Monday, June 5, 2023

The Good Ones - Polly Stewart

The Good Ones is Polly Stewart's new novel. 

Lauren Ballard was the 'it' girl, the queen bee who ruled her kingdom. She married the rich boy, the football captain, had a beautiful baby. A perfect life...until the day she went missing. Nicola Bennett was a friend to Lauren. Or was she - in Lauren's eyes? Twenty years on, Nicola is still pondering that question. 

We see everything through Nicola's point of view, and come to know her better through her memories. Or we would, if she would admit her part in things. This is where Stewart hooks the reader. Nicola alludes to events in the past, only fully unwrapping them on her timeline. 

Nicola is a complicated character. I was on board with her in the first bit of the book - and felt sorry for her. But as the book progressed, I began to truly dislike her. She's self-serving and is a self described 'wrecking ball.' Lauren is no different for me. She's the quintessential mean girl. Actually she's beyond mean and has both feet firmly planted in cruel. I had a hard time with supporting player's lives being used as fodder for her entertainment. Stewart has done a good job of writing this aspect of the plot. But I questioned if someone would truly put up with her games. 

The book is told in a back and forth, then and now narrative. The question of what happened to Lauren did intrigue me and kept me turning pages until the last chapters. The answers are there, but I will leave you to discover them. 

In addition to the mystery, The Good Ones is an exploration of friendship and relationships that's somewhat uncomfortable to read. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Good Ones.

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