Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Adult Book Mini Reviews-- Someone Knows & Good Me, Bad Me

1. Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

Goodreads Synopsis:

Twenty years ago, in an upscale suburb of Philadelphia, four teenagers spent a summer as closest friends: drinking, sharing secrets, testing boundaries. When a new boy looked to join them, they decided to pull a prank on him, convincing him to play Russian roulette as an initiation into their group. They secretly planned to leave the gun unloaded—but what happened next would change each of them forever.

Now three of the four reunite for the first time since that horrible summer. The guilt—and the lingering question about who loaded the gun—drove them apart. But after one of the group apparently commits suicide with a gun, their old secrets come roaring back. One of them is going to figure out if the new suicide is what it seems, and if it connects to the events of that long-ago summer. Someone knows exactly what happened—but who? And how far will they go to keep their secrets buried?

My Thoughts:

When I saw that part of this book is set in the late 90's, it was pretty much an instant yes for me.  I guess I'm just a sucker for anything nostalgic.

This book shook me a little.  It's freaking depressing, guys.  A kid dies for literally NO reason and everyone who was involved has a shitty life after that. I know that most unnatural deaths are meaningless, but this one really hit me hard.  Why did I read 400 pages just to come away with: What a waste that all was.

Another thing that puzzled me was the BIG BAD.  The theme of this book seemed to be that life isn't black and white-- there are grays when it comes to who is at fault and what is good and bad.  The thing is, the villain in this book was overly evil.  I didn't need the author to make the villain so villainy that I had zero doubts about his/her evilness.  I don't think this book needed a villain like that.  I think the event that happened brought up a lot about culpability and guilt-- it didn't need a serial killer to bring it together.

This is a book of alternating POV chapters, which I like... and I did like it when it was only the 4 main players giving their POV.  At some point, there were the POVs of the parents and spouses too.  It started to get confusing, and I think it would've been better just sticking to the main characters.

Putting all of that aside, I didn't hate the book.  I just didn't like being so depressed either.

OVERALL: Depressing.  Days later I'm still thinking about how this whole book was about a meaningless, senseless death and how I wish I didn't read about it.

Date Published: 4/9/2019
How I got this book: Audio from the library
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Books

My Rating: 3/5

2.  Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Goodreads Synopsis:

Good Me Bad Me is dark, compelling, voice-driven psychological suspense by debut author Ali Land.

How far does the apple really fall from the tree? 

Milly's mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school. 

But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother's trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all. 

When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother's daughter.

My Thoughts:

I know this is an Adult book, but it has definite YA crossover appeal.

This book was rough to read-- emotionally.  It's about a girl who did the right thing, but nevertheless was a completely damaged person.  Milly grew up for 15 years with a psychotic serial killer for a mother--  abusing her, brainwashing her, making her witness horrible, unimaginable things.  Milly was never going to be normal.

She's living with a psychiatrist (Mike) and his family until the trial of her mother can take place.  She's going to a prestigious, private school and excelling.  The only problem is that Mike's daughter, Phoebe, is also a sociopath and she's not about to let Milly acclimate to her new situation smoothly.

The biggest theme of the book has to do with the title.  Is there a bad person living inside of Milly because of the way she grew up??  How much does nurture influence her?  It was a super interesting aspect of this book, and I was totally on edge waiting on Milly to snap.

For the entirety of the story, the reader is in Milly's head, which is kind of a sobering place to be.  She has feelings of empathy and sorrow, anger and grief-- but you can also feel that there's something missing somehow.  I had equal feelings of wanting OUT of her head and wanting to see her succeed.

Good Me, Bad Me worked.  It was a readable, addicting, painful story-- and it felt totally real.  Soberingly real.  I won't forget Milly anytime soon.

OVERALL: I loved this psychological thriller and think it was one of the strongest debut books I've read in a while.  I don't think it's for the faint of heart-- it was a hard book to read-- but it is totally worth it if you can handle being in Milly's head.

Date Published: 1/12/2017
How I got this book: Audio from the library
Publisher: Michael Joseph/Pengiun

My Rating: 4.5/5

Have you read either of these books?  Thoughts??  Share with me!!


  1. Someone Knows sounds exactly like the kind of thing that I do not want to read. Just depressing for no real reason or you get nothing out of it. :( The other one though sounds kind of amazing. I love the show Prodigal Son and it reminds me of that premise a lot. I am going to put it on my to-read list!

    1. I would totally recommend the second book and not the first book!! Prodigal Son sounds really good!! I might have to find that and start watching!! I love stuff like that.

  2. Lisa Scottoline has been pretty much a miss for me for a long time. She kind of reads like James Patterson's later books (but before he pretty much stopped writing) only not as good. I have Good Me, Bad Me and haven't read it but I definitely want to again now!

    Also, I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner on the comment that you left on my blog. Work has been exhausting. But I definitely agree that we should be friends!

    1. No worries!! I had never read a Lisa Scottoline book before-- I just saw that it was set in 99 and decided to give it a whirl. It didn't really make me want to read more of hers though. I can't imagine reading James Patterson books, so I guess I can just cross her off completely!!

      Good Me, Bad Me is worth reading!! Totally messed up, but I like messed up sometimes??

      Thanks for visiting me and hopefully we can chat more sometime :)