My Name is Anna: A compelling family thriller

My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber is an excellent read which had me entranced from the first page. It is the story you would expect, but has many twists that you will not see coming. Barber’s personal experiences and knowledge of American theme parks and London make it very realistic, and her brilliant writing style means you can be whisked up in the drama without ever concerning yourself with missed information or confusion. My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber will be published physically by Century on 10th January, 2019. The e-book is out NOW!

The story
Anna lives with her extremely religious mother, who is obsessed with everything and everybody in her home being meticulously clean. She doesn’t allow her daughter to have a phone, or do anything other than church activities. Anna loves her mother, but cannot help questioning her mother’s tight hold over her. When she deceives her mother to take a birthday trip to Astroland, a Florida theme park, she starts the journey of unravelling the thread of their lives once and for all.
Rosie’s sister, Emily was taken from Astroland on a family trip when Rosie was a baby. Her family have been desperate to find their missing child for fifteen years and the money from the search fund is slowly petering out. Rosie decides to take things into her own hands after discovering conspiracy theories online. If she finds the right one, it could just lead her to the answers she needs.

Why I loved this book
My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber is an excellent novel; it is well-researched, the characters are compelling and complex and the settings very realistic. Barber creates a very surreal picture of the family with a missing child, which couples with the way she builds her characters to create sympathetic, imperfect human beings in her writing. Rosie and her parents are the perfect example of a family in disarray, they have managed to stay together, but at what cost?
After meeting Barber at the preview event for this title, I can see so totally that she has an in-depth understanding of how abductions work, the nature of child abduction at theme parks and family dynamics. She owns her reference points, including the obvious similarities between Anna’s mother and life with Stephen King’s Carrie. This enhances the text to the point where it is a relaxing and enjoyable read. Along with the story being unique and twisted in many ways, this makes for a five star book in my opinion.
The only part of this novel that I found a little disappointing was the last two pages. I did not feel that the explanation there was needed and it could have ended at the previous page’s final sentence.

Overall, My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber is a compelling family thriller which has just enough conspiracy, family drama and teenage angst to make a gripping read. I read this over two days and could not have been happier to find a book that is both intelligent and easy to read. I would recommend this book to all thriller fans, and those with an affliction for family drama. I would not recommend to anybody who has small children and enjoys going to theme parks! Thank you Rachel Kennedy from Century for my advance copy of My Name is Anna in exchange for an honest review.

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