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All These Perfect Strangers

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,071 ratings  ·  392 reviews
You don’t have to believe in ghosts for the dead to haunt you.

You don’t have to be a murderer to be guilty.

Within six months of Pen Sheppard starting university, three of her new friends are dead. Only Pen knows the reason why.

College life had seemed like a wonderland of sex, drugs and maybe even love. The perfect place to run away from your past and reinvent yourself. But
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Paperback, 389 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster AU
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3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,071 ratings  ·  392 reviews


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Julie
All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford is a 2016 Alibi publication.

I read this book in one sitting, mainly because it moves along at such a brisk speed, and because of the untrustworthy protagonist.

Trouble is Pen’s middle name, apparently, since she seems to find it no matter where she goes. Leaving her hometown under a cloud of suspicion, she enrolls in college with a rare scholarship, hoping for a new beginning.

However, she quickly becomes embroiled in the hot mess of her classmates’
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Veronica ⭐️
All These Perfect Strangers is narrated by Penelope Sheppard known as Pen. Pen is an unreliable narrator and as I’m reading I’m asking myself “is any of this true?” She admits that she lies to her Psychiatrist, Frank, and the Police. I assume she is lying to herself as well.

I felt quite disconnected from the story. I couldn’t connect with Pen or really feel anything for the cast of strange characters.

Aoife Clifford’s writing is ethereal as it weaves around events and truths, twisting and turning
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Dannii Elle
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book needs to back the fuck down on the intrigue because I spent an entire night foregoing sleep in favour of reading this and was both an emotional and sleep-deprived zombie for days!
Aditi
“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”

----S.E. Hinton


Aoife Clifford, an Australian author, pens her debut psychological thriller, All These Perfect Strangers that traces the story of a teenager who wraps herself up in the world of deadly and strange murders in her uni life. In this book, this young teenager uncovers herself from being a suspect to a key witness to a victim, while enjoying and experimenting the high and wild road of a uni lifestyle.


Synopsis:

You don’t have to
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Brenda
Pen Sheppard was feeling nervous about starting college – she wasn’t sorry to leave the small town and her mother though; the trauma of the past was propelling her forward. Pen was determined this new life would be a new beginning – she would keep her past a secret; no one needed to know.
As Pen settled into College life, she started making friends with other students. Toby as one of the older students was the co-ordinator of Scullin Hall where Pen was housed; then there was Leiza, Rachel, Michae
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PattyMacDotComma
5★ for a terrific debut novel from an Aussie author whose future work I look forward to. I love her style.

At one point she mentions a secretary distracted by her new computer. “It’s a light grey beehive of a box that hums all the time. I can tell she’s a bit on edge by the way she presses a key and then pulls her hand back as if it’s got teeth.”

Pen Sheppard is an Aussie teen sitting outside her psychiatrist’s office waiting for an appointment she doesn’t want to keep. She just wants him to writ
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Liz Barnsley
All These Perfect Strangers was an interesting read for me, someone who loves twisty pyschological thrillers (which this was, it does really do what it says on the tin for the most part) but prefers them when they add a little something into the mix. In the case of Aoife Clifford’s telling that would be an intriguing look at the subtleties of guilt and innocence – both in feeling and in reality.

Our main character Pen has left behind her small town, where she is somewhat of a pariah, hoping to st
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☼♄Jülie 

This was a good debut crime thriller involving some troubled young students in a University campus where certain activities and occupations get out of control and have them worried about consequences.
When the body of a young girl student is found police get involved and certain other students come under closer scrutiny...one in particular...dredging up past histories and threatening to incriminate them.
Guilty, or just guilty by association? These are questions we keep asking ourselves as the s
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Susan Johnson
Aug 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-galley
This is one of my least favorite books I have read in a long. It's a debut book from a young Australian writer about a young woman who gets caught up in not one but two murders. I found it to be a mish mash of an author trying to be suspenseful but it just didn't work for me.

