A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know The Good Girls is the second book in a series by Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars) is about a group of very different girls suspected of committing murder. There are, in fact, several murders and attempted murders in the book, though none is described in that much detail. Also, a boy beat up another kid after he raped a girl, a character is scarred after being beaten by her dad, and another girl is getting over her brother’s suicide. Characters kiss -- there's one steamy make out scene in a store's dressing room. A teacher has sexual relationships with students. There are rumors that a girl trades sex for grades. There's some strong language (including "a--hole," "bitch," "slut," "s--t"), some drinking and talk about the drug OxyCotin. The protagonists play a role in the murders, but there's a positive message here about "never saying anything" that you might live to regret. The novel may appeal to reluctant readers who like the fast pace and constant dramatic tension.
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What's the story?
In THE GOOD GIRLS, nobody knows who killed popular Nolan or skeazy teacher Mr. Granger, but Julie, Parker, Mackenzie, and Caitlin remain under a cloud of suspicion. And they know something is not right, too: They were the ones who made a list of who they wanted dead one fateful day in Mr. Granger's class, and Nolan was on the list. They try to go about their lives in their well-to-do suburb -- Caitlin makes co-captain of her soccer team and Mackenzie meets a cute boy who also will be going to Juilliard next year -- but then more of the people they listed are turning up as victims. Is it possible one of them is actually responsible for these horrible crimes?
Is it any good?
Teens looking for a book drenched in drama will find plenty of fun in this sequel, including a conclusion that twists and then twists again. But there's a serious lack of reality here -- like the fact that these girls have just been accused of being murderers but yet are still striking up romances, playing sports, and talking to friends about a school test. It's hard to believe that their parents would ever let them out of the house again, or that they wouldn't be single-minded in their search for the real killer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sequels and reading a series. Did you read The Perfectionists? Do you think there will be more books coming in Shepard's series? What's fun about returning to the same cast of characters?
There's lots of killing in this book -- though none is described in too much detail. What is it about murder mysteries and other crime novels that appeals to readers?
Do you think The Good Girls will be a successful TV show like Pretty Little Liars? What does a story need to translate well from the page to the screen?
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