Title: My Flawless Life
Author: Yvonne Woon
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Review Copy: Received final copy from author
Availability: Available now
Summary: At the most elite private school in Washington, DC., whenever anyone has a problem that they need to go away, they hire Hana Yang Lerner.
Hana is a fixer. She knows who to call, what to say, and how to make sure secrets stay where they belong—buried. She can fix anything. Except her own life, which was destroyed when her father, senator Skip Lerner, was arrested for an accident that left one woman nearly dead.
Now Hana’s reputation is ruined and her friends are gone. So when she gets a job from an anonymous client called “Three” to follow her former best friend, Luce Herrera, Hana realizes this might be her way of getting back her old life.
But the dangerous thing about digging is that you never know what you’ll unearth. As Hana uncovers a dark truth about her supposedly flawless classmates, she’s forced to face a secret of her own.
Review: [One of the major subplots in MY FLAWLESS LIFE is a hit-and-run car accident that left a pedestrian severely injured. Other subplots include underage and illegal drug use, blackmail, and fears about being outed/homophobia.]
MY FLAWLESS LIFE is a tightly plotted and highly entertaining contemporary mystery/thriller, and I tore through it eagerly. It’s also going to be a difficult book to review given a late revelation that recharacterizes basically the entire book up until that point. That said, I’ll talk about what I can.
Sometimes mysteries and thrillers skimp on the characterization in favor of focusing on the intricacies of the plot, and while the cast of MY FLAWLESS LIFE is fairly small, author Yvonne Woon was excellent at deepening the reader’s understanding of Hana’s character even as Hana’s work for “Three” got more and more complicated. I especially enjoyed how James functioned has a foil for Hana, and how they had both caught wind of the same mystery but came at it from different (moral) angles and had different strategies. The slow rebuilding of their relationship was a treat to watch unfold, and I enjoyed their scenes together a lot.
I can’t really discuss Hana’s secret referenced in the summary, but what I can say is that the author did a good job of slowly revealing Hana’s past. Hana’s father’s accident was a clear dividing line for Hana, and I appreciated the insight into how virtually all of her and her family’s relationships were changed because of it.
“Three’s” mysteries—the job they send Hana on, their identity—are twisty and intriguing in their own right, and trying to fit the pieces together before Hana could was fun. It took a bit longer than I expected for Hana and James to get their feet under them regarding what was going on re: Luce Herrera, but once they figured out what path they were on, the investigation was tightly focused and gripping. I also enjoyed the smaller mysteries of Hana figuring out what various characters needed/wanted in order to deliver on her fixer jobs along the way.
Recommendation: Get it soon, especially if contemporary mysteries/thrillers are your thing. Yvonne Woon has given us a great morally gray narrator trying to uncover someone else’s secret while trying to ignore her own. MY FLAWLESS LIFE would be a solid addition to your TBR list.