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Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger. Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents b Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger. Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world. Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block. Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely community college professor repressing her own dark past—welcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon. As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood. A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.


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Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger. Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents b Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger. Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world. Arlo Wilde, a gruff has-been rock star who’s got nothing to show for his fame but track marks, is always two steps behind the other dads. His wife, beautiful ex-pageant queen Gertie, feels socially ostracized and adrift. Spunky preteen Julie curses like a sailor and her kid brother Larry is called “Robot Boy” by the kids on the block. Their next-door neighbor and Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely community college professor repressing her own dark past—welcomes Gertie and family into the fold. Then, during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, the new best friends share too much, too soon. As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes that spins out of control. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood. A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

30 review for Good Neighbors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review also posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Absolutely Unreal. Affecting, Enthralling, Tragic, Traumatic. In a quiet picturesque community on Long Island, new residents from Brooklyn move in. As soon as they arrive, it’s immediately clear to the current residents of ‘Maple Street’ that the Wilde’s simply don’t fit in. Gertie is a former Pageant Queen and her husband Arlo, is a has-been Rock Star and a former junkie. Sadly, their kids, Julia and Larry aren’t exactly ‘M Review also posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Absolutely Unreal. Affecting, Enthralling, Tragic, Traumatic. In a quiet picturesque community on Long Island, new residents from Brooklyn move in. As soon as they arrive, it’s immediately clear to the current residents of ‘Maple Street’ that the Wilde’s simply don’t fit in. Gertie is a former Pageant Queen and her husband Arlo, is a has-been Rock Star and a former junkie. Sadly, their kids, Julia and Larry aren’t exactly ‘Maple Street’ material either. The neighborhood is ruled by Rhea Schroeder, a master manipulator, who is adored by everyone and just happens to be the Wilde’s next-door neighbor. At first, Rhea appears to be their friend, little does Gertie know, however, that Rhea is not who she seems. Shortly thereafter, she turns on her new friends. Unfortunately for the Wildes, Rhea is a very persuasive woman and she convinces everyone in the neighborhood to turn against them as well. While this is happening, an unfortunate incident occurs in the community. A sinkhole opens up and it swallows one of its residents. Once that happens, things go from bad to worse. Thereafter the Wildes are brutalized and victimized by everyone in the neighborhood all because of Rhea Schroeder, one woman who wields all of the power. A tale that takes place in the future and for which a reporter interviews the residents of Maple Street after the fact. Upon being interviewed, the residents questioned what was true and what was not. Trying to sum up how I felt after reading “Good Neighbors” by Sarah Langan is virtually impossible. Frankly, at first, I was stunned and I had no words. I read this with my book buddy Kaceey and we found it to be wholly original. Wild and crazy, it had some quite interesting, and funny passages. Then this novel started to take a darker turn, which was unexpected, and then it became something else entirely. Something wholly astounding, devastating, and heartbreaking. To say that it broke me doesn’t quite cover it. Even though this book wrecked me, I must say that this is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. In my opinion, this entire novel represents a much bigger picture. An allegory if you will. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t read it but what I will say is that it took me an entire day to come to that conclusion and when it struck me, I was dumbfounded. If this book is not on your TBR, it should be. It is an incredible story and it is a MUST READ. Sarah Langan, I applaud you for this brilliant novel and cannot wait to see what you come up with next. This is my first 5-star read of 2021 and it is also the first book that will appear on my Goodreads best-of list for 2021 as well. As I mentioned, this was a buddy read with Kaceey - I’m so glad we shared this read together, I’m not sure I could have read this one alone. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books and Sarah Langan for the arc. Published on Goodreads and Twitter on 1.17.21. Excerpt posted on Insta.