Book Title:
A Good Idea
Book Author:
Cristina Moracho
Publishing Date:
February 28th, 2017
Viking Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
February 23rd, 2017
ARC from publisher - Thank you!


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?

My Review

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

3.5 stars
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9 Responses to A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

  1. sorry to hear this wasn’t as thrilling as you had hoped! i totally understand what you mean when you get let down by your fav genre but still good to hear you enjoyed it enough to check out her other works!

    • Kelly says:

      If I hadn’t really been expecting there to be a bit of horror to it, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more, but I just kept waiting for it to get spooky. That and I wasn’t really even kept guessing what actually happened to Betty, it was pretty much revealed early on and was pretty anticlimactic.

  2. Ah yeah, it definitely looks like it should be on the creepy side from that cover. I like reading the occasional thriller, especially when it includes those spooky elements. Doesn’t sound like this one quite captured the eeriness you were expecting. Sorry to hear you didn’t quite connect with the main character either. Might just skip this one. Great review!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks! I’m not even sure WHY I didn’t really connect with the main character – it was just one of those situations where I found myself not as interested in her story as I should have been with a novel being narrated by her and all. I thought this was going to be a bit of a ghost story, too, which is why I was so excited for it. If you like thrillers that aren’t creepy, it’s a great pick, but it was just missing something.

  3. I am really excited for this book because I LOVE mystery/thrillers, and the fact that the MC is bi (from what I could tell of the blurb + info on Edelwiess) – which is quite rare outside of contemporary.

    It’s a bit of a shame that the story wasn’t quite as thrilling as it might have been. I don’t really mind my mystery/thrillers to be slow going, but it is a bummer when you think they’re going to be super fast paced and it turns out not to be the case.

    I’m interested in why the author made the book set in the 90s because to me that can sometimes just be a way of making it harder for characters to get things done – no internet or mobiles. I hope that isn’t the case!

    I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one overall, Kelly!
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    • Kelly says:

      After reading so many contemporary novels set in the current day, it’s weird to have read a book that didn’t have any cell phone or tablet use. It was kind of a refresher, too, since I grew up in the 90’s, and sometimes feel a bit confounded by all the new things (I still don’t understand SnapChat, haha).

      It was pretty neat that the main character in the book was bi, and like you said, it’s a nice thing to see outside of contemporary novels, as this doesn’t typically happen that often.

      Have you read the author’s other book, Althea & Oliver? I actually just bought a copy over the weekend so I’m excited to read it.

  4. The everyone is doing drugs thing is interesting. I could see a small group, but everyone? I’m sorry it didn’t turn out to be as thrilling as you had hoped.
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    • Kelly says:

      Yeah, it was pretty much everyone in the whole town by the end of the book…it was kind of a bummer the way that was written into the story. Had there been more of a thrill to it, maybe it would have been easier to overlook.

  5. skyler says:

    Do you have the answers to the accelerted reading test?

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