Pen is off to college on a full scholarship and happy to be leaving her small town past behind her. She was involved in a murder when she was 15 with her best friend and the entire town hates her. Details are leaked throug
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Carolyn
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it

Pen Sheppard is looking forward to starting University. She has won a bursary to live in college on campus and is looking forward to escaping her small rural town and studying law. Something very bad happened to Pen and her best friend Tracey when they were 15, leaving Tracey behind bars and Pen seeing a psychologist. Now she’s looking forward to a new start in a new town full of ‘all these perfect strangers’ with the chance to re-invent herself. However, the story opens with Pen back at the psy
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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
All These Perfect Strangers is a book that just didn't convey any suspense to me. There are a lot of moments that should be suspenseful, but just didn't come across that way.

The beginning grabbed me - "This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths, but perhaps all of them were murders. It’s a grey area. Murder...." But the remainder of the book failed to live up to the start.

I don't mind flashbacks, but to me, these were unwieldy and didn't always seem to fit
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Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
3 1/2 stars

My View:
Things don’t go wrong in an instant. There isn’t one single moment when the world suddenly splits in two. Rather, it begins with a minute crack, and then another and another, until they join together, getting bigger and wider and all the time you keep fooling yourself that this can still be fixed. That you can fill them in and everything will return to normal.” p.130

These statements sum up this book perfectly; as tiny cracks make themselves known flaws appear in personalities,
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Figgy
This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths, but perhaps all of them were murders. It's a grey area. Murder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So let's just call them deaths and say I was involved. This story could be told a hundred different ways.
Within six months of Pen Sheppard starting university, three of her new friends are dead. Only Pen knows the reason why.
Things don't go wrong in an instant. There isn't one single moment when the world s
...more
Dani
4.5 ish stars.

I flew through this book, read it in one day and almost in one sitting.

This book is a suspenseful, thriller-mystery but then reads in some parts almost like a lighthearted contemporary YA novel. I've seen some reviews saying the general life-at-uni parts were unnecessary, but I found this juxtaposition of genres really worked for me. I loved it.

Penelope 'Pen' Sheppard has returned home from university after only six months; she has returned to a town that despises her for somethi
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Karen
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt a bit out of my element as I am far removed from college life and the book would likely be better appreciated by those in their 20’s as they could better relate. But still, I felt it was a good effort and the dark story held my interest. The character of Pen, shedding her old life after leaving home and going away to college is a well-drawn character, albeit an unlikeable one. We learn more about her in flashbacks. After three of her new friends die, the questions begin. Is Pen a suspect? ...more
Helen Goltz
Nov 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.

I’m always excited to read an Aussie author’s debut book and full kudos to Aoife Clifford on the release of her first novel.

However, this book just didn’t grab me; YA and NA readers might disagree but I’ve read better in this genre, such as “Luckiest Girl Alive” and “Try Not to Breathe”.

There were pages and pages of dialogue where nothing happened and unfortunately I didn’t connect enough with Pen to care what happened in her history. The ‘in-set
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Escape into a Booksite
ARC kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 37%

Just couldn't get into this one. The blurb passage for the novel is great and I think it's a great idea for a storyline but I just don't find myself getting involved in the story.

I'm probably among the few who aren't into this book, as I've seen heaps of good ratings on Goodreads, but this ones just not for me.
Ashley
Rating: 1/5
(I received a free copy from the publisher, Alibi, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
***Minor spoilers***

Penelope, nicknamed Pen, has been through a lot these past few years. She was involved in a court case a few years ago centred around her best friend, the prime suspect. The pieces of that court case come together as the novel goes on. She's now off to college, though, but it hasn't been the fantastic experience she wanted. In fact, it's been pretty much the opposite,
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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘This story could be told a hundred different ways.’

Somewhere in Australia, Pen Sheppard goes to university. The perfect place, perhaps, to escape from a small-town past. To reinvent yourself and make a new future. But within six months, three of her new friends are dead. What is Pen’s involvement in these deaths? What is the truth about Pen’s past? And just how reliable in Pen as a narrator?

