Review: Good Girls
Do you remember when the movie Wrath of the Titans came out? It was a sequel to a remake of Clash of the Titans, made back in ’81, which didn’t have a sequel. I remember seeing the trailer for Wrath that first time and having that moment of temporary disorientation–as if the world had just tilted on its end and sent my head spinning–thinking that this movie shouldn’t exist. The first one was a remake after all. I almost felt the exact same way when I saw this book in my lineup. Just hadn’t expected it, I guess. After taking a quick glance back at the first book though, I realized that there was the beginnings of a slightly-larger story that the author had been setting up, and so a sequel–nay, a TRILOGY!–actually made perfect sense. Now, if only we can get someone to make a third Titans movie…
GOOD GIRLS picks up really quick after the end of Motherless Child, which sort of surprised me. Although the ending of Motherless Child was a bit give-and-take for me, it felt pretty tied off. Final, so to speak. Not so, says the mockingbird. Jess has been left on the beach, the Whistler has fled, the bodies of her daughter Natalie and friend Sophie flopped in the sand. Somewhere near the pier, Natalie’s baby Eddie is warbling a weak cry. Jess doesn’t know much except for the fact that it’s time to gather up what’s left of her family–Eddie and her somewhat boyfriend Benny–and get moving. Everything doesn’t go as she planned. Far from it, actually, because Sophie isn’t quite dead, and Benny’s been shot. But eventually they all make it to a small college town where no one knows them, find a cheap derelict house for rent, and try to resume a semblance of life.
Meanwhile, Rebecca is struggling to make her way through school, working the late shift at the local university’s crisis center. She’s also juggling being newly away from her foster home at Halfmoon House, a second job babysitting, and trying to keep her friends at least somewhat responsible. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
This book started out really good, which is exactly what I’d expected. Hirshberg has a really succinct way of writing characters that gets the bones of their self across the barrier between words-on-the-page and story-in-your-mind. The story took some difficult turns early on, and I loved every page. The relationships surrounding Rebecca are quickly fleshed out and we see who she is and how her life has been built around her. She’s a tough girl, independent, and willing to take a couple knocks if she thinks she’s doing things the right way. And Jess is just a power woman. Straight-up. Watching her do the things that she does, to pick up her life after the devastation that the Whistler has wrought around her, is just impressive. The more I read of her, the more I realized where her daughter Natalie, the center of the previous novel, had gotten her strength from. How she’d held back against the changes that were happening to her throughout the entire book. And the fact that in the end, she succumbed to enormity of those changes, relayed to me just how powerful the vampiric pull of the Whistler is.
But this story wasn’t about that vampiric pull, or the changes that occur after being seduced by a vamp. This story was more of a traditional vamp story where the baddies play with their food before eating, and eventually get fed up with the fact that their quarry aren’t being fun anymore.
About midway through the book, I started to get a little concerned. This because of the number of POV characters that were beginning to show up. For the most part, the story revolves around Jess and Rebecca. They’re what you’d call the main characters after all. But soooo many of the secondary characters got their turn at the POV-wheel, and when that happens, the focus and drive of the story really gets diluted. I went back and glanced through Motherless Child and noticed this trend toward secondary-character POV time, although in significantly smaller quantities. As such, I’d been able to get through that one without too much effort and ended up liking it quite a bit.
By the end of this book, however, the story had become so spread out across so many characters, that I found the last fifty pages of so to almost be a chore to read. I wasn’t invested anymore. The story had lost it’s focus, and as a consequence had lost me. Despite this fact, I still ended up coming away from the read with a positive impression. Likely because of how much I enjoyed the beginning. But the lack of a novel storyline and the thinly-spread character focus really brought my rating down quite a bit from where it was at the beginning.
A decent read, but not as novel or good as the first in the series. Hoping for better stuff from him in the future, because I really dig the way the guy writes.
- Recommended Age: 16+
- Language: Infrequent but strong
- Violence: Pretty violent and gory, especially toward the end
- Sex: Some innuendo, one scene that gets somewhat detailed