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! GOOD NEIGHBORS is like a dark and disturbing game of telephone that goes wrong...very wrong. Maple Street is the perfect street in a suburb of Long Island. Imagine white picket fences and a community feel, streetwide barbecues, neighbors who are all friends and know everything about each other. The children in the neighborhood (The Rat Pack) are all close and spend their summer days hanging out together. Rhea Schroeder is the ringleader of the street’s inhabitants. When her HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! GOOD NEIGHBORS is like a dark and disturbing game of telephone that goes wrong...very wrong. Maple Street is the perfect street in a suburb of Long Island. Imagine white picket fences and a community feel, streetwide barbecues, neighbors who are all friends and know everything about each other. The children in the neighborhood (The Rat Pack) are all close and spend their summer days hanging out together. Rhea Schroeder is the ringleader of the street’s inhabitants. When her new next door neighbors, the Wilde family move in, she is initially put off by the new additions to Maple Street. Gertie Wilde is a beautiful woman, but has a “different” accent and wears revealing clothing and lots of jewelry. Her husband, Arlo, is a former rock star who is loud and has old track marks on his body. They have moved with their children, Julia and Larry, to have a better life for the kids. Rhea reluctantly accepts the Wilde family, and allows Gertie into her inner circle. However, things quickly change when Rhea doesn’t like the reaction she gets to something personal she has shared with Gertie. Tensions rise as a sinkhole opens up in a neighborhood park, and Rhea’s young daughter falls into it. Shocking accusations start to fly and loyalties are questioned. Maple Street turns into a shockingly ugly suburban street...one that may now be dangerous. The first word I thought of when I finished this: WOW! It’s an intense work of fiction with complex characters, secrets galore, and simmering suspense that will ultimately lead to blood. It’s satirical and vicious, and I was shocked to see some adults behaving the way they did in this book. It paints a very real picture of mob mentality in a number of scenes. It can be uncomfortable at times (and even very darkly humorous here and there), but this is one book that gripped me from the very first page to the very last sentence. This one will stay with me for awhile. Note: This book takes place in the near future (2027), but I’m honestly not sure why. It doesn’t feel like a futuristic novel. Just thought I’d throw that last thought out there. 4.5 stars. I read a physical ARC of this book. It is set to be published 2/2/2021. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    Well, I cannot say that I enjoyed this one...but I did find it DISTURBING! VERY DISTURBING. Because this seems to be where our WORLD is headed. Welcome to Long Island, NY in the not too distant future (2027) Climate change has been ignored and our resources have been strained. It’s been 120 degrees for twenty days straight, maybe not unimaginable in Phoenix, AZ but definitely not the norm for this area. We still cannot get along with neighbors who : LOOK different from us DRESS different from us or Well, I cannot say that I enjoyed this one...but I did find it DISTURBING! VERY DISTURBING. Because this seems to be where our WORLD is headed. Welcome to Long Island, NY in the not too distant future (2027) Climate change has been ignored and our resources have been strained. It’s been 120 degrees for twenty days straight, maybe not unimaginable in Phoenix, AZ but definitely not the norm for this area. We still cannot get along with neighbors who : LOOK different from us DRESS different from us or SOUND different from us (accent) The Schroeder’s have planned a July 4th BBQ and have excluded their nearest neighbors, the Wildes for this reason, but the Wildes have dared to show up anyway, assuming there has been an oversight. Then, the SINKHOLE occurs, the THIRD in as many years,. Shelly Schroeder FALLS IN, and her mother, Rhea, blames Arlo Wilde. The anger escalates, and MOB MENTALITY sets it-striking without evidence. DARE to defend those attacked and the wrath turns on you. Maple Street has become TOXIC in more ways than one. The Wildes cannot call for HELP, as the sinkhole has caused spotty internet and cell phone service. They and their children are not even safe in their own home. THIS is the story of what transpired that summer. Reflected upon from the year 2043, using newspaper clippings, book excerpts and diagrams. THIS is also a CAUTIONARY tale about the VIOLENCE that can be a direct result of rumors, untruths, misunderstanding, intolerance and social hierarchy. I think it struck a chord in me. It hit “too close to home” after recent events. If we don’t LEARN how to coexist SOON-this WILL BE what 2027 looks like.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debra (having surgery will be off for a few days)

    " A good neighbor is a priceless treasure." - Chinese Proverb Maple Street, it looks like a lovely place to live. A place to start over. A place to give your children a safe place to play and make friends. A place with a good community. A place to call home. Just beware...Maple Street is not Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. No, it is Rhea Schroeder's Neighborhood. She is the queen B. You will not have to wonder for long what the "B" stands for. Arlo and Gertie Wilde move to Maple street with their tw " A good neighbor is a priceless treasure." - Chinese Proverb Maple Street, it looks like a lovely place to live. A place to start over. A place to give your children a safe place to play and make friends. A place with a good community. A place to call home. Just beware...Maple Street is not Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. No, it is Rhea Schroeder's Neighborhood. She is the queen B. You will not have to wonder for long what the "B" stands for. Arlo and Gertie Wilde move to Maple street with their two children, Julia and Larry. Arlo is an ex-rock musician and Gertie is an ex-beauty pageant queen. They are not exactly Maple Street material. He has tattoos, she has cleavage. Some would call this sexy; some may say it is trashy, some might have a stick up their nether regions. Either way, they stand out on Maple Street. Julia becomes fast friends with their neighbor Shelly while Larry is called "Robot Boy" by the kids on the block. Gertie feels accepted when Rhea is nice to her. Perhaps, they will be the best of friends. Perhaps... Soon things take a turn as things often do - unfortunately, they