The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Hi All! It’s Becky.  The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett was recommended to me by a colleague. This book had the potential to be a great mystery, but the narrative was a little too muddled.     

Title: The Good Girls
Author: Claire Eliza Bartlett
Note: I listened to the audiobook.

Summary: Claude, Avery, and Gwen don’t have any connections. They are not friends, they are not neighbors, they aren’t even in the same classes, but they are all suspects in the disappearance of Emma Baines. All three girls will have their lives changes when their small town learns the truth of what happened to Emma.

Review: I am having difficulty deciding what to write about The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett. The book’s message is important, but the way the message is told was a little muddle. At its core, The Good Girls is about the mystery around a missing girl. What happened to Emma? Who killed her? And why? The questions get answered some better than others.  

Bartlett creates a small American town impacted by the economic downturn. The girls in this town are affected by the limits of their lives. The characters are smart and driven, but they may not be able to reach for their dreams because of the poverty in their community. Bartlett created a narrative that explores the hopelessness of poverty.

Also, the author explores toxic masculinity and the ability of men in power to be abusive. The book realistically depicts the relevant issues of how girls are sexualized from a young age and the fall-out from that sexualization.

The Good Girls has many positive aspects but how the story was told is problematic at times. I had difficulty keeping the characters straight. The sections are introduced by the characters’ archetypes and not their names which I found confusing. Plus, the mystery’s resolution was so far-fetched that it lessened the impact of other aspects of the novel.  

The Good Girls is a good book, and many readers will enjoy the twisty mystery, but parts of the book didn’t work for me.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5

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