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Picture this – you’re a 50-something women who’s been working in pharmaceutical PR for years when suddenly your position is eliminated. Or maybe you’re fired. However you want to look at it, you no longer have a job, and you know it’s because of your age. Because young, beautiful women are in, and you’re not. Suddenly, you get a vague, somewhat shady-sounding job offer from someone you’d never met who feels like you’d be “perfect” for a job that just opened up. The only catch is that you can’t tell your friends or family that you have the job, you have to move to another country, and you must agree to a battery of medical procedures and sign a non-disclosure agreement. But don’t worry – once you sign that non-disclosure agreement, your obscenely large salary will be deposited into a secret bank account.

Do you do it? Personally, I’d walk. I’d apply for something else. But Anna? Our main character, Anna, well. She just goes for it.

This is the premise of Younger, a thriller involving a medical-grade anti-aging cream that can literally take decades off your appearance. Well, sort of. You also have to engage in the rather risky behavior of applying intensive retinols twice a day while having your whole face lasered off, a process so involved that it requires twilight anesthesia, it seems. (As someone who’s worked in dermatology for three years, I would implore you to please not ever use retinols, intensive or otherwise, before having your face lasered. That is a recipe for disaster. You should also be wary of any laser treatment that requires anesthesia. Anyway, moving on.) For your face to match up with your new skin, you’ll need a little Botox here, a little filler there. A new wardrobe, a new haircut, some classes on how to walk and talk like a youngin. A whole new identity provided by the British government. You know, the usual when it comes to starting a new job.

The problem with this book is that, despite the odd premise, it could have been good. Give me some corporate sabotage. I want to see the cut-throat pharmaceutical industry snuffing out competition. I want to see Anna struggling with the side effects of this miracle cream. I want to see the twists and turns that I’ve come to expect from a thriller. But that’s not what we get. We get an offhand mention of possible spies. A vague mention of a predecessor who may have killed herself, or may have been murdered. We’re told that someone’s trying to murder Anna, but all we really see is her running around foreign countries in various wigs, basically making a fool of herself as she tries to outwit this unnamed evil.

There is, somehow, simultaneously too much going on and absolutely nothing of interest. A haphazard love story is thrown in, one that I couldn’t get on board with. Anna’s boss shows up dying at her doorstep on the first page, but I couldn’t have cared less. That’s the problem with this book – I really couldn’t have cared less what was going on. For a thriller, this left me remarkably bored.

I received a free copy of Younger through Amazon Prime’s Kindle First program. For my 2015 reading challenge, I crossed off #29: a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

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