Publisher: Hodder Studio (Trade Paperback – 25 January 2022)
Length: 329 pages
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Prepare yourself for shocks, twists and so many sweet surprises as impressive new author Sarah Bonner presents her epic debut thriller, Her Perfect Twin.
Megan Hardcastle has always lived in the shadow of her estranged twin, Leah, who always took everything Megan had, while exploiting their dramatic family past to obtain fame, fortune and the freedom to do anything she wanted. Despite that, deep down Megan still loves her sister, until she finds explicit photos of her on her husband’s phone. Rushing to her sister’s house, she is unable to contain her rage, and their argument ends tragically when she kills Leah.
Determined not to get caught, Megan comes up with the desperate plan to become Leah, fooling the world into thinking she is still alive. Diving deep into Leah’s perfect life, Megan starts to become her sister and soon finds her carefree life intoxicating and irresistible, especially when she falls in love with the new man in Leah’s life. As life at home with her controlling husband gets even more difficult, Megan decides to give up her entire existence and start living as Leah. However, just before she can enact her escape, the pandemic lockdown hits.
As the country adjusts to a new normal, Megan struggles to maintain two separate lives under lockdown. Her problems are only just beginning when it becomes clear that someone else knows her secret and they are willing to use it to take everything from her. Soon, Megan finds herself engaged in a deadly game of cat and mouse against a sadistic foe with her life, freedom and identity on the line. However, not everything is as it seems, and all the dark secrets from these twin’s life are about to come out.
OMG, well that turned out to be exceedingly epic and amazing. Sarah Bonner has come out of the gates swinging here, and her first book was such an outstanding and epic read. Her Perfect Twin is easily one of the best psychological thrillers of the year, and I loved the exceptionally clever and wildly entertaining story it contained. Loaded with complex and deeply flawed characters as well as some impressive examinations of self and identity, Her Perfect Twin is an incredibly addictive novel that gets a five-star rating from me.
Let me just start off here saying that you are going to really fall in love with the intense and captivating narrative contained within Her Perfect Twin. Bonner has gone out of her way here to create an exceptional read that quickly drags you in and then hits you with clever twist after clever twist, until the only thing you can think about is getting to the end of the story. Her Perfect Twin starts off strong, introducing the protagonist Megan and showing the events through her eyes as she uncovers her husband’s affair with her twin sister, Leah, who she then kills after they get into an argument. The reader slowly gets to see Megan enjoying the new freedoms and fun associated with living her sister’s life, while she also plans to escape from her normal life and terrible marriage. This first part of the book is very good and I enjoyed seeing the protagonist dive into her new identity, especially as she grows as a person under it. While I liked this part of the story, I thought I could see where the story was going, including the introduction of lockdown part way through. However, it turns out that I was so very, very wrong, as Bonner had some amazing tricks up her sleeve.
The first real indication you get about how much Her Perfect Twin is going to change happened about halfway through when, after a major and surprising reveal, the narrative suddenly starts getting told from the perspective of an entirely different character. This honestly altered everything, as not only did it throw you right into the mind of a psychopath but it starts showing some of the previous events of the book in an entirely new context, revealing just how much set up and foreshadowing Bonner included in the first half of the novel. From there you are forced to watch an incredibly evil villain make their move, manipulating the situation to their advantage while appearing to have total control, which is both infuriating and extremely compelling at the same time. And then, just when you think you have a handle on the situation, Bonner throws another big twist at you, along with another new point-of-view character, and you honestly have no idea what the hell is going to happen next. At this point, I was honestly reeling with all the revelations as I began to fully understand just how talented Bonner is as an author, but the story isn’t done yet. There are even more great reveals and twists from there as the third character tells their story, which changes everything that you thought you knew already. A final major shift occurs for the last part of the book, which seeks to wrap up everything and showcases the full cleverness and feelings off all the previous characters. While this final part of the book is a tad slower and seems a little disconnected from the main plot, it concludes everything up beautifully and leads to an impressive and well-thought-out ending that will leave you incredibly satisfied.
This was a pretty incredible story, and it is one that I had so much fun getting through. I honestly read the last 250 pages in a single sitting, and it was physically impossible for me to put down the book after the first big reveal. I cannot emphasize enough just how clever and brilliant all the twists in Her Perfect Twin were, and Bonner sets all of them up perfectly. I loved how multiple small details and seemingly throwaway lines came back in a big way as the novel progressed, and there was some brilliant planning here. Bonner writes a pretty dark psychological tale here, and Her Perfect Twin does an impressive dive into the inner psyches of its various characters, with a particular focus on identity, freedom and the terrible secrets that bind us together. While a few scenes get a bit disturbing and might be upsetting for some readers, it all works for the greater good of the story, and every brutal scene is incredibly well written and impressively moving. I did appreciate the way in which Bonner was able to work England’s COVID-19 lockdowns into the story. While some recent novels tend to shoe-horn lockdowns into their story, Bonner’s examination and use of the lockdowns was particularly clever, expertly tying into the story and becoming one of the better inclusions of it that I have seen in recent years. An overall incredible and powerful narrative, you will fall in love with Her Perfect Twin’s perfect story.
I must also highlight the incredible characters that Bonner featured throughout Her Perfect Twin, although I might avoid specifics to keep some of the twists hidden. All the characters in this book are extremely well developed, and Bonner produces some intricate and powerful backstories for them that drive them to do the bad things in this novel. Megan was extremely well written, and her constant battles with her identity, her devious twin, and the constant fear of obtaining the same memory issues that plague her mother, become important parts of her story. Watching her develop and attempt to find happiness is pretty satisfying, although she goes through a lot in this novel, especially as the story gets darker and darker. The rest of the main characters were also really good, and you get some intriguing perspectives as the novel progresses, which help to produce such a rich and striking story. A particular shoutout must go to the main antagonist of the book, who is quite frankly one of the best/worst villains I have seen in fiction. This antagonist is a malicious, deceitful and sadistic figure who puts all the other characters through the emotional wringer as they attempt to get their ultimate goal. I hated this character so much in Her Perfect Twin, especially after finding out the full extent of their plans, and once the book jumps to their arrogant perspective, you will grow to hate them too. Watching them put their devious designs into motion is pretty horrific, and you will hang in there just to wait and see if they fail. You will really come to love or hate these characters by the end of Her Perfect Twin, which just goes to show how awesome an author Bonner really is.
I think it is clear from my excitable ramblings up above that I really loved this incredible novel. Her Perfect Twin was an exceptional debut from Sarah Bonner and I still cannot get over how much I loved its cool and clever story. Loaded with insane twists and powerful characters, this novel is just so damn good, and you honestly will not be prepared for how crazy the story gets. A must-read for all fans of the thriller genre; I cannot recommend Her Perfect Twin enough.