Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fiction Review: Good Me Bad Me

Continuing my theme of dark and creepy reading for the annual fall RIP XIV Challenge, I listened to the psychological thriller Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land on audio. This gripping suspense novel was the very darkest of all the dark reading I did these past two months (and that includes a Stephen King novel!).

Milly, a fifteen-year-old girl, has been given a fresh start since her mother was arrested for child abuse and murder. She has a new name, a new home with wealthy foster parents, and a new start at an exclusive private school. Her foster father, Mike, is also the therapist who is helping her prepare to testify against her mother in court. No one else in her new world, except her foster mother and the school's headmistress, knows about her past. Milly grew up in that house of horrors, abused herself and helpless (and made to watch) as her mother abused nine young children and then murdered them. That kind of upbringing is damaging to a child, to put it mildly, and Milly can still hear her mother's taunting, cruel voice in her head. As Milly struggles to fit into her new family and her new life, she secretly wonders how much she might be like her mother. As her foster family's less-than-shiny secrets are revealed and Milly is bullied at school and by her foster sister, she feels an internal fight between the good Milly and the bad Milly. Which is stronger, nature or nurture?

As you can tell by the subject matter, this is a dark, dark story about the absolute worst in human nature. It was almost too dark for me, though Milly's struggle is compelling, and the constant sense of dread throughout the novel lends plenty of suspense. The audio book was especially effective because the story is told from Milly's perspective, and hearing it narrated in her chilling voice lends an extra layer of creepiness. Milly's internal struggles kept me listening, as that sense of low-level horror keeps building. It's a thoughtful story, too, about the effects of childhood trauma. Will Milly take advantage of the new opportunities offered to her or will her horrific childhood win out? While difficult to listen to at times, as Milly remembers the events of her past, it is a captivating and original suspense novel.

304 pages, Flatiron Books

Macmillan Audio

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

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Listen to a sample of the audio, to hear that chilling narration from Milly, or purchase it from Audible.

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Or you can order Good Me Bad Me from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. Oh my, I think this one might be a bit much for me, but it sounds very well done.

    1. Yeah, I think it was a bit much for me! ha ha But a gripping story.