do not take a turn for the better. Tensions rise and are made worse when a sink hole opens nearby. First a dog falls in and then, Shelly, Rhea's daughter falls in as well. Unfortunately, things only go from bad to worse. Wowza! Did you see THAT. coming? The book is good from the very beginning and only gets better as the plot unfolds. Much, much better! I could almost hear the conductor calling "All Aboard" as I rode this crazy train of a book to the very end. Talk about addictive, shocking and riveting!!! Seriously, if this book is not on your radar it needs to be! Human nature is a funny thing. This book deals with many issues. I would name them all, but I fell I would be giving away parts of the book. But one thing I will say that it shows how a group of people can be swayed by their peers, how group mentality is emotional and not rational. Another plus, this is not like other books I have read before. Be prepared to leave the world behind as you fall into this page turner. The plot is original, unsettling, shocking, touches on good vs. evil, and mob mentality. I loved the tension in this book. It was like witnessing an accident about to happen but not being able to stop it. I kept wondering "can things get any worse?" Unfortunately, they can, and they do! As I mentioned, this book is full of tension, suspense, and oozing with darkness as the murk and bitumen (btw, am I the only one who had to look that word up?) oozed from the sinkhole. Plus, eew who wants to put that on your face? Gag! Plus, there is a character named Peter Benchley. I immediately wondered if this was a nod to Jaws author Peter Benchley, or if it was a coincidence? Either way, I enjoyed his character. Brilliant, thought provoking, intense, riveting and oozing with tension. Good Neighbors will suck you in (be careful of the bitumen), spit you out, and utterly dazzle you with its originality, darkness, and feeling of dread. This book is set in the future but also felt that it could be set in present day until the very end. I wished I had more explanation on was the sinkhole itself, its origin, etc. but I easily overlooked my own questions as the events in this book progressed and people began to escalate. You may also come to appreciate your own neighbors as well after reading this book. In case I have not been clear in my review, I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling book! Highly recommend. Do not miss this one! I look forward to more books by Sarah Langan! I received a copy of this book from Atria Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    All the stars🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟 I’m speechless. What did I just read?! You know how occasionally you pick up a book firmly believing you know exactly what you’re in for? That’s precisely what yours truly did. Okay sure, another book about feuding neighbors. Yes, we did have that...but paired superbly with so much more, providing shocking, revolting views of mankind in uncertain times. The author takes us on a frightful journey into our world, exposing us to a side of humanity at its worst. While this is fictio All the stars🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟 I’m speechless. What did I just read?! You know how occasionally you pick up a book firmly believing you know exactly what you’re in for? That’s precisely what yours truly did. Okay sure, another book about feuding neighbors. Yes, we did have that...but paired superbly with so much more, providing shocking, revolting views of mankind in uncertain times. The author takes us on a frightful journey into our world, exposing us to a side of humanity at its worst. While this is fiction, so much of it rang true given the world in its current crisis, and the shameful things we’re doing to each other along the way. So…to be clear: This isn’t JUST about one long hot summer in Long Island. This isn’t JUST about a sinkhole that opens up in the park down the street. This isn’t JUST about a new family not fitting into the new neighborhood. This IS about human nature and how ugly that can be at times. The behaviors were horrifying. I was aghast! How could this happen in real life. Yet all we have to do today is turn on the news and witness first-hand that this is indeed happening in our very own world gone sideways. Not every reader is going to come away with similar views and opinions. This is going to be one of those books you either love or hate. And folks guess what? It’s okay to disagree!! Personally I HATED the depraved behavior of the characters, but LOVED the book and the message it conveyed. A buddy read with Susanne that lent itself to some incredible discussions. Posted to : https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to Atria Books via NetGalley for an Arc to read and review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    Again I find myself with another unpopular opinion that I am now trying to control. It hits the mark for an exciting unique entertainingly absurd and over-the-top well written POPULAR fiction page turner but misses the mark on any profound themes it might of tried manipulating readers into thinking might exist in this story. This is not the fault of the author. Sarah Langan did a good job of writing a thriller I just didn't like the idea of any profound themes taken from it and that affected how Again I find myself with another unpopular opinion that I am now trying to control. It hits the mark for an exciting unique entertainingly absurd and over-the-top well written POPULAR fiction page turner but misses the mark on any profound themes it might of tried manipulating readers into thinking might exist in this story. This is not the fault of the author. Sarah Langan did a good job of writing a thriller I just didn't like the idea of any profound themes taken from it and that affected how I felt about this one. It was not for this over thinker and again one that fell victim to my overthinking it. I really need to be more careful with the ARCs I request and download.

