Good Neighbors

Joanne Serling. Twelve, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4555-4191-1
In Serling’s suspenseful debut, four privileged families in an upscale Boston suburb do their best to maintain the fiction that their lives are perfect. The strain increases when one of their number, unstable Paige, adopts a preschooler from Russia, which results in unhappiness for all involved. Narrator Nicole, who is hiding from public knowledge a deadbeat alcoholic sister and a diabetic mother back in Ohio, is drawn to adopted Winnie as she becomes frustrated with her two school-age sons. As Paige becomes more reclusive, the others in the group begin to take sides, some arguing that Paige is abusing her new daughter and some that the little girl is troubled in ways that few would be able to handle. Serling succeeds at dialing up a sense of dread: Nicole is far from a reliable narrator, and with all the other characters keeping their secrets close to their chests, much is left unrevealed. While many novels have tackled the subject of suburban secrets and unease, this one excels in particular at exploring the bonds among families. Agent: Duvall Osteen, Aragi Inc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 02/06/2018
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4555-4189-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4555-4190-4
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