A compelling and suspenseful debut novel by author Ali Land, Good Me Bad Me explores the inner world of an adolescent who has been traumatised by her mother, a convicted serial killer who has been imprisoned after her daughter turned her into the police.
Set in southern England, the novel’s protagonist, Milly (formerly Annie) has been given a fresh start by British authorities, who have given her a brand new identity which includes a home with an affluent foster family and a place at an exclusive private school.
But Milly struggles to navigate her new world. She tries to bond with friends and family, but reminders of her mother and upbringing prevent her from overcoming her past. Try as Milly might, to a certain extent, she remains both loyal and lost, especially when her new family fail to fully accept her.
Author Land cleverly leaves out key details, which allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in Milly’s thought processes. Her tension and anxiety is awkwardly felt through choppy and unreliable narrative, that ultimately leads to an unsettling conclusion.
Because as her mother’s trial looms, for which Milly’s a star witness, she begins to reevaluate her own responsibility for what’s happened. After all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? Milly soon has the choice to either be good, or bad. But which path will she take?
Land’s own career and professional expertise gives her exceptional access to and understanding about her chosen narrative. She has nearly 10 years experience working as a mental health nurse, and has admitted that Milly’s character is loosely based upon a child she has previously worked with.