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By: Carla Buckley
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1/12/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Talented storyteller, Carla Buckley returns following The Deepest Secret Top 30 Books of 2014, with THE GOOD GOODBYE, another complex exploration of a family in crisis. A spark ignites a full-fledged blaze --a dark web of deceit, lies, and secrets.
Two families. They are close. Cousins, like sisters. Arden and Rory Falcone. Two brothers . Vince and Gabrielle (Rory’s parents). Vince’s brother Theo and Natalie (Arden’s parents).
Vince and Natalie are partners in a restaurant experiencing financial turmoil. As a result, the girls are unable to attend the college of their choice as planned. They attend a different college and are roommates. Not what they had in mind.
“The first thing you should know is that everyone lies. The second thing is that it matters.”
Not long after starting college, Arden’s mother Natalie receives the news of a fire in the girl’s dorm room. Rory’s boyfriend, Hunter is dead. The girls are in critical condition. What in the heck happened? Why did they jump from the window? Were they pushed? Was the fire accidental or arson?
The two girls have distinct personalities. Even though they look alike, they are different. Rory is confident, self-centered, the leader, spoiled; whereas Arden is quiet, a follower, and artistic. Art is the one area where Arden could truly shine, where Rory couldn’t go. Tensions are high. Lives are hanging by a thread.
A slow unraveling of a mystery. A tragic emotional tale from three POVs: Natalie, Arden, and Rory. A family bond—torn apart by disaster and betrayal. A complex friendship, a love triangle, and a girl struggling, hiding a secret. Nothing is as it seems. Painful truths are exposed.
Who is guilty or innocent? An investigation. Blame. Criticism. Warning signs? How are the parent’s involved? What happened the tragic night of the fire, and the years leading up to the night?
As always, Buckley is a pro at psychological domestic storytelling; strong character development, and the dissecting of the family unit with the sharpest of instruments. She delves into the emotional lives, the past, and the present. Keeping the reader in suspense, while revisiting earlier times to reveal pieces of the puzzle.
Absorbing, and engaging--drawing you into the heart-breaking saga of two families. Having read all the author’s previous books, you know they will be "compulsively readable". She takes you on a deeply moving journey of family dysfunction- we hear from all sides: teens and parents, appealing strongly to the younger adult crowd.
Intriguing and intense; a thought-provoking book to read in one sitting—very difficult to put down. An ideal for book clubs and further discussions.
Fans of Jodi Picoult, T. Greenwood, Chris Bohjalian, and Diane Chamberlain will appreciate the complexity and the novelist’s highly readable style.