Good As Gone by Amy Gentry; 2016
Good As Gone was my Book of the Month Club selection for October. Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker is kidnapped at knifepoint from her own bedroom while her younger sister, Jane, watches from her bedroom closet. Sound kind of familiar? Yeah. Anyway, fast forward 8 years and Julie is presumed dead. Until she turns up at the Whitaker’s front door one night, miraculously alive. The Whitaker’s are overjoyed to have Julie back, but then things start to seem a little off: why does she have a wallet with IDs? Is that a tattoo? And Julie’s story about where she’s been for the past eight years doesn’t necessarily add up either. Is it Julie, or is it someone else? And if it’s someone else, why is she pretending to be Julie? And those are just a few of the questions.
Entertainment-wise, Good As Gone was excellent. It was like a really good quality Lifetime movie – ridiculous and kind of unbelievable, but v. exciting and compelling. My biggest disappointment was that I was able to guess the ending pretty easily and early on. I kept hoping that I’d be wrong, and that I would be really blown away by a twist ending. Alas – but, it’s still definitely a worthwhile read.
Another thing: when Julie returned there was hardly anything about how the Whitaker’s actually felt about her being alive after all of this time. They just sort of accepted it and moved on. Seems like a small detail, but I felt that it made for an uneven story. The good part about there being little detail about emotions and all that is that Good As Gone was extremely fast-paced. But what I found most unbelievable about this was that the press wasn’t ALL over Julie coming home and how the police kind of dealt with her return indifferently. The lack of interest from other parties helps keep things mysterious, so I understand why it was done that way.
Absolutely a fun, thrilling, worthwhile read. think Elizabeth Smart crossed with ABC’s “The Family” (RIP).
Also be warned: content can be disturbing.