Thursday, December 30, 2021

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land


GOOD ME, BAD ME is so good. It's one of those books where even though it's a tiny bit predictable, you keep reading because the plotting is so tight and the characters are really well done. Milly is a fifteen-year-old girl who is living with a foster family while she awaits her mother's trial, where she is a key witness. Her mother is a serial killer known as the Peter Pan Killer who murdered young boys of the shelter she worked at. Milly was also a victim of her abuse and one day she decided she couldn't take any more and risked it all to escape.

Her new foster family is no walk in the park, though. Her foster dad, Mike, is her therapist (conflict of interest, much?) and seems a bit too involved in her mental health. Her foster mother, Saskia, is a hot mess. And her foster sister, Phoebe, hates her on sight and immediately launches a bullying campaign against her at their exclusive private school that results in all kinds of abuse, physical and sexual.

GOOD ME, BAD ME is one of the most disturbing books I've read in a while. Because of the young narrator I think older teens might like this book but it is a book for adults. I've read a lot of twisted, messed-up things and this book was a lot, even for me. It has triggers for basically everything and even though the author withholds graphic details, it is still a LOT. That said, I think it was incredibly well done. The psychology of Milly and her mother, her internal war between nature versus nuture and her obvious trauma at what was done to her-- it's all brilliant.

I also thought the school scenes were really good too. Milly's desperation to fit in and to be liked mirror her mother's cold charm, but there's something more needy about Milly. It's heartbreaking and scary at the same time and I white-knuckled my way to the end of the book, needing to find out what happened.

Time to read something happy now.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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