her parents when she was a young girl from an orphanage in Sri Lanka.  There are some strange things happening there as well.  

This story is told in dual timelines by a very unlikeable narrator; Paloma.  It's suspenseful and you won't want to put it down.  No spoilers here....you're going to have to read this one to see how it all plays out!
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A psychological thriller with several unexpected twists that keep you on your toes. Takes place in a Sri Lanka orphanage and in the USA, featuring adoption, immigration, adjustment to a new life and culture. A twelve-year-old orphan girl Paloma is adopted by American philanthropists and transported from an Asian island to life in modern America. The past and its ghosts seem to stay with Paloma, however, even after she reaches adulthood in the U.S. How these conflicts unfold are the basis of this psych thriller.

Well plotted even though the plot twists are predictable in a few instances.
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This may be one of my favorite unreliable narrators. I usually try to avoid this trope, but this book delivers it just right. I was hooked from the start, and I did not want to stop reading. I think this may been one of the creepy and interesting books I have enjoyed in a very long while. Paloma is one of the best characters I have read. The best thing to do is pick this book up immediately because it will have you up all night with all of its twists and turns.
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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?"

Disappearing body AND set in San Francisco? Hells yes!
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Paloma grew up in an orphanage in Sri Lanka until she was adopted by an American couple when she was 12. For the last 18 years she's had the best money could offer. Now she's been cut off from her parents and has a roommate who found out her biggest secret and is blackmailing her. Before she can pay him off, however, she returns to the apartment to find him in a pool of blood at her kitchen table. By the time the police arrive, there's no body, no mess, no sign that Arun ever even existed. Did he tell anyone her secret before he died? Who killed him? Why was he killed? As Paloma spirals deeper and deeper, her narration becomes more and more unreliable. What is real and what is imagined? Will her secret come back to destroy her?

Told in chapters alternating between current day San Francisco and Sri Lanka of 18 years ago, this fact-paced psychological thriller will keep you turning pages! Though I did figure out one major twist before it was revealed, several others took me by surprise. High-brow literature that will change your life or make you think deep thoughts, this is not. But, it's an enjoyable read from beginning to end and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thrill ride or an unreliable narrator.

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own,
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Super enjoyable thriller! 
Paloma is an adopted Sri Lankan living in San Francisco and battling a drinking problem. Recently cut off from her parents financially, Paloma is struggling to make ends meet with her dead end job and a questionable roommate. 
Very early on, her roommate disappears after discovering her biggest secret. Paloma can't determine if her drinking is fooling her or if there are darker forces at work related to her past at the orphanage and her secret.

In this novel you do not know whom to trust and whom to root for. Totally twisty and believable, My Sweet Girl will keep you reading late in to the night to find out what is going on.  People and bodies disappear, possible ghosts and stalkers appear and reappear and the entire time you are unsure of whether you can believe the narrator. 

Great novel, enjoyed learning a bit about Sri Lanka and discovering the final twists at the end, At times, there was an opportunity to tension and fear that I think was missed. Still a great novel that kept me thoroughly engaged until the very end. 

If you like thrillers, mysteries, unreliable narrators, deep secrets and anything about Sri Lanka this will pull you right in!  Thank you to @NetGalley and #BerkleyBooks and the author Amanda Jayalissa for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. 

Good but not spectacular. Paloma, the protagonist completely sucked. It was impossible to really root for her for most of the book because she was just such a butt hole. The story was told in alternating timelines (past/present) and it guess it suited the plot twist towards the end, but the past kinda dragged. It was pretty boring until it wasn't. And it didn't take too long for me to guess how it would end. Overall, a solid debut but nothing i would go out of my way to recommend at all
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A woman adopted as a young teen in Sri Lanka by an American couple must confront her past before its too late. Paloma is going to do what needs to be done when her roommate decides to blackmail her when he finds an incriminating letter about her past. But while she's at the bank getting him money, she returns to find him dead. She understandably freaks out, and runs out only to return later to find the body gone. Meanwhile, she's having the feeling a ghost is haunting her, an elderly friend goes missing, and a mysterious man keeps hounding her. How does everything link to her past? What is she hiding? And who would kill for it?

Told in alternating chapters between now and her past in Sri Lanka, the reader gradually finds out what happened to Paloma and await the final showdown - which is more than a bit shocking. This was a great mystery thriller and would make a cool movie.
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My Sweet Girl, by Amanda Jayatissa, is one part thriller, two parts suspense, three parts searing commentary on race and wealth, and all parts brilliant. 

First, half of the thriller is set in a Sri Lankan orphanage, where pre-adolescent girls are used as props by the adults around them to entice the sympathies of well-to-do Americans. Jayatissa nails the hypocrisy and desperation of everyone involved in the farce, the half-magical half-bitter secret lives of the girls and covers it all in a blanket of eerie tension and sickening foreboding. 

