I received Good Me, Bad Me in exchange for an honest review
This was a great start for 2017, a little depressing but great. Good Me, Bad Me is powerful debut which packs an emotional punch, offering a glimpse into the psyche of a damaged girl
Annie is starting life anew. She’s been given a new name and a new foster family and she’s ready to try to move on from the ghosts of her past. But before that, she must give evidence in a court case, where her mother stands trial for 12 counts of child murder. She’s the daughter of a serial killer, and it takes more than new surroundings to erase the ghosts of her past.
The author expertly flits between past and present, gradually revealing snippets of Annie’s life with her psychotic mother, and the horrific events which took place. In the present, Annie – now named Milly – is struggling with settling in at a new school, dealing with her bitchy foster sister and preparing for her court case, all the while fighting her deepest fears that underneath it all she may be just like her mother.
“Yes, I’ll always be Annie to you but to others I’m Milly. Siamese twins inside me, at war. Good me. Bad me.”
There’s something quietly subtle about this novel – there are some big twists, but it wasn’t really about them for me – the true horror is in what’s left unsaid. It’s an extremely character driven tale, a twisted coming-of-age for the protagonist, but it’s not just Annie/Milly that has secrets; the author lives up to her title theme exploring the good and the bad in the characters, from teenage bullies to absent mothers to serial killers.
Annie’s voice is strong and authentic, as Ali Land creates an intriguing study of a young protagonist who is simultaneously sympathetic and disturbing. It was no surprise to read that this debut author’s background is in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. She’s created a story with weight, one which explores the darkest corners of of the human psyche but is completely grounded in reality, and shows that even those who commit truly terrible crimes are still human.