I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho
Published by Viking Children's Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, LGBT
Source: the Publisher
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Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?
Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.
Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.
But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
This was surprisingly good. I really had no idea what to think of it beforehand because I hadn’t read the author’s other book and I hadn’t really heard much about it. But based on some of the reviews I checked on Goodreads first, I really wasn’t sure it would be a book for me. But I decided I would go into this one completely open and was really surprised by how quickly I was drawn into the story. The characters were interesting and very flawed and the mystery of what happened to Betty kept me reading until the end. I’m glad I took a chance on this book and read it for myself rather than just depending on the reviews I read. I think if you like a good mystery or books set in small towns or books with unlikable characters, you should give this one a try!
Make no mistake, this book is dark and full of unlikable characters but it was oddly compelling. I really felt so many of the main character’s emotions as she was trying to deal with the death (murder? disappearance?) of her best friend. She comes back to town in search of answers, thinking she can be the one to solve the mystery of what happened to her best friend and is the only one who actually cares, and really ends up dealing with her own guilt and loss and depression from the past several months. There is still a strong mystery element to this story and the readers are sent on a journey of really trying to learn who Betty was and what she was going through in the months before her death (?) and what really ended up happening to her and that part of the book was good too. But mostly, I really liked seeing how the MC was dealing with the loss and the fact that she hadn’t been there and trying to figure out her future without Betty and just watching her confront so much from her past that she had put off dealing with. And like many people, she just didn’t handle it very well. I really liked the way memories were worked into the story so we could see relevant moments of Betty’s life while working through the mystery of what happened to her and why. It all came together very well in the end.
There were a few things that I didn’t really like, though. Mostly, I got annoyed at the MC several times for being so stubborn. I knew some of the things needed to happen for the story but at times I just wished she’d butt out or actually listen to some of the other characters instead of just storming around determined to do things her way. It was a big part of her character but it also got a little annoying at times. Also, for most of the book, the only likable character seems to be the dead (?) one. Betty was incredibly interesting and I’m still not really sure if it was because of what her character was like or because she was interesting based only on the mystery of what happened to her. I think it would have been great to know more about Betty but I did like that we were always sort of wondering about her. It also would have been nice if I could have really liked some of the other characters but that didn’t keep me from liking the book. Based on the type of book this is and the fact that the characters are going through such a difficult time, it makes sense that they wouldn’t be in a good place mentally and be doing and saying things they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise be doing. So I think it helped contribute to over feel of the book but if you can’t handle books with unlikable characters, this one won’t be for you.
In the end I was really surprised by how quickly I read this book and how much I liked it. It was a really well-developed story of a small town and the dark secrets it holds and left me wondering what I would do in those same situations. The characters were very interesting, though unlikable, and the mystery was tough to solve. Though it wasn’t a complete surprise about what had happened. Mostly, I really liked watching the MC deal with what had happened in her own way. Plus, I loved the way the book was told. I don’t want to give anything away but I just really liked the way it wrapped up. I hope you’ll give it a try if you like dark books and small towns.
One note: there is a lot of drug use, underage drinking, and sexual situations that might be too much for some people. This is a dark book dealing with death and guilt and depression and doesn’t shy away from how some people deal with it. The feeling of the book reminded me a bit of reading Female of the Species. Both are dark and not always easy to read but they both raise some interesting questions that will probably leave you thinking long after the book is over.