Category Archives: The Birthday Girl

Review: The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz

Title: The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In the thrilling, suspenseful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, all of Ellie de Florent-Stinson’s secrets come to light in one eventful evening full of twists, turns, and surprises.  

Before she became a glamorous fashion designer, Ellie de Florent-Stinson was a trailer-park teen about to turn sixteen. But a night of birthday celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned and descends into a night she’ll never be able to forget.

Now, on the cusp of her fortieth birthday, it appears Ellie has everything she ever wanted: a handsome husband; an accomplished, college-age stepdaughter; a beautiful ten-year-old girl; adorable and rambunctious six-year-old twin boys; lush, well-appointed homes in Los Angeles, Park City, and Palm Springs; a thriving career; and a dazzling circle of friends.

Except everything is not quite as perfect as it looks on the outside—Ellie is keeping many secrets. And hiding those skeletons has a cost, and it all comes to a head the night of her fabulous birthday party in the desert—where everyone who matters in her life shows up, invited or not. Old and new friends and frenemies, stepdaughters and business partners, ex-wives and ex-husbands congregate, and the glittering facade of Ellie’s life begins to crumble.

Beautifully paced and full of surprises, The Birthday Girl is an enthralling tale of a life lived in shadow and its unavoidable consequences.


The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz is an intriguing mystery set during a lavish birthday party.

Ellie de Florent-Stintson is throwing herself an elaborate, swanky party to celebrate her fortieth birthday.  Although the details of her glamorous celebration are picture perfect, her personal and business lives are in a mess.  Todd, her husband of ten years, is unemployed and may be having an affair. Her eighteen year stepdaughter Samantha is suddenly home from Stanford and refuses to tell Ellie why. Her ten year old daughter Imogen is being bullied at school. And her six year old twins Elijah and Otis are a handful.  Having successfully built a fashion line, Ellie is on the verge of bankruptcy as she impatiently waits for a business deal to go through. As her party gets underway, Ellie is distracted as she fears her distant past and present are about to collide while she nervously waits for her mystery guests to arrive.

Ellie completely reinvented herself after escaping from her desperately poor childhood. Now a one percenter, she is shallow, self-absorbed and greedy. She is keeping plenty of information from Todd about important matters in the present. Ellie has also not revealed much about her past and she is desperately afraid everything she has carefully concealed is about to be divulged.

Flashbacks to her teenage years paint a very bleak picture twenty-four years earlier. A sixteenth birthday celebration comes to a shocking end and Ellie has worked hard to separate herself from that period in her life. But after issuing an impulsive invitation, Ellie is on tenterhooks throughout her party as she dreads her past catching up with her.

Seamlessly moving back and forth in time, The Birthday Girl is a well-written but somewhat slow-paced novel. The chapters about Ellie’s childhood are much more compelling than the vapid party in the present. It is much easier to become invested in the events playing out in the past instead Ellie’s present day problems.  After building quite a bit of suspense, Melissa de la Cruz brings the novel to a twist-filled conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: The Birthday Girl by Melissa de la Cruz

Filed under Contemporary, Dutton, Melissa de la Cruz, Mystery, Rated C+, Review, The Birthday Girl