Goodbye, Good Girl by Renee Blossom

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Kandace lives with her two sisters, Amelia and Coral and her ailing mother. Her father works in another state and sends money to support the family. Kandace feels like the only adult around as her mother struggles with an opioid addiction. There is not enough money for food or to pay bills. One day after work, Kandace notices a strange car, Volvo, black and not from this neighborhood. Someone has been inside her house looking for her father. Her mother suddenly has taken an overdose, and Kandace’s life is upside down.

The narrative is about Kandace Santellan and her journey to find her father whom she believes is a chef or secret operative in LA. He is the glue needed to hold her family together. A PO box address from her convalescing mother will point Kandace in the right direction. Along the way a chance meeting and a quick friend, April presents Kandace with an opportunity to make money to help her complete her journey.

First, the weak points. The first eight chapters set the premise for Kandance to find her father. However, it is a stretch. A freshly overdosed mother suddenly out of the hospital. Two sisters left behind; one turfed to an unfriendly aunt and the other on a perpetual tournament tour. Her boyfriend Kyle attempts to drive her to LA but abandons her in St. Louis. And do we think an 18-year-old has the emotional and physical capacity to can find a CIA operative living in another state? We bearly get a chance to invest in the protagonist with all this supposition.

Next the stronger points. When Kandace is alone, we see her personality shift in a world of exotic dancing. Kandace is making decisions out of desperation and naivety, fitting for a teenager. The offer to be an exotic dancer from April comes perhaps genuinely; a means to an end. April is in college studying for a pharmacy degree, a story not uncommon for young adults trying to pay for an education. The prospect of going to college excites Kandace as she has been working hard towards scholarships and her savings.

The strongest point. The building of the fantasy inside the strip club while being on an adrenaline rush was intoxicating. We see Kandace from all angles, from center stage, table dances, and VIP rooms. She is an instant sensation and becomes addicted to the benefits. However, this shift in the narrative was confounding. While the first eight chapters convinced us of her need to find her father, she has suddenly forgotten. The whole storyline seemed to fade away.

Goodbye, Good Girl is at times entertaining. Seeing how a teenager can be drawn into a fast lifestyle for easy money was on point. The nightclub scenes were rich in ambiance and erotica as you felt like you were a fly on the wall. However, the relationship with April was too fast and seemed skeptical. Kandace, a competitive pole dancer, trying to get scholarships to college moving into a job that cheapens the sport is contradictory. Finally, when she does find her father, the conversation is relentless and pointless. This narrative would be brilliant if the storyline built around homeless teenager drawn into a new lucrative life of an exotic dancer.

The social issue of opioid dependence is the number one crisis in America. It is introduced early in the novel through her mother, but soon in a future chapter Kandance is taking her first Ecstasy pill without any hesitation. Reading this was disturbing, considering the premature deaths occurring as a result of an accidental overdose.

Thank you, NetGalley and Revolve publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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