Monday, February 13, 2017

Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 12/01/16

Publisher: Michael Joseph

ISBN: 978-0718182922

Format: Hardback, 340pp

Genre: Psychological Horror/Thriller

Rating: 5/5

Summed up in a word:

First Impressions: There has been so much buzz around this book and I was eager to dive into the hype to give my opinion on this intense debut by Ali Land. Good Me Bad Me is so gripping that I found myself picking it up as soon as I got a free minute! (Even after getting home from a 15 hour shift :D). Ali Land is going to go far. Good Me Bad Me deserves the attention it is getting, there are some many great (and horrifying) elements to appreciate (and fear). Pick it up and thank me later!

Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way Annie can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind.

The secrets of her past won't let her sleep, even with a new family and name - Milly. As a team of experts prepare Milly to face her mother at trial, she must confront her past.  A fresh start. Now surely she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water...

The Review 
If murder is all you know, can you resist the urge to kill? 
(Minor spoilers included)
Good Me Bad Me has been all over the book community for a while now so I was eager to get my hands on a copy to see if it was worth the hype. Thank you to Michael Joseph for a review copy, a double thank you actually as it was such a great book (although massively disturbing too). Ali Land has taken the dark road in her debut novel and with her talent for crafting an intelligent and brutal plot, AL has written a brilliant debut. 

Annie decided to turn her serial-killer mother into the police. Years of abuse had cast a spell over Annie, keeping her in line while her mother satisfied her need for murder, but this was broken when her mother killed someone she knew. Desperate to prevent any more despair, Annie does the right thing. Annie has been beaten, abused, broken and haunted for too long and it is time for release from this never-ending nightmare. The mother is carted away and Annie is finally safe.

Annie becomes Millie and moves in with a foster family. Mike, the head of the family, doubles as her therapist and is prepping her for her testimony as part of her mother's murder trial. Millie wants to feel normality, the love of parents, the mutual appreciation of siblings and the benefit of an education. In reality she faces jealousy, anger, her mother's voice in her head, anxiety, more abuse and an identity crisis. Millie is fighting her own duality, good vs evil, and the darkness is winning.

It is hard to say I enjoyed this book as it is so dark, sickening and disturbing, but I have to say it is both fascinating and thrilling. Annie/Millie is a complex character, with multiple conflicts in life both in the mind and socially. Attempting to recover from her mother's sadistic, abusive and unspeakable actions. A jealous foster-sister and her army of minions at school. Fighting the voices in her head and their rule over her life and so much more. The plot follows Millie's life in her new family, the lead up to her time on the witness stand and fighting the psychopathic thoughts that plague her mind. 

Ali Land is a natural when it comes to creating an unforgettable atmosphere and populating her fiction with interesting language. There are so many thought provoking moments and analogies, I was stopped in my tracks many times by the way she worded certain idea or concept. Especially the wolves analogy (not going to ruin it :D). As I delved deeper into Millie's own personal hell, I found myself more and more invested in her struggle. You won't be disappointed when you read this book, Good Me Bad Me is pure genius. Lines are blurred beyond all recognition, psyches are scarred forever, evil is waiting in the shadows and the horror is real.

I recommend this book to all those who like complex, dark and twisted fiction that makes you question humanity. In terms of reading, it is a smooth and satisfying read. In terms of digesting the content, it is hard to stomach at times. You have been warned, but if you can handle it then you will be rewarded with a thought-provoking and thrilling story. I have given Good Me Bad Me 5/5 as it was so addictive, I found myself picking it up every free second I had, and these kinds of books are difficult to find. Worth your time and money. Thank you for reading this review, there are plenty more at Always Trust In Books as well as interviews, book extracts and give-aways.

Pick up a copy of Good Me Bad Me here: Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads 

About the Author (Official Penguin Bio)After graduating from university with a degree in Mental Health, Ali Land spent a decade working as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse in hospitals and schools in the UK and Australia. Ali is now a full-time writer and lives in a creative warehouse community in North London. Good Me Bad Me has been translated into over twenty languages.

Follow Ali on Twitter @byAliLand 

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