As someone who would read pretty much every thriller in existence if I had the time, when a copy of A Good Idea showed up in my mailbox (a huge thank you to Penguin Teen!), I was incredibly excited – especially by that really creepy looking cover, and a synopsis that said I probably shouldn’t start this book at night before I went to sleep.
I guess I was honestly expecting a bit of horror to be integrated into the book too, or at least some sort of supernatural aspects to be included, but I wasn’t the slightest bit creeped out by this book, despite that rusty bathtub on the cover and the creepy woods in the background.
I did, however, find myself completely engaged in a thriller that was definitely an interesting one, and even the setting – the 1990’s in a small town in Maine – was something that I really found myself drawn to.
Finley spends summers with her dad, in Maine, which is quite the change from the New York environment that she is used to with her mom. Maine is a lot more quiet – a place where everyone knows everyone else (and their business), and the place where Fin’s best friend Betty (and kind-of boyfriend Owen), always lived.
However, this summer is going to be different. This summer, Betty won’t be there when Fin goes to stay with her dad – it turns out, she was murdered, and they never found her body. There are plenty of theories about what happened to her, including the popular one that her ex-boyfriend Calder drowned her at the beach. In fact, he had even confessed to killing her, even though they had to dismiss his confession and let him go. Crushed by Betty’s death, Fin realizes that her life will never be the same – the summers she once shared with Betty are just memories now.
“‘Death really is easiest on t he departed. It’s everyone else who does the suffering, gets angry, looks for someone to blame.'”
But Fin still believes he did it, and she is determined to make sure that he gets what’s coming to him, even if she has to spend the whole summer making sure that people know the truth. Although, it doesn’t seem as though anyone wants to talk about Betty or even acknowledge that anything out of the ordinary happened – it’s as though they would rather forget about her, and move on with their lives – allowing Calder to walk free without a second thought.
Only a few people, including a girl, Serena, want to bring about justice for Betty’s death, and she is willing to do anything she can to bring it to light. So Fin works with Serena (developing a friendship, and then something more), as well as Owen (who honestly wants her to just leave things well enough alone), to get to the bottom of what really happened to Betty.
There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, such as how well the setting was written and how I felt like I was actually there, as well as the determination of both Fin and Serena when it came to figuring out who killed Betty.
Unfortunately, there were also other things about this book that I wasn’t able to appreciate that much, including the weird relationship between Fin and Owen, as well as the fact that no matter how hard I tried, I just could not connect with Finley’s character. Don’t get me wrong, she was the type of girl that really went after what she wanted without worrying about what other people thought, and I loved that, but at the same time, the way she acted sometimes really made me dislike her.
There are quite a few flashbacks in this book, and they can get confusing sometimes, as Fin will be narrating in the present and then just jump back to a memory without there being any breaks or italics or anything (I only have the ARC of this book, so this might change in the finished copy, not sure). While the flashbacks are helpful to understanding Fin’s relationship with Betty, I wish there had been more of them so we would have been able to understand Betty’s character a little better.
There is A LOT of drug use in this book – it seems like everyone in the entire town is popping pills and getting drunk, including Fin. I’m just throwing this out there, because it has the potential to be a trigger. If alcohol or drug use is something that could be a trigger for you, consider this before checking out this book.
All in all, it was an interesting thriller, even if it wasn’t quite as thrilling as I had hoped. It’s easy to see that the author has quite the flair for writing though, and because of her writing style I’m definitely going to be checking into her previous novel, Althea & Oliver.