The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: ARC Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: The Good Girl
Author: Mary Kubica
Published: July 29, 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
Copy: eARC from NetGalley (Thank you Harlequin!)

"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…

(I got my copy from Harlequin MIRA via NetGalley.)

In her debut novel, The Good Girl, Mary Kubica tells a story about trust, love and relationship. Told in the eyes of three different characters, it follows the story of Mia Dennett when she was abducted one unsuspecting night from the busy city of Chicago to a remote place in Minnesota. Mia seems to have a perfect family, a father who is a well-known judge, a socialite mother, and a sister who is a promising lawyer. But beneath the surface are secrets and emotions hidden for the world to see.

From the beginning, I found myself wanting to know what happened to Mia, as well as to her abductor, Colin. The mystery and the suspense build as the story progresses. However, each chapter also has revelation about a certain piece of the puzzle.

Each chapter is told by either Eve, Mia's mom, Gabe, the detective, and Colin, Mia's abductor.

Mia Dennett. Her character is so complex but at the center of her complexity is the want for love and belongingness. The revelation at the end was a shock to me but that made me love The Good Girl more. Just when I thought I had it all figured out!

Colin Thatcher. Aside from wanting to know what happened to Mia, I was also curious about Colin after Mia's return. His character shows how we can never really understand human nature. He also reminded me of the old philosophical thought, the end does not justify the means. But I still liked Colin. In fact, I liked him more than Mia.

His chapters mostly gave answers and clarity to the questions pose by Eve's and Gabe's, and I liked how the author chose to write in his POV rather than Mia's.

Eve Dennett. I liked how her character developed through the book. It's sad though that it took Mia's abduction for her to act upon the lost days of the family's past.

Eve's chapters gave background about the Dennett family, exploring not only Mia's and her life, but also Jame's, the judge, and Grace's, Mia's sister, individually and as a family.

Gabe Hoffman. Though he is one of the narrators, his personal background wasn't explored. However, I liked how his POVs basically posed questions about the case, about Mia, about Colin, and how he connected everything. I felt like I pieced the puzzle with him as I was reading.

I liked the style of writing. There was fluency in it. I liked how the feeling of the characters were conveyed through the multiple POVs, how it gave me the chance to know the stories of the characters and understand them better. I also liked how the suspense was built up using the shifts between the before and after events of Mia's return. And the revelation at the end! That was really good.

(I have some what-if thoughts about the ending, but I don't want to spoil you guys. So if you want to know, you can just message me and I'll answer privately. Haha!)

From reading this book, I was reminded that you can never really know and understand someone unless you give them the chance, that people change, and that what you knew about a certain person may not hold true after some years. I was also reminded that the things you do, whether big or small, may affect the lives of the people around you. It may not be evident immediately, but it will soon be.

A gripping novel about family relationship and love. I recommend The Good Girl for all the fans of contemporary suspense novel. I will definitely watch out for Mary Kubica's future novels. :)

source: author's site

Mary Kubica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a local shelter. The Good Girl is her first novel (Source: Mary Kubica's site).