Amanda Jayatissa | My Sweet Girl

The Book: 

My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa
Published September 14th 2021 by Berkley Publishing
Date read: November 18, 2021

The Characters: 

Paloma

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon | Libro.FM


The Plot (from Goodreads):

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?

Click here for book spoilers for My Sweet Girl
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read My Sweet Girl, I suggest you turn back now.

Please excuse any typos in names; I listened to an audiobook and therefore am unsure of the exact spelling.

Paloma’s parents were dead. Their postcards kept coming since the postal system in Sri Lanka was so bad, so Paloma could pretend that they were still alive and just angry with her.

Paloma was actually Lihini, which I guessed from right at the beginning (I wasn’t sure if it was Lihini or Chanikka, but I was reasonably confident that it was Lihini).

Gloria was the real Paloma, and was getting close to Lihini to get back at her.

Mohini was really Perrerra Sir’s wife. She was ill and he kept her hidden in the orphanage, but let her out at night. She was the “ghost” that the girls saw, and she had attacked the real Paloma. If the Evanses had seen Paloma’s wounds, they would have known something strange was going on and his secret would have been discovered. The orphanage would have lost its funding.

I was very glad that the supernatural element had a real-world explanation.

Gloria/Paloma attacked Lihini in her parents’ house. Gavin and Appi, the neighbors, came over and seemed to call the police and save Lihini, but in the epilogue it’s the real Paloma who survives. She successfully takes over fake Paloma’s life, and kills Sam because he was the last loose end.

The Review: 

If the synopsis there has captured your interest, my advice would be to stop reading reviews and head into this book blind!

First of all, LOVE this cover.

My Sweet Girl is the first book I’ve read that takes place in Sri Lanka, at least in my recent memory. I loved the scenes at the orphanage and learning about Paloma’s history through the flashbacks. I enjoyed the scenes set in the past a lot more than the present!

The present-day chapters felt a little disjointed, probably on purpose due to Paloma’s drinking. The reader can’t really tell if she’s an unreliable narrator or not, and I wasn’t sure where the main plot was headed. Paranormal themes aren’t my favorite, so I hoped Paloma was just hallucinating during the Mohini scenes!

I would DEFINITELY recommend listening to the audiobook of My Sweet Girl. The narrator’s accent was extremely pleasant to listen to, and it definitely added to the story.

Although I was able to guess the “big” twist right off the bat, there were plenty of other small twists to keep me on my toes.

Overall, this was an interesting, unique debut. I am certainly interested in reading future novels by this author.

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