The other half is set in current day San Francisco. Jayatissa perfectly captures the cadence of millennials in the city, the casual racism and microaggressions that women of color face even in a city that prides itself in its progressiveness, and the inner thoughts of her tortured and unlikable main character, Paloma. 

Paloma is an uncomfortable vessel for a chilling tale and the reader is constantly unsettled by her¬– even when she is bitingly funny. Every time you are tempted into sympathy for her, she bats it away with an uncanny talent for self-sabotage. The ending, when it clubs you from behind, is a master stroke and leaves you reeling for days afterward. 

This book blew me away with its seemingly effortless combination of thriller and social commentary and you will be missing an important reading experience if you don’t pick it up.
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This book surprised me!

A huge thank you to Berkley Pub, NetGalley and the author for my advanced copy.

What I Enjoyed-

The Dual Timeline- Not uncommon in books but it never gets old for me. Love a good Dual Timeline.

The Setting- Part of this book is set in Sri Lanka. I had never read a book set there until now.

The Creepiness- This book had great atmosphere. My Sweet Girl features some Sri Lankan folklore. Mohini was so scary. At different points I asked myself is this mystery thriller or is this horror ? 🤣. I'm a big chicken. Mohini is like the equivalent of what Bloody Mary was for me as a child. Oh the nightmares!

The Twists- Did not see them coming.

The Ending- Fabulous. This book was coasting between a 3 to a 3 ½ Star . The end definitely contributed to the higher rating.

Why It Lost a Star-

Paloma- So unlikeable. This usually does not bother me in mystery thriller books. Paloma was over the top annoying in the present day timeline.

The Language- We're all adults and sometimes adults use language. I get it. It was just excessive and The author often repeats the phrase "what the actual F*ck". If I were reading a physical copy I might have thrown it across the room.

Overall- So thankful to have been granted an early copy. I look forward to checking out more from this author in the future and I encourage other readers to pick this book .
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Through a series of flashbacks, readers learn the story behind Paloma's adoption from a Sri Lankan orphanage for girls when she was twelve. She was fortunate to be reading Mrs. Evan's favorite book when she and her husband toured the orphanage and Mrs. Evans took an immediate liking to her.  Little did Mrs. Evans know that the book that Paloma was reading belonged to her best friend at the orphanage who had the book memorized.  Did the Evans' adopt the wrong girl?  Now grown, Paloma has difficulty adjusting to her life in the US, binging on alcohol and mixing it with drugs prescribed by her analyst.  Why is she being so self-destructive?  Is she feeling guilty for leaving her best friend behind in the orphanage?  As her past is revealed, readers begin to realize that something doesn't quite add up in Paloma's adoption story and people who know the truth have died.  Jayatissa writes Paloma's story as if we were experiencing it first hand and readers will find themselves wondering how something as cherished as an adopted child can go so terribly wrong.
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Paloma is in shock when she comes home to her roommate Arun dead at the table. By the time she comes to and the cops arrive, the body is gone. While she had been worried that he knew her secret, she never would have killed him. Who did though? And what happened to his body? Suddenly strange things are happening to her but nobody believes her. Is her past secret finally catching up with her?

It took me some time to get into this one, but once I did I needed to know more. I just wanted to know what Paloma had done in her past that was so bad! I definitely figured out what was happening before I normally do in thrillers, but that didn’t stop me for quickly turning the pages! I really enjoyed the current day story line, but also switching back to the past in Sri Lanka at the orphanage. I think Jayatissa did a great job with telling both stories and weaving them together in a very well done way. The only downside is now “Que Sera” is stuck in my head for the next few days!
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2.5 stars

I had high hopes for this based on the summary and other reviews, but it missed the mark for me. It did transition smoothly from past to present, but too many plot points were predictable and the pace was a bit slow for this genre. It also felt like the author was unsure of the genre and if it should be a thriller, paranormal, etc.
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After seeing all the 5 star reviews for this book, I was excited to get my hands on an advanced readers copy!  However, I ended up being in that small group of readers who were less than thrilled with this book and somewhat disappointed.  Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 
Basically, this dark and twisty thriller centers on Paloma who lives in Sri Lanka in an orphanage until she is adopted by a very wealthy American couple and moves to America. The story flip flops between present day and her days that she spent living in the orphanage in Sri Lanka. Present day Paloma is keeping a very big secret from everyone. After discovering her secret and trying to blackmail her, Paloma’s roommate ends up dead and then the body goes missing and thus starts the beginning of the many twists and turns that the plot takes. Paloma herself is a deeply flawed character with psychological issues and the reader waivers between feeling sympathetic towards as well as extreme dislike. Many of the plot twists are a total surprise while others I was able to figure out on my own. This story requires the reader to pay very close attention to detail as I found it to become quite confusing at times and hard to follow the plot. The ending was one big ball of confusion for me and I actually had to go back a few times and reread sections in order to understand what was happening. Given that so many people rated this book so highly, it’s very possible that it was entirely me that had issues with the story and not the story itself.
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This book is my most favorite read of 2021 so far, and that’s extremely unexpected because it wasn’t even one of my most anticipated reads.

