Review for "Good Me, Bad Me" by Ali Land (2017) Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I finished this book a few days ago and gave it three stars. I’ve since lowered it to 2 stars.
Annie is a fifteen year old with a mommy who’s a serial murderer known as the Peter Pan Killer. After her mother lures nine children to their deaths in her home, Annie has enough and finally reports her mother to the police. She is given a new name, Milly, and promptly taken in by a foster family, a psychiatrist named Mike, his wife, Saskia, and their daughter, Phoebe. Supposedly only Mike knows Milly’s mother’s true identity, but this doesn’t make her adjustment to life after her ordeal any easier. From the start, Milly is an outsider in her new home and school and is targeted for bullying by Phoebe and her friends.
The story is narrated by Milly, who often addresses her mother throughout the novel. She wants to be normal, yet fears she is more like her mother than she cares to admit. She wants to stay with her foster family, though it is apparent that staying long-term will not be the case. Without giving away everything in this book, I will say that the narration here is a jumbled mess. Short sentences. Strung together. A bit like stream of consciousness. Kind of writing. But not really. Ugh.
The characters in this book are your stock actors: Saskia is a desperate housewife-bot who stays at home all day shopping and doing yoga and lacks any kind of maternal instinct, Mike is a goody-goody father who naively only sees the good in the people around him and plans to write a book about Milly’s case, and Phoebe is a mean girl and a rude, contentious bully. The bullying scenes were numerous and over the top and could have come from any YA book written in the last 15 years. At one point I put the book down, thinking: my god, what else is left to be done to this girl? I get the point that the author was trying to make, but 80% of this book just seems like one long episode of “Mean Girls.” Not impressive.
I did manage to get to the end of the book whilst skipping pages. Predictable, of course.
There is little graphic violence here, but that doesn’t make reading this any more enjoyable. Actually, it just prolongs the agony of reading it. All in all, this book isn’t suspenseful or as “gripping” as I had hoped.
[I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]