The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl.
Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.
After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.
Everyone has a label, whether they like it or not–and Emma was always known as a good girl. But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long-buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer–before another good girl goes down.
Review: 3.5 Stars
I requested an ARC of The Good Girls because I really enjoyed The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett. The Good Girls is completely different from The Winter Duke and not what I normally read, so I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like it. I picked it up because I needed a change of pace from my typical reads and I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The Good Girls was a fast paced YA thriller that wound up tackling some really important issues.
While I feel like the mystery aspect of this novel was poorly done I still really loved this book, and not for the reasons that I expected to. The Good Girls dove into some heavy topics and the struggles that teenage girls face. It focused on three girls who each struggled with some pretty big issues. Avery struggled with perfectionism and parents who placed some really unhealthy expectations upon her. Claude struggled with being labeled a slut because she was sexually active. Gwen struggled with competing for a scholarship for her only chance to get into college while also grieving her sister’s death. This book really highlighted the struggles that young girls face and I thought that all three of these girls’ struggles were so real and easy to relate to and empathize with.
The thing I found so interesting about this novel is that it explored how parents can affect their teens. There were several different parenting styles explored and it was easy to see how these parents had affected their children’s actions. Personally I found Avery’s relationship with her parents the most interesting. It was extremely unhealthy and it made me so angry. On the other hand, I felt that Claude’s relationship with her mother was a little too far on the other side of the spectrum. While Avery’s parents were extremely controlling and expected her to be perfect, Claude’s mom was a little too hands off. I feel like parents are hardly ever present in YA and while not all of the relationships were healthy I think it added important context to the lives of teenagers. I would like to see more parents in the YA genre and this book delivered flawed families that felt real.
One thing I totally didn’t expect was that this novel was told in different formats. I’m actually really intimidated by different formats for some reason, so I don’t know if I would have picked it up if I knew, but I actually loved that aspect of the novel. It included diary entries, blog posts, police interviews, text messages and more. All of that was alongside the stories following the three girls. The formatting of this novel really brought it to life and made it interesting. I felt like including those aspects added to the whole story and now I am much more willing to give books told in different formats a chance.
I did feel like this book fell apart a bit at the end. I felt like the reveal had no build up to it and fell a bit flat and the twist just had me confused. There were a few holes and motivations that didn’t make sense to me. As a mystery I think that this book falls a bit flat, but that’s not to say that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat at times or invested in the story. Plot wise I think this book struggled at times, but character wise it was a lot deeper than I expected.