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Review: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

Title: My Sweet Girl
Author: Amanda Jayatissa
Year published: 2021
Category: Adult fiction (thriller)
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (California) and Sri Lanka

SummaryEver 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?

Review: As usual, since my daughter is home, I read this novel in bits and pieces, which caused me not to connect with it for over a week. But, yesterday I sat down and read a bunch of it and finished it, as I got engrossed in the second half.

This is a difficult review to write without giving away the twist in the plot (don't look at the challenges listing below, one of which gives away a big part of the plot twist). Paloma is a super interesting and twisted character with so many character flaws she is difficult to like or feel sorry for. But, as the thriller progressed, I wanted more and more to understand her and to figure out what the heck was going on. And I did worry that she was going crazy so the author did a good job with that.

The chapters alternate between present day in California with Paloma as an adult and Sri Lanka when she was a child in the orphanage. i really liked the way the two storylines slowly revealed information about the characters and the situation so that the climax came just 30 or so pages form the end. It was unexpected, but not rushed.

Though this is a thriller, the author did manage to hit on a number of issues that are important: American adoptions and attitudes toward those in "developing" countries, sexual assault, and alcoholism. The author did a good job with these issues, wasn't preachy, and they fit into the storyline well.

Challenges for which this counts:  
  • Alphabet Soup (Author)--J
  • Literary Escapes--Sri Lanka
  • Pop Sugar--Someone leading a double life

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