Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Twelve; 1 edition (February 6, 2018)
A searing portrait of suburbia, friendship, and family strained by a devotion to false appearances.
In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?
As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.“I haven’t been captivated by a story like this in so long. The tension, the complexity, the obsession over status; how one hopes to be seen by others versus how one fears one is seen…
GOOD NEIGHBORS is a stunning, shocking, entertaining, and thought-provoking look at humanity. I want everyone to read this book.”? Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth Mother and Cutting Teeth
“Riveting…GOOD NEIGHBORS exposes the dark underbelly of seemingly perfect families and friendships in this compulsively paced suburban thriller.”? Bethany Ball, author of What To Do About The Solomons
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In the idyllic suburb of Fair Lawn of group of neighbors has formed a loose friendship based on their proximity in their cul-de-sac and their children's age. However, each neighbor has carefully hidden secrets or simply pieces of their past that they have kept to themselves if it does not fit into the cookie cutter lifestyle that they have envisioned. When one set of neighbors, Paige and Gene unexpectedly announce that they will be adopting a four-year-old girl from Russia, they upset the fragile structure that the neighbors have become used to. When the adopted Winnie comes into her life, neighbor Nicole can't help but become attached. Nicole quickly puts aside all of Paige's strange behaviors in order to become close to Winnie. As time passes Paige's behavior and Winnie's behavior don't seem to line up, other neighbors notice and the friendships become strained. Nicole doesn't want to see what she does not want to believe. Bonds break,hard questions have to be asked of the neighbors and decisions made about the neighbors around them.
This was a very insightful and ominous look into the everyday life of people around us. In reading, nothing out of the ordinary really happens. Narrated from Nicole's point of view, there is a feeling of anxiety and strain cast over all the interactions. We are never quite sure if everything is all right or if Nicole just wants it to be that way. She tries to keep the group of neighbors together as a group of friends despite what they really think of each other. Through Nicole's eyes Paige is someone who she would like to see as cooky but harmless, however, even when Nicole describes Paige, it seems like she is trying to hide something from herself. When Winnie enters the picture, perceptions begin to tilt. Something just seems off; but because of the fragile nature of the friendships created, no one really seems to dig into what it is and get the full story. I thought this was very interesting and opened up a lot of questions about what I would do in this situation, do you decide to be nosy and possibly embarrass yourself, or do you ask the tough questions and figure out the truth no matter what? Throughout the story there is also a plot line of how Nicole's life is not as perfect as she presents, I really wish this was developed more or each neighbor's secrets were revealed. With and exciting and unexpected ending, Good Neighbors is an exciting and uneasy look into the lives of others.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Joanne Serling’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in New Ohio Review and North American Review. She is a graduate of Cornell University and studied and taught fiction at The Writers Studio in New York City. She lives outside of New York with her husband and children and is at work on her second book.
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