|A well written fic in which a unicorn causes the boys to lose their memories and forget that they are brothers!|
By: Ali Land
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 9/5/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars
UK author Ali Land has dedicated her new breakout psychological gripping thriller to mental nurses everywhere. In fact, it happened to be a conversation the author had with a teenage girl when she was working as a mental health nurse that sparked the idea for the book.
Ultimately this became her chilling debut hit, GOOD ME BAD ME. An Interview with Ali Land
Land, once a full-time nurse to a full-time writer. It seems her former career has inspired new talent in the area of mental health; crosses psychological thriller. This is one highly courageous debut novel, and can only imagine how difficult this was to write — as she delves into the disturbing mind of a teenage girl.
Milly (Annie) tries so desperately to be good. However, is this possible? A strong contender for debut of the year!
“ . . . The playground. That’s what she called it. Where the games were evil, and there was only ever one winner. When it wasn’t my turn, she made me watch. A peephole in the wall. Asked me afterward. What did you see, Annie? What did you see?” . . .
“Forgive me when I tell you it was me. It was me that told.”
Annie’s mother Ruth is a serial, killer. (Peter Pan Killer). Her mom kidnapped and murdered children.
Annie has finally turned over her mom to the authorities. She loves her but she must keep her from killing other children.
Now she has a new family with a new name. Milly. This is her chance to start over.
Or so she thinks . . .
A foster dad named Mike. A psychologist, an expert in trauma. His wife Saski and daughter Phoebe. (Phoebe is not so nice). Phoebe turns out to be a bully, making it more difficult for Milly. She turns others at school against her.
Milly has enough problems with the stress of her traumatic childhood, sexual abuse, the guilt of her mother and the damage she has inflicted on her daughter, plus the upcoming trial, and now this girl and this family.
Plus, the voices in her head. The continued taunting voices from her mom. The lessons she taught her.
She curls up in the floor. She read once that people who are violent are hotheaded, while psychopaths are cold hearted. Hot and cold. Head and heart. But what if you come from a person who’s both?
What happens then?
The person Milly wants to run from is also the person she wants to run to. Game on.
Milly has secrets. What is she hiding?
Will she ever be normal growing up with an abusive and murderous mother? Good or bad?
She wants desperately to do the right thing, but her mother’s voice urging her on to do bad things. A child groomed and sexualized from a very young age, now fifteen. She has to take the stand.
“Good me. Bad me. Siamese twins inside of me at war.”
The upcoming trial and the dreams. Now another toxic home. What happens when the trial is over? Can Milly fit in anywhere? Maybe she thinks there may be no place.
A skillfully woven plot, with an unreliable narrator, GOOD ME BAD ME is heart wrenching, engrossing, terrifying, disturbing and filled with horror, tension, and suspense.
This unsettling yet gripping tale will keep you glued to the pages. The author does an outstanding job of portraying mental and physical damages and trauma to a young disturbed girl and its outcome… A struggle between good and evil.
For fans of Ruth Ware, Candice Fox, Wendy Walker, Louise Jensen, Jennifer Jaynes, and Jennifer Hillier. Looking forward to seeing what’s next. (love the cover and the twisty conclusion).
A special thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
He didn’t do anything inappropriate but his touch, whether it was the hand on his thigh or when he draped his arm across the couch and drew circles on the exposed skin of his neck with his fingertips, spread chill bumps across Alex’s skin making his skin feel alive and sensitive. It was all innocent, except to Alex’s body, because it felt like Kelley was playing him like an instrument. Tweaking and strumming and fine tuning it to hit every note in a song only Kelley knew.
I have to say I was not sure what to expect from this at all. I rarely read reviews and even find myself avoiding blurbs. But I had met Morningstar Ashley at GRL and have since interacted with her on Facebook. So picking up her book seemed like a logical step. But what if I hated her book? It is a difficult position to be in as a reader when you become acquaintances with authors on FB. But in the end, I had to dive in and I am so thankful that I did, because this was better than I ever could have expected.
First off, as a debut novel, I can say that I was thoroughly impressed overall by not only the story itself but the writing style. Yes, for me there were some inconsistencies in some timing of a few things, the lack of understanding about this intern program (which frankly was unnecessary) or paragraphs that did not seem to flow as smoothly as others, but regardless, these moments were few and far between. In the end it was the emotional connection made, not only between these characters but the connection made between these characters and me as the reader. I fell in love with Kelley, Alex and Evie.
Kids in books can be a challenge, but sweet Evie never felt anything but real for me. And as a parent with a child with high anxiety I could relate to this sweet child. And the fact that she doesn’t miss anything is absolutely true. Kids are perceptive on a level some adults never give them credit for.
Alex’s internal struggles were beautifully captured and told. Morningstar dealt with these mental challenges amazingly well and I felt ever barrier that was built up over the years and understood quite well the reasons. I loved how Kelley had glimpsed years ago the smile and life that was Alex and could see that he was buried under years of grief and internal abuse as he denied himself true emotion.
