Abu FaNelli sits in front of stained glass windows in her former high school, the private and prestigious Bradley School in suburban Philadelphia. She’s on edge, talking with an independent documentary filmmaker about a school shooting that unfolded here two decades ago—and the accusations surrounding it. Ani is silent, recalling a memory of her mother failing to believe her version of events. “You disgust me,” her mother hisses. “You are not the daughter that I raised.”
Author Jessica Knoll’s mystery novel Luckiest Girl Alive found resounding success upon its publication in 2015, spending four months on the best-seller lists and selling more than 450,000 copies. Written in the first person, the book itself is predominantly fictional. It tells the story of Ani Fanelli, formerly known as TifAni, and her phoenix-like rise and reinvention from the traumatic ashes of her teenage years. Although the book is fiction, it was also partially based on author Jessica Knoll’s personal experience—a fact that the public didn’t learn until a year after the book’s release.