Today I have a review of Not Bad People by Brandy Scott. Thank you to William Morrow for the invitation to review. Not Bad People is available now!
In Australian wine country, just outside Sydney, three life-long best friends, Lou, Melinda, and Aimee, are celebrating the sense of hope and excitement a new year brings.
They decide to set off Chinese lanterns each filled with a resolution. These lanterns are illegal, though.
The lanterns slowly lift away as the women watch until they see a flare. Did something lucky happen, or was it something very, very bad?
Aimee has a strong feeling something bad happened when they saw the flare. The following day they find out a small plane crashed. Aimee continues to shoulder the blame, while Melinda thinks it had nothing to do with the lanterns. Lou is is her own world of problems.
Then, things blow up between these friends. These “not bad people” become toxic, with guilt, obsession, and a desperate need for survival.
Not Bad People is a slower burn of a read, which I actually love. It gives me time and space to reflect on the story, and I did so here. I felt these friends could be my friends, or I could be one of them. They truly were just anyone, and they made a seemingly harmless, but also potentially dangerous, decision, that completely upended their worlds and could be responsible for a tragedy. That made the story intensely relatable- how small decisions can cause huge impacts one never expects.
I felt strongly for the characters, and it was a mix of emotions. I was empathic because it could happen to anyone, and at other times I was angry and frustrated. I think this would make a great discussion book for book clubs because it draws upon what makes people “good” and “bad.” Overall, I found Not Bad People to be a relatable, original, and thought-provoking read.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
A clever, compelling debut novel with a unique premise of what happens when three best friends engage in what seems to be a harmless act, but instead results in tragedy, leading the women to confront buried resentments, shattering secrets, dark lies, and the moral consequences that could alter their lives forever.
Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture…and a terrible accident.
It’s New Year’s Eve, in a small town in the rich wine country outside Sydney. Thirty-something Aimee, Melinda, and Lou are best friends reveling in the end-of-year celebrations. And what better way to look ahead to the coming year than to let off Chinese lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money? The fact that it’s illegal to use these lanterns is far in the back of their minds. After the glowing paper bags float away and are lost to sight in the night sky, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck—or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend the women’s friendships, families, and careers.
Aimee is convinced their little ceremony caused a major accident. The next day, the newspapers report a small plane crashed, and two victims—one a young boy—were pulled from the wreckage. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.
They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Have you read Not Bad People, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! Happy long weekend to those in the US! ~ Jennifer THR