I do wish we could have had less of Kelley’s work and more about him. I know nothing about his personal story other than his friends. Had he even dated anyone in the past at all? Are his parents living? If these things were said, they were definitely in passing. But regardless, his caring and “mother hen” persona was just so well matched to Evie and Alex.
And the sex…good gawd. I absolutely loved the sexual connection between these two. These scenes were so hot but at the same time so emotionally driven that I loved every moment. I do wish we could have avoided the time jump at the very end and had a few more steamy scenes…but hey…I will take what I can get.
So what is next? I have to say if Morningstar is not already writing Peter’s story I will begin hounding her now for this book. I am fascinated and intrigued by this man for sure!!
Oh and for what it is worth...the paper plate scene will be one I remember for years to come. Sweet Kelley. LOL
I received a copy from Netgalley.
Never expected to get approved for this one and was quite surprised and pleased when I was. (I so rarely get approved by Random House). Really impressed with the book as well. (Always kind of makes me feel a bit guilty when I get approved for something by a publisher I don’t get approval from and then find I don’t like the book. Thankfully not the case this time.)
This novel tells the story of teenager Adam who suffers from schizophrenia. Adam has quite a unique personality, he knows he’s schizophrenic. He sees illusions, people who aren’t there but the interesting thing I found was while each of these illusions of his seem to have their own personalities and speak to him, he’s actually quite aware of the fact that these people aren’t real. They seem to be some form of emotion he can’t express.
The novel follows Adam as he struggles with his illness and a new experimental treatment drug and starting at a new private Catholic high school. Dealing with the bullies, the geek who winds up becoming a good friend and the girl he has a crush on who becomes a friend and something more.
The novel is told in diary entries through Adam’s therapy sessions – he refuses to speak to his therapist and writes down what’s been going on in his daily life. He’s got a brilliantly blunt tell it how it is attitude, and can be deliciously snarky. Added in some complicated family drama – dad not in picture, mom has new husband. The mom’s new husband was actually pretty decent if a bit dim. Though step dad’s mom was a nightmare. Some interesting ideas on faith as well considering Adam attends a Catholic private school without being too preachy.
Quite realistically handled as well, I though. Some deep emotional turmoil, a sweet romantic storyline as well. Well handled, without being sickly sweet, fair amount of drama, but not too over the top. Ups and downs, sad and funny. Likeable characters, believable parental involvement. A really good read.
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s for approving my request to view the title.
I am just as shocked that I found "The Devil in Silver" to be a three star read. This was a tough one for me to get through. I almost DNFed it at one point because I just found myself getting bored with this book. I think the reason why is that it started off as kind of a potential horror book that turned to thriller/mystery than a dialogue of sorts on how persons in our country are treated with mental health issues, to the current state of prejudice that exists in the U.S., to immigration, back to horror and back around again. I just kept waiting for an epic payoff and it didn't come.
"The Devil in Silver" starts off with a man named "Pepper" being carted off by the police to the New Hyde Hospital. Pepper we find out got into a fight with off duty cops he dropped him off there by saying that he has to be crazy to be fighting the police. I would say though that this is where the story lost me. Pepper is a white guy, a big old white guy, but white. I just can't believe in New York City the police would be this blatant to do this to someone who is not a POC. But that's just me and my hashtag lizard truth talking right now.
I say this about Pepper though cause it took me a while to realize that Pepper was white. Like almost to the 60 percent point when someone mentions his hair and I realized wait, Pepper isn't black? And then I realized another character was black and I think for a second I went into a momentary state of what the hell? Did I read this before and forget? And then I had to go back and re-read chapters and then finally gave up.
Pepper we realize is a bit lost. He has a crush on a neighbor and thought he was helping her out and now is locked up for a mandatory 72 hour hold. No I don't know if this is legal or not, since LaValle did some research on this I am going to guess this is legal, but it does suck.
And from there we start reading a book about the general everyday horrors of being in a psychiatric unit. I know that LaValle is trying to provoke a reaction to us as readers. And believe me I felt pity, anger, and just plain sorrow because of course I know and get this is probably a reality for a great deal of Americans out there. I am just puzzled to how horror fits in here. We get some peeks at horror with the talk of a "devil" roaming the unit and eating/killing people. But then we just shy away from that for pages and pages.
I really think the book could have been tightened up a bit. And not going to lie, when we get to the second act so to speak, after Pepper and his merry crew confront the devil I lost interest in the story. I tried to struggle through this and finally just finished it in one seating the other day so I can get this over and done with.
If you are going to read LaValle, I suggest you read "The Ballad of Black Tom" or "The Changeling." This book seems to be a hybrid of a lot of different genres and didn't do any of them very well IMHO.