Review: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

Summary: 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 cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her 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. 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?

Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: ★★★

I haven’t intentionally fallen off the face of the earth this last month, but I have been in a complete reading slump. Usually it happens when I read too many mediocre books in a row, which is what happened. I was hopeful that My Sweet Girl would be able to knock me out of it, because 1) the cover art is gorgeous and 2) despite it being a mystery, it sounded refreshing compared to most in the genre.

However, I really struggled to make my way through this. It took me almost three weeks to finish, and I had a difficult time connecting to it initially. At about the half-way point, I found myself wanting to reach the ending because I was interested in seeing how one small story arc played out (and thankfully it delivered!).

Paloma was one of the hardest characters I’ve ever read. She was hardened by a traumatic event from her childhood; seemingly had no friends or romantic partners; her parents were out of the picture after discovering a shocking truth about her. Paloma was bitter and jaded, and honestly at a younger age I might be able to forgive her or understand her personality. However, at 30 it was honestly kind of embarrassing behavior, and I wished I could tell her to grow up.

I don’t mind swearing in books, and when I heard people were complaining about the amount of profanity I assumed it wasn’t as bad as they were letting on. It was much worse. The entire story is told through Paloma’s POV, and that meant hearing all her rude, bitter thoughts on everyone. It also meant reading the word “fuck” 306 times. This book is 380 pages, which means the word is on almost every single page. And that’s just one word! I didn’t search for the others, because fuck was the most used.

Again, I don’t mind swearing in books, but it felt like a lazy attempt to build Paloma’s character. We get it. She’s edgy and dark because she swears a lot! She’s angry and jaded and misunderstood because she says things like “goddamn this suburban hell” when she doesn’t get a phone signal! There are plenty of other ways to create that kind of personality for a character without resorting to swearing. Swearing is not a personality trait, and that’s coming from someone who tends to swear frequently in real life.

Another aspect of this story that bothered me was how unstable Paloma was. It seems to be a trope in thrillers to have an unreliable narrator, and there are ways to do that well without making them an alcoholic. I enjoyed the overall plot of the story here and loved the flashbacks to Paloma in the orphanage, but there were too many other issues to make this story enjoyable.

3 thoughts on “Review: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

  1. Great review! A shame it wasn’t more enjoyable for you.. but I do appreciate your honesty! This one is definitely getting kicked off the Tbr.
    Better luck with your next read, Sarah, I hope something is able to shake you out of the slump.🌷


      1. You’re very welcome!
        And, wow, “so many cliches” would make me lose interest in a book fast. I can understand a couple but.. It shouldn’t be saturated with them.
        I hope you’ve found something more enjoyable to read!


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