Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on February 28th, 2017
Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?
Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.
Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.
But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
Oh my god you guys, this was sooo good. Soooo good. Almost 5 stars good. I really was expecting this to be a very typical YA thriller but it was actually so surprising and so different, I want everyone to read it, even if it’s not your preferred genre. It has everything I wanted from a book and then some. The only thing I wish I had was more feels for the romances, but that’s okay, because it packed a punch in every other department.
First, I have to say again that A Good Idea was just full of surprises. Every time I thought the story would go one way, or a character would do something, it ended up veering off in a totally different direction. It was so refreshing to not know ahead of time what was going to happen. I read and watch so many psychological thrillers, it’s almost impossible to find something I won’t figure out early on, but A Good Idea had me guessing all the way till the end. Guessing about the plot points and guessing about every character’s motivation.
I can’t believe I didn’t know this before starting, but the protagonist of this book is bisexual! In the book there are two romantic/sexual relationships, one with a guy and one with a girl, and both were unexpected but pleasant surprises. I loved that there was no angst over the main character being attracted to men and women, I loved that there was no cheating or lying, and I loved that no one felt compelled to do the whole “what, so you’re gay now?” crap with her. Finley was free to date and sleep with anyone she wanted, without it bogging down the plot or causing some kind of internal crisis. Normally I’m really anti no labels bullshit, but it actually worked this time without crossing the line into erasure. There was also on the page f/f sex which was awesome! We need more of that in YA.
I really loved the resolution to this novel. Finding out the killer and the motivation was interesting enough, but what I loved most was how deep Finley had to dig into herself. She had to realize that no matter what she did, no matter how many people she fucked with or flyers she put in mailboxes or pills she popped, Betty was gone. She also had to answer for her actions throughout the book – something that not many protagonists are called upon to do.
Loss is a strange alchemy that changes you forever, remakes you into someone, something else, but even that I could have dealt with; sooner or later, everyone does.
A Good Idea is a consuming, intense psychological thriller with heart. Its characters are more than just pieces to a puzzle; they’re real people facing real consequences and feeling real grief. Betty was more than just a victim and Finley was more than just her sidekick. I loved every page of this novel and I recommend it to everyone who loves a page-turning thrill ride, a trip back to the 90s, or an emotional journey through grief.