Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home.
Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….
This twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending.
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What I Loved
I usually don’t say this, but I loved that there are multiple narrators. Each of the four family members tells their particular part of the story and gradually reveals the secrets they are hiding that may or not be related to the harassment they have been dealing with as a family. The chapters rotate through the four and are each short, making the book’s pace very quick. It also makes the story a complex web of deception and revelations that is just fun to read.
The characters are amazingly well-developed because you learn so much about them through the secrets that they are keeping. This adds an unexpected depth to the story, which could have easily stayed on the surface because of the quick pace and short chapters. Only one of the characters was relatable to me, but I could sympathize with all of them and the personal demons they face, not to mention the one they are facing together.
I also loved the ending, which is my favorite kind of ending. It’s an ending that will send a chill down your spine as you realize that one of the plot threads remains open-ended. I love the uncertainty of what the future will hold and the thousands of possibilities it leaves in its wake.
Reminds Me Of
I don’t know that I have read any psychological thriller quite like this one. It is such a mash-up of narrators and secrets. I can’t imagine this being pulled off by many authors. Karen McManus is the closest to this writing style that I’ve read but for the YA reader.
My favorite character is Eli. He is the son of Thomas and Viv and brother to Tarryn, the four narrators of this delightfully crazy tale. Eli has dropped out of college all of a sudden, and he won’t tell anyone why. But when he finally reveals his secret, I felt a ton of sympathy for him and what he is going through. Tarryn is a very prickly teen in her junior year of high school. Viv is an interior decorator, and she got her start by helping her husband, Thomas, sell houses by staging them.
What I Wish
My one little niggle is how the harassment is handled pretty much by everyone that knew about it. From the police to neighbors to the Adlers themselves, I found the reactions and the consequences a bit too much for suspended disbelief to hold. I just kept thinking, “What is wrong with you people.” What does it even mean to excuse the harassment by saying, “It’s just kids being kids.” At what point do you have to stop making excuses and hold them accountable?
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a fast-paced psychological thriller based on a complex web of lies that will have you picking your jaw up off of the floor, The Perfect Family is just the book you are looking for this summer.