I am all about living in Canada, the true North strong and free and all that, but I really struggle when I see a book on my wishlist that comes out so much later here than in the UK! One of these books was Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land. After reading a plethora of positive reviews and hype during the time of the UK release (which was in January), I waited with baited breath until I could get my hands on a copy! Now that I have read one of my most anticipated September titles, I am feeling a little bit mixed about my feelings.
The novel opens with the introduction of Milly (aka Annie) who is new to the foster care system after turning in her mother, a serial killer, to the authorities. Milly is awaiting her mother’s trial in which she is the star witness. However, Milly has some secrets too; wrestling with her guilt and dealing with her troubling past, Milly is forced to face her most internal desires and question whether or not she will be good or bad. After all, she is her mother’s daughter.
One of the first things that struck me about this novel was the characterization. Kids are creepy. Kids as a narrator are creepy. This was clearly represented within the pages of this story. Milly is such a complex character and she was really interesting to watch develop. She seems to be quite the mess, and for good reason, and I felt like I was able to get into her headspace through my reading. Land does a brilliant job at creating a memorable character here. However, one of my main issues with the text came from the disjointed narrative style. I realize that this was probably intentional due to the unreliable nature and psychological state of our protagonist but I found this style a little hard to follow. I think I would have gotten much more from the text if it had been more of a third person narration instead of first person. I did end up getting used to it in the end and I did find that by the end of the text, I was following it easier.
I loved the little vignettes that were placed throughout the text that gave insight to the atrocities that Milly witnessed while living in her mother’s house of horrors. I thought this gave such an eerie and ominous tone to the text and legitimately creeped me out.
Now, my mixed feelings do not come from a hatred of the text or from a lack of entertainment because, don’t get me wrong, this novel was binge read worthy and I finished it very quickly, it was just completely different from what I was expecting. I was thinking this would be full of twists and turns but I knew exactly where the plot was going. I thought this would be a fast paced thriller and instead, it was a slow burning character study. I feel like maybe I became a bit of a victim of the hype on this one, but I still really enjoyed the story for what it was.
If you are looking for a fast paced thriller with mind-blowing twists, then this one probably will not be for you. However, if you into a character that will look deep into the psyche of a character and bring an eerie feeling to your bones, then this will be up your alley!
4/5 stars from me.
Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Want to know what my other #cjsreads members thought about this one? Keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra had to say about Good Me Bad Me.