Teenager Romy Field may not be quite the good girl that everyone, least of all her mother, Ailsa, believes her to be.
But she’s not as bad as the rest of the world makes her out to be either.
In fact, she’s a straight-A student who soon learns that what ‘really sets you free is other people not knowing your shit’ and that, even in rural Norfolk, teenage mistakes are played out against a viciously viral social media backdrop.
But, as mother and daughter reveal their different versions of the resulting scandal, some age old truths emerge about the complexities of family relationships, first love and sexual double standards.
And, as The Good Girl by Fiona Neill, best-selling author of 2007’s The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy, makes clear, even the most carefully-thought through decisions can have unexpected consequences.
The strength of O’Neill’s writing (she’s best known for her Slummy Mummy column in The Times) makes this a page-turner even in the face of a couple of frankly incredible, and unnecessary, plot developments.
And, don’t get me started on dad Harry’s irritatingly frequent treatises on what makes the teenage brain tick…
But these are minor quibbles.
In general, the central characters are well-drawn and believable (although next-door neighbours Wolf and Loveday Fairport seem too hippy even for Norfolk).
And, the ultimate unmasking of the person who shared Romy’s explosive secret with the world was a real surprise.
I’m looking forward to exploring O’Neill’s back catalogue.
Review by Sue Featherstone.
The Good Girl is available to buy on Amazon.