  7. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars** Welcome to Maple Street. A picturesque, cookie-cutter suburban street on Long Island, where all the kids play together and everyone knows each other's business; good and bad. The Wilde family is new to Maple Street and it's clear from the start that they don't quite fit in. Arlo, the man of the house, is a has-been rocker who, gasp, has tattoos. His wife, Gertie, is an ex-beauty queen, who dresses trashy and speaks with an accent. As sweet as she is, anyone can see she's a hot mess. The **4.5-stars** Welcome to Maple Street. A picturesque, cookie-cutter suburban street on Long Island, where all the kids play together and everyone knows each other's business; good and bad. The Wilde family is new to Maple Street and it's clear from the start that they don't quite fit in. Arlo, the man of the house, is a has-been rocker who, gasp, has tattoos. His wife, Gertie, is an ex-beauty queen, who dresses trashy and speaks with an accent. As sweet as she is, anyone can see she's a hot mess. Then there's the kids. Julie, the preteen daughter, stole a pack a cigarettes when they first got to the neighborhood and showed the other children how to smoke. The little boy, Larry, carries a doll! When the Queen Bee of Maple Street, Rhea Schroeder, seems to take Gertie under her wing, the rest of the neighbors chill a bit. If the Wildes are good enough for Rhea, they must be good enough for them. Seemingly out of nowhere, however, Rhea begins to snub Gertie and her family. The main confrontation occurs at a block party and during this very party, a sinkhole opens up in the neighborhood park, sending residents scurrying to the safety of their respective homes. It's utter chaos. The tension continues to mount on the street in the days that follow. Rhea's daughter, Shelly, who has been told not to talk to Julie Wilde any longer, defies her Mom and confesses a dark secret to Julie. This dramatic conversation ends with Shelly falling into the sinkhole. Lost to its dark depths. Some crazy accusations are thrown around after this event and the target is, unsurprisingly, Arlo Wilde. Thus creating a boogie man to focus their anger and fear at. The infamous other. Reading Good Neighbors was like peeling back the layers of a very quirky onion. I was so impressed with this! The Wilde family, by moving to Maple Street, were hoping to provide potential upward mobility for their children. They had the best of intentions and although not perfect, were good people doing their best. The reaction of the neighbors to them was absolutely fascinating and in a depressing way, 100% realistic. Langan incorporated a lot of mixed media aspects into the telling of this story, which I loved! I always think that is a fun way to add energy into a storyline. It is set in the not too distant future and the sinkhole, as well as a few other details, were clearly caused by climate issues. I liked how that was a backdrop, but none of the characters acknowledged it. So, like I said, real. I also really enjoyed the group of kids in the neighborhood, coined the rat pack. Sure, they weren't perfect. There were some real assholes in the bunch, but when things were at rock bottom, they were the ones that banded together, showed some courage and solved a problem. All while their parents hid behind their closed doors and gossip channels. Additionally, I really enjoyed the unconventional narrative style. It felt like a season of Desperate Houswives if it were directed by Wes Anderson; and yes, at least one of the Wilson brothers would have been in it. Thank you so much to the publisher, Atria Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I really enjoyed my time with it. It's actually one of those books, that the longer I sit with it, the more I appreciate it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I 👏🏼 loved 👏🏼 this 👏🏼 book 👏🏼 Wow, not sure what to say about this one, there are literally so many things I can say, that there is too much! I started and finished January with two monumental, phenominal reads. Good Neighbors was dark and twisted but at the same time, so normal.. A horror, a commentary? When I was young, we used to colour brightly on a paper and then cover it in black crayon and scratch it off drawing designs that showed the colour underneath. This book is that and also that in I 👏🏼 loved 👏🏼 this 👏🏼 book 👏🏼 Wow, not sure what to say about this one, there are literally so many things I can say, that there is too much! I started and finished January with two monumental, phenominal reads. Good Neighbors was dark and twisted but at