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My Sweet Girl
Cover of My Sweet Girl
My Sweet Girl
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WINNER OF THE ITW THRILLER AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL
My Sweet Girl pushes the boundaries of what a thriller can do.”—The Washington Post

“Fiendish [and] full of twists…. Sri Lankan author Amanda Jayatissa keeps us guessing and worrying until the very end.” —The New York Times

“A thriller centered on the meaning of identity and all the layers it can have.”—NPR

Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you…

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 recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco 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, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country.
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?
WINNER OF THE ITW THRILLER AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL
My Sweet Girl pushes the boundaries of what a thriller can do.”—The Washington Post

“Fiendish [and] full of twists…. Sri Lankan author Amanda Jayatissa keeps us guessing and worrying until the very end.” —The New York Times

“A thriller centered on the meaning of identity and all the layers it can have.”—NPR

Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she’s about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you…

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 recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco 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, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country.
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?
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    1

     

    San Francisco, CA

     

    Present Day

     

    There's a special place in hell for incompetent customer service agents, and it's right between monsters who stick their bare feet up on airplane seats and mansplainers. Fake hair, false smiles, synthetic blazers that pool around their middles while they tell you that yes, they would love to help you, and thank you for your patience, and no, sorry for the inconvenience caused but they can't seem to find your paperwork even if it punched them square in the jaw.

     

    I inhaled. Be nice, Paloma. Be kind.

     

    My agent's name today is Bethany. Bethany, with badly dyed hair so red it looked like Elmo had a love child with Jessica Rabbit, and two buttons undone on her much-too-tight polka-dot polyester blouse. She smiled as if she had all the time in this crazy world, her gaze not wavering from the screen in front of her, refusing to meet my eye even when she knew she was royally messing up. She had a smear of livid coral lipstick on her teeth. It clashed hard against her hair.

     

    My hands were trembling slightly, so I made sure they weren't on the table in front of me. I hate how they do that when I'm angry. I hate it when I'm angry. It makes it hard to think straight. And I needed to think straight right now. I couldn't have that cunning, two-faced soon-to-be-ex-roommate of mine getting in my head. The actual nerve of Arun.

     

    I kept thinking back to that no-good loser's grin. The one he wore when he told me that he knew. He knew. I'd made it eighteen goddamned years in this country, and now this absolute moron who tears up when he talks about his mother's aloo paratha had the gall, no, the actual balls to try to ruin it for me? He definitely didn't know who he was messing with.

     

    I mean, I would fucking kill him. Wrap my fingers around his blackmailing little throat and smother the life out of him. How dare he? I can't believe I actually felt sorry for him. I really can't afford any more rent than this, please. You have to help me out. He totally played his poor-little-immigrant card, and I bought it all up. I knew what it was like to depend on the charity of others. To have your life decided by someone who just woke up one morning and thought they'd throw you a line.

     

    And how the hell does he go ahead and repay me? He snoops around through my things. Finds out my worst secret. Demands I buy his silence.

     

    Another pang of anger ricocheted through me.

     

    I double-checked that the letter was still in my pocket. Good. I know it didn't do much to have it with me, now that Arun had already read it, but it gave me the tiniest bit of comfort having it back in my possession.

     

    My hands gave another shudder. I sat on them and turned my focus back to Bethany. She shouldn't see me this upset. She sure as hell couldn't find out that my shit-bag of a roommate was one step away from ruining a life I had already sacrificed so much for.

     

    Concentrate, Paloma.

     

    I gave her my best smile. "Technology, huh? Supposed to make our lives easier . . ."

     

    Score. Her relief was palpable, like a deer realizing that the oncoming headlights weren't going to run it over. I wasn't one of those assholes who would embarrass her by making a scene in this deathly quiet, needlessly ostentatious bank. Fair enough that I was dressed like a bum in sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt-it's not like I was in the best frame of mind to choose an outfit that would give bank tellers a good first impression of me, but I was making up for it...

About the Author-
  • Amanda Jayatissa grew up in Sri Lanka, completed her undergrad at Mills College, CA, and lived in the UK before moving back to her sunny little island. She works as a corporate trainer, owns a chain of cookie stores, and is a proud dog-mum to her two spoiled huskies.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 21, 2021
    Sri Lankan author Jayatissa debuts with a dark, twisty psychological thriller. Thirty-year-old Paloma Evans was adopted at 12 from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by wealthy, loving American parents. Paloma’s life should be perfect, but she’s never felt she deserves her privileged life. After her parents go on an extended charity tour of Sri Lanka, Paloma drinks herself into blackouts, and perhaps hallucinations. Or are they? When she discovers her roommate murdered in her San Francisco apartment, she calls the police and passes out in the hallway. But the police find nothing. The body has disappeared without a trace. The building super allows Paloma to review the hallway surveillance tape, and the only person she sees is herself, taking cleaning supplies from the supply closet. Meanwhile, she’s also started spotting Mohini, a mythic evil spirit who terrified her when she was a child in Sri Lanka. Paloma is either losing her grip on reality, or her secret past has caught up with her. Jaytissa expertly ratchets up the tension. Noir fans will find a lot to like. Agent: Melissa Danaczko, Stuart Krichevsky Literary.

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My Sweet Girl
My Sweet Girl
Amanda Jayatissa
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