Title: Good Me, Bad Me
Author: Ali Land
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 12th January 2017
ISBN 13: 9780718182922
Started: 12th December 2016
Completed: 31st December 2016
Summary: ‘NEW NAME. NEW FAMILY. SHINY. NEW. ME.’
Annie’s mother is a serial killer.
The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind.
As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.
Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Ali Land, and the publisher, Michael Joseph, for this opportunity.
Good Me, Bad Me is Ali Land’s debut novel and it shows her to be an exceptionally talented writer. It has garnered much praise from other authors in the genre and it has been translated into 21 languages at the time of this review.
I love the cover of the UK hardback edition as it conveys the duality of the narrator’s life as she attempts to be normal while knowing that she is far from normal. It also gives a sense of vulnerability to Milly’s character that she likes to play on in the novel. It’s a well-designed cover and it’s very eye-catching.
Ali Land’s writing style is captivating. I can’t think of another way to describe it. The language and description that she uses just draws you into the story instead of making it feel as though you’re merely observing the events of the story. Milly, the narrator, has a voice that grips you from the very beginning and does not let you go even after you’ve finished the book. She haunts you. I think that Milly’s narrative voice is perfect for a book such as this and it proves that Land is a wonderful writer because you can really hear Milly in her narration, it’s not just a flat, generic voice. I read this book over the Christmas/Holiday period so I couldn’t dedicate any full days to reading it but I would like to go back and just read it nonstop. I found it difficult to put down even with my restricted reading time because it’s full of suspense and I fell in love with Land’s writing.
The characters are all very intense and complicated and I find that Land captures the cruelty of teenage girls very well. I often find teenage girls in stories too stereotypical in their meanness but Phoebe and Iz felt real. I went to high school with girls like that, I’m sure everyone did. I also found Phoebe’s strained relationship with her mother very interesting because it adds so much to both of their characters. It adds a new dimension to each character.
Milly is a fascinating character. I’m not usually a fan of first-person narrative because I often find that the narrators are annoying. However, having access to Milly’s innermost thoughts is both terrifying and amazing. Milly is such an intense character as she struggles with her own identity but also with her mother’s actions. Her thoughts reveal her relationship with her mother as she talks to her mother continuously but they also reveal much about Milly herself as she considers her own role in her mother’s crimes.
Land really focuses on the classic ‘nature vs nurture’ debate in this novel as she considers the way that Milly may have been conditioned by her serial-killer mother during her twisted childhood. The plot is exhilarating as you’re left wondering ‘what’s going to happen next?’ at every turn. I was just gripped by the plot from the first page to the last page.
I would just like to point out a few things though. This novel is not for the easily offended but most thrillers aren’t. There’s swearing in the novel but it’s well placed in my opinion. Milly and many of the other characters are teenagers and most British teenagers swear. It’s a fact. It’s also a small act of rebellion which works well with characters like Phoebe and Iz. There’s also some sensitive issues such as drug consumption etc. It never seems like Land just added it in for shock value and it always works as part of the plot in some way.
I loved this book. I just really loved it. It was a fantastic way to end 2016 for me and I can’t wait for it to be released on the 12th of January because I’m going to buy it and re-read it when I get the chance to. Ali Land is definitely an author to keep an eye on in the future as Good Me, Bad Me has showcased her talent for writing excellent characters and capturing the perfect narrative voice.
I really do recommend this book. The writing is excellent, really captivating, and the plot is just fantastic. It’s one of the best thrillers that I’ve read in ages and the concept is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t recommend it enough.