the same time, so normal.. A horror, a commentary? When I was young, we used to colour brightly on a paper and then cover it in black crayon and scratch it off drawing designs that showed the colour underneath. This book is that and also that in reverse.. I am full of feelings and thoughts and worries. I recently read ‘Leave the World Behind’ and did not enjoy it, Good Neighbors is everything I had wanted that book to be. I wont say too much about the plot because I found it so much different than the blurb that I wished I hadn’t read it. I was expecting “The Osbournes” satirically done and instead got a masterpiece of unsettling literary fiction that, sadly, is a terrifying commentary on our times today, both socially and environmentally. Set in the terrifyingly not so distant future, the world has changed ever so slightly but enough to add imbalance and stress to an already strained existence. Here we come? I think herein was something that scared me the most, 6 years from now is soon, this all looks like life now, but in this near future we’ve not headed in a better direction, is that enough time to save anything from going wrong, is anything reversible?? Maple Street is idyllic, with self appointed Queen Bee, Rhea, setting the tone that all of the neighbours follow. The aptly names Wilde Family has moved in and although Rhea embraced them initially, she seems to have changed her mind and none of them seem to ‘fit’. What follows is so masterfully written and set out, I finished it in a day. As the street is taking sides and changing polarities, a sink hole opens up in the park and it seems to eerily mirror life. This novel prompted so many discussions in my house, this would be such an incredible book club read! What I loved (other than just everything, my top three let’s say): #1 - The murk. You’ll know when you read, but it is so representative, this sticky darkness, is it human, does it control us or do we control it? Can we encourage it, tame it? Is it it’s own entity or is it us? Also on a much simpler parallel, are we putting such an impact environmentally on our planet that we are creating blackness. #2 - Another book on mothers struggling to mother 🙌🏻 this is not your mother’s idea of the struggling housewife, this is soo much darker, and TW here. #3 - the CHILDREN Thank-you Sarah Langan, this is how I want to read about younger characters. They were so real and so fully formed and creative, this didn’t feel like YA seeped in. I feel like Stephen King used to get close to incorporating children well but things tended to get a bit creepily sexual, this was fantastic. Are the children our future? Insert Whitney Houston singing and think of her next line.. TREAT THEM WELL #4 (I know but I couldn’t resist another one..) These people aren't nice, but they are people, just people and I loved that, each one was so different but how they chose to act/react was fascinating to me to watch. The children and the adults alike. Group mentality, the conscious decision people make to act with the majority, afraid to be one who thinks something different, even swinging their group thoughts to whatever they think will be least criticized. Making decisions based on a perceived reaction of the world vs a morality. Also what if your morality is shaped by your own upbringing and your past, are your reactions valid? Being an individual only behind closed doors. Propping someone else up to do your dirty work.. Ugh, I have to stop because I could talk about this one forever. #5 (I know, I know...) the concept of the panopticon in present day.. have we swung to the opposite, is the mass watching the one or is the one watching the mass, who is the bad, who is the good? Do we self police our behaviours based on a watcher not knowing when they are watching or have we turned on the watcher? Ahhhh can you tell I loved it??? This is a top read of the year for me and blew any expectations I had out of the water. if you can handle the creepy modern day horror (love this new genre, think Twilight Zone back in the day), with some violence and triggering subjects, this is a +++ MUST READ!! Sadly this book can be applied to so many things in our society and you need to ask yourself if these are Good Neighbors, and if not, who is? 🏘 **Huge thank-you to Simon and Schuster Canada, NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy of this phenomenal book which publishes February 2nd** and thank-you to Sarah Langan for writing it and to whoever designed the cover 💙

