Book Review · Thriller

Book Review: My Dark Self – Jessica Huntley

Synopsis:

Josslyn is a 28 year old living on top of a vet, which she owns. She’s an introverted person who likes being around animals more than humans and she’s never been good with building relationships. The main reason why? The voice inside her head makes it almost impossible to form any connections. Josslyn became best friends with Alicia when she was a lonely 7 year old and ever since then, they’ve become inseparable – literally. Alicia lives in Josslyn’s mind and speaks exclusively to her but Alicia isn’t always the voice of reason. In fact, Alicia is a psychopath.
One day as Josslyn is helping her parents clean out their attic, she finds out a secret that her parents have been hiding from her all these years – she’s adopted. So Josslyn does the only thing any other adopted child would want to do… Search for her real family. Except Alicia doesn’t want to do that. Alicia wants Josslyn all to herself. The only question is, how far is she willing to go to get what she wants?

Review:

Jessica Huntley has really created something special with this book. If you’ve ever studied psychology in secondary school or have any any interest in case studies about psychosis, you are going to LOVE this novel. It reminded me of a case we learnt about in A-Level psychology, which also birthed a film called “The Many Faces of Eve” (an excellent movie that you should definitely watch). When I first started reading it, I did think it was just going to be a modern day retelling of this case because there were so many similarities in the beginning, but I tell you now… it’s so much more than that!

Can we just talk about the plot for a minute please??? The plot of this book was amazing. I was completely enthralled throughout the novel and there were so many jaw-dropping moments that I just couldn’t put it down. There were a couple of reveals that were slightly predictable but the ending just blew my mind completely. Josslyn’s story is so creepy and sinister that it kept me up during the night, resulting in a lot of coffee being consumed at work the next day. It’s that one-more-page type of plot that borders on impossible, but doesn’t quite cross that line (I’ve googled it… the science makes sense!) The ending really lures you into a false sense of security and made me feel like I had been stabbed in the back.

The characters in the book were really likeable. Josslyn is clearly a very insecure person who almost fears being around other people. There were times where I wished she had a little more common sense but considering what she’s had to deal with, it was understandable that she made the decisions she made. A lot of her decisions throughout her life were dictated or at least heavily influenced by Alicia who regularly pushed her to do things she wasn’t comfortable with. Alicia is pure evil. Somehow her character was psychotically comical which sounds like a strange thing to say, but works so well in the book. I loved learning about their relationship and understanding how they each became who they are today.

The one things I maybe didn’t enjoy as much about this book is that it’s written in first person. I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of the first person narrative because for me, it’s the hardest to get right. You run the risk of writing in a way that makes the book sound like a journal entry, rather than a novel, and end up losing a lot of atmosphere, setting, and detail. Especially with a story like this, first person narratives can water-down the thrilling aspect of the plot. The book felt quite conversational but despite feeling this way for the first couple pages of this book, I quickly got over it because honestly, the story wouldn’t have been as impactful if it hadn’t been in first person. Josslyn’s sentiments about Alicia were so well written and made me feel every bit of love, frustration and confusion towards her internal voice.

Overall I would definitely recommend reading this novel. Huntley has created an action-packed, face paced, twisty and unique story about friendships, love, and mental health. I’m so invested in this story and can’t wait for the second book of the series to come out so I can find out what happens to the two sisters!

My Dark Self – Jessica Huntley
Publication Date – 23/06/2021
Paperback pages – 391
Rating – 4/5

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