‘This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths, but perhaps all of t
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Jaclyn Crupi
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. Australian noir set at a university?!?! Yes please! But it's painfully plotted, devoid of any believable characters and has some of the clunkiest dialogue I've read. Admittedly crime is not totally my thing but Luckiest Girl Alive showed me that it could be. Sadly, this book was a disappointment for me.
Jamie Canaves
Australian Crime! (TW rape/ past suicide mentioned/ past child and domestic abuse mentions)

This was a page-turner for me, where the main character, Pen, keeps her cards close to the vest even from the reader. You know she was previously a part of a trial, everyone blames her for something, and her best friend no longer speaks to her. But the why and what happened are only slowly revealed as she’s trying to start her life over at University. Except tensions are high at her new school with a recen
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Deborah
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
We meet Penelope (Pen) Sheppard when she returns (to her hometown and) to the psychiatrist she hasn't visited for a couple of years. And it takes some time to find out why she visited Dr Frank Hennessy for a year off and on when she was 15.

She's there now after an incident at University and before he'll write a report to assist Pen in seeking compensation he asks her to write down her experiences and read through them during their sessions.

Really only seeing the process as a means to an ends,
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Marlene
Jul 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I had to DNF this one. It wasn't just that I didn't like Pen, the unreliable narrator, but that I also didn't like any of the people she met. I didn't feel compelled to find out what happened to anyone, instead I felt annoyed at all of them.

So I stopped reading. There are so many books, and not nearly enough time to read all the ones I want to read. I threw this one back.
Karen
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In 2013 Aoife Clifford was awarded an Australian Society of Author's mentorship to help bring this debut novel - ALL THESE PERFECT STRANGERS - to fruition. To be fair to those who have read it and are finding the idea that this is a debut novel hard to believe, she has form. Shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger, Clifford won the Ned Kelly / S.D. Harvey Short Story Award and a Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto. What she has now produced is an assured, clever and profoundl ...more
Kristina
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths but perhaps all of them were murders. It’s a gray area. Murder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So let’s just call them deaths and say I was involved. This story could be told a hundred different ways.”

All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford tells the story of Pen (Penelope), a young girl who has just left home to begin college. But something has happened in her past, something grave, not reveal
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Jennifer
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3 stars. All These Perfect Strangers comes out of the gate swinging. ‘This is about three deaths. Actually more, if you go back far enough. I say deaths, but perhaps all of them were murders. It’s a grey area. Murder, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So let’s just call them deaths and say I was involved. This story could be told a hundred different ways.’ But in the end, it is just not as gripping as opening paragrap
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Helen King
May 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: australian, crime
This sounded fascinating when I heard the author interviewed, but I overhyped it in my mind. And to be far, it's not a genre I normally like, so it would have to be pretty special for me to enjoy a crime novel. And it's not that special. I could see where it would end (even though there were some plot twists I didn't see), and I struggle when I can't find a single redeeming character (well, maybe one or two, but the majority were awful). It was ok, I guess.



Still thinking about the title meaning
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CL
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pen Sheppard was starting a new life at College and she is glad to be away at College where no one knows of her past back home where she is the bad girl and may have been the cause of a death. Pen makes new friends and joins in with all that life at College entails, sex, drugs and parties. Then one of her new friends dies and she becomes worried that her new life and friends are in danger. But as she discovers life at College is not as it seems and there are secrets and lies that some would like ...more
Monique
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

You don’t have to believe in ghosts for the dead to haunt you.

You don’t have to be a murderer to be guilty.

Within six months of Pen Sheppard starting university, three of her new friends are dead. Only Pen knows the reason why.


I don't want to say too much given the release date but this is up there with the some of the best suspense thrillers I have read in the last few years. This is populated with great characters
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Teresa
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the story of Pen, who led a troubled life as a teenager back home and this trouble seems to follow her to university where people that she knows keep dying, is she responsible for their deaths?

I was approved by Netgalley to read this debut novel by Aoife Clifford in exchange for an honest review, I didn't connect with any of the characters throughout the story and to be honest was confused by the goings on for most of the story, it was only during the last couple of chapters that it sta
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43 followers
Aoife Clifford is the author of the novel All These Perfect Strangers, published in Australia and the United Kingdom by Simon & Schuster and by Penguin Random House in the United States.

Born in London of Irish parents, she grew up in New South Wales, studied Arts/Law at the Australian National University, Canberra and now lives in Melbourne.

Aoife has won two premier short story prizes for cr
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“Always finish what you have started' she'd say, imitating her dad's English accent. 'Take responsibility. No excuses” 0 likes
“Everything has consequences. If you don't deal with them, other will have to” 0 likes
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