Paloma has a secret. And her nosy roommate had to go snooping. Arun attempts to extort Paloma to keep her secret, but she finds him in a pool of his own blood later that night. When the body mysteriously disappears and her apartment is cleaned, Paloma starts to spiral.

Is her childhood ghost Mohini back to haunt her, or is something more sinister afoot?

Feeling like she can’t trust anyone, Paloma tries to figure things out on her own, but that just causes her more problems, until it all blows up in her face, after 18 years of hiding the truth.

Jayatissa enters the book world with a bang. As many of you know, I’m a guesser when it comes to mysteries. Jayatissa had me flip-flopping like a fish. Her writing style is very distinctive, and when you think you know what’s going on she flips it. It channels The Bell Jar in the sense that you spiral with Paloma and understand her point of view. But at the same time, the chapters from Sri Lanka serve to ground you again and again. Each chapter has a distinctive voice.

While at it’s core, My Sweet Girl is a mystery: What is Paloma’s secret? What happened to Arun? What about Paloma’s mysterious past? However, in between the lines is a supernatural ghost story. They don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but Jayatissa blends them beautifully. Expertly. I found myself scared, the only light from my iPad as I raced through the pages. I yelped when my cat jumped on the bed, scaring us both. That’s not to say anything terribly gory happens; this isn’t Saw. Jayatissa just knows how to build up suspense to a point where it all just boils over. The answers are not readily given, but they are oh-so satisfying when you get them, regardless of if you saw it coming or not.

I have a love-hate relationship with Paloma. She’s essentially the only character aside from some side characters. In the California chapters, there’s Sam, one if Arun’s friends and another Sri Lankan. Was he involved with Arun’s murder? Does he know Paloma’s secret. She gets close to him to try and figure into just how much he knows about her. Conversely, the Sri Lanka chapters follow Paloma and her friend Lahini, both girls born into the orphanage. Lahini has a growing obsession with Mohini and this, plus Paloma’s impending adoption, are driving them apart. I can’t say I love the characters, but I love how honest (ironically) they all are. They’re all out of place in someway, but they don’t just sit back and take it. Paloma is rather aggressive, temperamental, an unreliable, but that just makes the story all the better. As far as unreliable narrators go, Paloma works really hard to convince you she’s not crazy, and someone, or something, is after her.

I can’t wait for this book to come out so I can reread it and track all the clues and hints.
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A dark and twisty debut!  This is the story of Paloma, an anti-heroine of sorts who grew up in an orphanage in Sri Lanka and was adopted by an American couple from California.  As the plot begins, thirty-year-old Paloma is at wits end:  she no longer receives money from her parents and she finds her roommate Arun dead in her apartment.  However, before the police arrive to investigate, Arun’s body and all signs of his death have disappeared.

Paloma’s story is told in chapters alternating between Paloma in Sri Lanka twenty years ago and present day San Francisco.   While this story is definitely well-written, the suspense that builds as it progresses is very, very slow going.  And, although there are twists and turns along the way, the ending — which was somewhat but not completely a surprise to me — left quite a few unanswered questions.

All in all, though, I found this an interesting read, especially for an author’s first novel.  It has been receiving great reviews, so I may be an outlier.  I look forward to her next.
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4.5/5 This was an extremely fun thriller to read with just enough going on to keep me guessing, but not too much to bog down the story. The story alternates between past and present with one of those characters being somewhat unreliable. I was able to deduce early on that there was one of two things happening, but it wasn't until the reveal at the end that everything fell into place. Overall, a very satisfying read.
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One of the best thrillers I've read in a long time! I loved both storylines. The writing was fabulous, the voice captivating, and while I could put some things together, I still was surprised by the ending! Great balance all around. Can't wait for this author's next book!
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Oh man..... unfortunately this was a complete dud for me. I'm not even sure where to start? 

This book was all over the place. I couldn't tell if I was reading a suspense, drama, or thriller? The story is told from two different timelines one in California and the other 18 years ago in Sri Lanka. One timeline is reading exactly like a slow and boring YA novel and the other is timeline is just as slow.

There was something about Paloma that just rubbed me the wrong way. I was annoyed with her from the beginning. Too many plot holes in the story line and that twist?! You've got to be kidding me. I wouldn't even call that a twist. 

I've  been seeing so many glowing reviews and once again I have become an outlier on my lonely island haha. 

I can't say I really enjoyed this one at all. 

1.5/5 stars 

Thank you so much to Berkley and netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Pub date: 9/14/21 
Published to GR: 7/4/21
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This is such a hard book to review without giving away the twists. But oh, the twists! I loved them. Other things I loved - Paloma's voice and attitude. The flashbacks between the present in CA and the past in Sri Lanka. The way Jayatissa used little details to paint such a vivid picture of Paloma's surroundings, wherever she was. The way the clues dropped and slowly revealed themselves so that when a twist fully unfolded, you had to smack yourself for not seeing it. Amazing!
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