The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

‘I really, really hate being ignored.’

Juliette is obsessed by Nate. She’s trained as a flight attendant, just so she can work on the same airline. Juliette knows that she and Nate are meant to be together for ever. And the fact that Nate broke off their relationship six months ago just means that Juliette has to work that little bit harder to show him how much happier he will be with her. After all, Juliette knows that she is perfect for Nate, and she has a plan to get him back. Whatever it takes.

‘You can’t change a mistake. Ever.’

We accompany Juliette on her obsessive journey, and as her perspective is the only one we get, it became quite claustrophobic for me. I wanted to shake Juliette, tell her to move on, to stop ruining her life (and others). I disliked Juliette, I couldn’t believe that she was getting away with so much. Then, as we learn more about Juliette’s past, aspects of her motivation, the reasoning behind her behaviour became clearer.

‘And with knowledge comes power.’

This is one of those books that is easy (and quick) to read but hard to leave behind. It’s funny in places, sad in others and there’s plenty of tension as Juliette puts her plan into action.

I finished this novel with my own obsession: thinking about what Juliette might do next, wondering where her obsession might end. I felt trapped in Juliette’s perspective. While I could recognise why (and how) she developed her obsession, I wanted her to let it go. For me, Juliette is utterly unlikeable and yet I still felt some sympathy. It’s a rollercoaster ride with more than a few twists and turns.

This is Ms Hamilton’s debut novel, and I certainly hope that she writes more.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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