Audiobook Review – Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Audiobook Review – Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land
Audiobook Review – Good Me Bad Me by Ali LandGood Me Bad Me by Ali Land
Published by Macmillan Audio
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Narrator: Imogen Church
Length: 10 hours and 4 minutes
304 pages
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher


Good Me Bad Me is dark, compelling, voice-driven psychological suspense by debut author Ali Land: "Could not be more unputdownable if it was slathered with superglue." ―Sunday Express

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.

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“…I remember a story that I read. A Native American tale where the Cherokee tells his grandson there’s a battle between two wolves in all of us. One is evil, the other good. The boy asks him, Which wolf wins? The Cherokee tells him, The one you feed.”

Wow! GOOD ME BAD ME was insanely addictive, majorly disturbing, and chilling. I listened to this one with bated breath, constantly on the edge of my seat. With a hook like a 15-year-old turning her serial killer mother in for murder, are you really surprised? I completely recommend this book for those of you wanting a compelling thriller that will grab you from the beginning. If you’re an audiobook junkie like myself, the audiobook was fantastic! Let me tell you why.

Milly is Annie’s new name after she secretly turns her mother in for a string of murders. Milly’s mother used her as a great disguise as she killed 9 small children over several years, forcing Milly to not only watch but dispose of the bodies in their cellar. I mean, who would think a young nurse with a sweet daughter would be a cold killer? Totally insane!

Positioned to be the prosecution’s star witness in their case against her mother, she goes to live with a foster family who has their own set of issues. Mark, the father, is a psychologist who will be the perfect mentor for Milly while she’s trying to come to grips with what she’s been through, what she’s done. The mother is more interested in her yoga classes and calorie counting than her own troubled daughter. Their daughter, Phoebe, is the school’s “mean girl” and chooses Milly to be her next target. But seemingly fragile Milly has her own armor—years of quiet observation and an expert in manipulation and psychological trauma.

Ali Land did such a great job with Milly’s characterization. Of course, with this being a thriller, I’m asking the whole way through whether Milly is giving the reader the whole story. There is one scene where Milly is giving the reader a play-by-play of what she’s doing and what she sees and hears. Then the next chapter it’s revealed that she didn’t tell us everything. It was such a clever way for the author to make the reader question her character. Is she good or is she bad?

Ali Land addresses the question of nature versus nurture. Is Milly the wolf or the sheep? Is being evil a choice?  One side of Milly wants to be everything her mother isn’t—truly good.  Milly’s been traumatized, manipulated, and abused at the hands of her mother for so many years. Despite this, she knows what’s right and what’s wrong. She wants to have a family that adores her like Phoebe has and a best friend she can gossip with. But a darkness lives inside her as well, a side that she’s had to battle with and one that starts to take over with frightening frequency. It’s glimpses into this side where I felt conflicted. She’s vulnerable and trouble, yet she knows how to play people like a violin. It made her such an interesting character!

The whole book builds to her mother’s trial. What really happened in their house? Why is her mother like this? With Milly taking the stand the reader finally gets the answer to those questions in such a thrilling way. I had gotten to work one day and was in the middle of the trial scene and was so angry that I had to get out of the car and stop listening to the book!

What bothered me a little bit was how generic the ending and resolution felt to me. Even though I enjoyed the book immensely, what happens in the end just felt entirely too predictable, like I saw it coming from a mile away. With Milly being such a fantastic character, the author creating this vulnerable yet disturbed nuanced character, I was hoping for a more out-of-the-box ending.

Audiobook Comments:

I will be definitely be reading more books narrated by Imogen Church! This narrator’s performance was PERFECTLY chilling and spot on. Milly is seemingly very vulnerable and just wants to be loved by someone, after living a life so devoid of it. Church’s delivery made this vulnerability evident but also played up Milly’s darkness in such a creepy way.

In the novel, Milly hears her mother’s voice in her head, likely the product of being mentally abused all those years. Church’s vocal distinctions between this voice and Milly’s was fantastic! This audiobook is one of my favorite audiobooks of the year! I can’t recommend this narrator enough!

* Thanks to Macmillan Audio for providing me a copy of this audiobook for review. Receiving this audiobook for free does not affect my opinion.

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