The Good Girl Review

The Good Girl is a debut novel from Mary Kubica, and follows the story of 25-year-old Mia Dennett. Mia is the outsider within her upper-class and well-respected family, but one night, when she originally plans to meet her boyfriend, she meets an enigmatic stranger, who is quick to turn her life upside down forever. It is stated that this book is a mystery-thriller, but I slightly disagree with this genre, for reason which I will later state.
Firstly, the narrative structure of this novel. The story is told through a first person structure from three separate characters, Eve (Mia’s Mother), Gabe (The Detective) and Colin (The Kidnapper). The account changes with each chapter, and I personally enjoyed this style as it allowed different characters thoughts and feelings to be expressed. On top of this, the book does also change between times, often alternating between before (Mia was found) and after (Mia was found). Usually, a slow and basic reader like me would find this complicated and unenjoyable; however, Kubica clearly identifies the positioning in time at the start of each chapter, thus making it easy to understand.     
My predominant fault for this novel would be the stereotypical nature of the characters. Although this may make the book somewhat easier, I feel as though it does ruin aspects of the characters development. Colin is the stereotypical kidnapper, who is cruel and has a complicated past. We also have Mia’s family, which consists of her father, a top-end lawyer who cares only for his work, image and success, her mother, who is weak, submissive and somewhat irritating, and her sister, who is also destined to be a lawyer, thus making her the favourite of the family. These are to name but a few of the stereotyped characters!  With that said, however, character’s motives are still explored and responses are realistic. In many first novels, authors fail to make the characters respond in a way which works with the persona they exhibit; however, I found that Kubica was successful in doing this.
Adding to this realism is definitely Mia. As a character, Mia is very likeable and exhibits a very down-to-earth nature, something which I feel as though is an essential factor for the books success. On top of this, I liked the way in which Colin described her appearance throughout the novel. Usually, many new writers make the kidnapping victims out to be stunning, even after they had gone through the traumatic ordeal and probably haven’t been looked after. Mia’s described appearance is more realistic, as Colin says on multiple occasions how ‘rough’ she looks, and even comments on the fact her legs are not shaved. I know the average reader probably won’t appreciate this factor much, but I certainly did.
Lastly, the action within the story, although it is interesting, is reasonably mundane. Usually, I enjoy novels with a large number of twists that leave you not knowing what to expect when you turn over the page, but with The Good Girl, the story did instead seem to just flow. I must admit, I did enjoy the twist at the end of the book; however, many people who I have discussed this with did predict the ending, thus making me uncertain on whether it really is a shocking twist, or I’m just too thick to work it out (I know, it’s probably the second one).
These sever lack of twists throughout the plot, alongside the fact that we know Mia returns safely due to the narrative structure, is the reason why I feel as though this book shouldn’t classify as a mystery thriller. The number of enigmas are present to make it a potential mystery, but the lack of suspense will be particularly disheartening for a thriller-loving audience base who, quite frankly, will not have their expectations met.   

With all that said, I would still say that this book is worth reading, even if it isn’t the greatest book of the land. It is very readable and enjoyable and even has short chapters, thus being ideal for anyone who reads at night or for short amounts of time a day. It is interesting and engaging, thus making it a strong debut novel, as well as a nice book to easily read without the need to try to think about details too much. 


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