  9. 5 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!! i was offered an arc of this back in october, and i said “yes, please!” because celeste ng meets shirley jackson is my sweet spot. however, i only read horror in october so i mentioned that it might be a while before i got to it, and i was told: “Well, Sarah IS a horror author though this isn’t necessarily horror. It has subtle hints of horror. Could be appropriate for October. But you have until Feb when the book comes out so no need to rush! Enjoy!” because it was a digital arc NOW AVAILABLE!!!! i was offered an arc of this back in october, and i said “yes, please!” because celeste ng meets shirley jackson is my sweet spot. however, i only read horror in october so i mentioned that it might be a while before i got to it, and i was told: “Well, Sarah IS a horror author though this isn’t necessarily horror. It has subtle hints of horror. Could be appropriate for October. But you have until Feb when the book comes out so no need to rush! Enjoy!” because it was a digital arc and wasn’t staring me in the face every day like the daunting stack of physical arcs, i did NOT rush, and i put off reading this until the week before pub date, which i realized about a quarter of the way through was a huge mistake on my part, first because it’s great, but also because it is horror, kind of—it’s that slippery, insidious, everyday horror—the horror of misunderstandings, gossip, of what goes on behind closed doors and how quickly rumors can spin out of control. plus, there’s one scene in particular that is proper horror and jesus christ, that image will never leave my brain. the comps are all perfect: Little Fires Everywhere, The Crucible, shirley jackson, and even though it’s not a true match, it did make me want to reread Wake. set in 2027 in a bougie long island neighborhood, the novel employs a framing device by offsetting the main narrative with true crime news articles and interviews with neighbors looking back fifteen years later at the events of this summer—the summer The Maple Street Murders claimed the lives of an entire family. weeee get to see what “really” set the murdery ball rolling, with full access to the thoughts, motivations, and perceptions of some of its key participants, but we also learn how history has interpreted the events, having fewer of the facts to work with, and—perhaps most alarmingly—how unswerving many of those who contributed to the situation are in their belief that they did nothing wrong all those years ago. the conflict involves the members of two families: community college professor rhea schroeder, who, with her four perfect children and her frequently-absent husband, is the potluck and block party center of the neighborhood everyone wants to please. and then the wildes blow in from brooklyn: former beauty pageant queen gertie; pregnant, conflict-averse, with cleavage for days, former rocker/former addict arlo; tattooed and temperamental, 12-year-old brooklyn tough julia, and larry, a.k.a. robot boy, whose response to stress is to stick his hands down his pants. The Wildes knew that they’d been breaking tacit rules ever since arriving on Maple Street. But they didn’t know which rules. For instance, Arlo was a former rocker who smoked late-night Parliaments off his front porch. He didn’t know that in the suburbs, you only smoke in your backyard, especially if you have tattoos and no childhood friends to vouch for you. Otherwise, you look angry, puffing all alone and on display. You vibe violent. although they don’t fit in with the rest of their eileen-fisher-wearing neighbors, julia befriends rhea’s 13-year-old daughter shelly and is adopted into the passel of neighborhood kids—known collectively as the rat pack—as they run wild through the streets under the collective benevolent gaze of the adults. subsequently, rhea and gertie form their own close friendship, until a seemingly innocuous act by gertie sets off a chain reaction that festers into a violent conclusion. when a massive sinkhole opens up in the ground, and shelly falls in, it is the crucible (if i may) that rhea, still pissed at gertie’s gaffe, uses as an excuse to isolate the wildes from the rest of the neighbors, blaming them for shelly’s accident, using her position in the community to spin and nurture a web of gossip that escalates into violence in the most deliciously soap-opera-y way. this is a perfect excoriation of suburban social politics; the drive to keep up appearances, the judgment and favor-currying ingratiation, the social panic and the very worst way to extract testimony from children. it also slowly peels back the perfect-family facade to show that under every smooth, stable surface, there’s a sinkhole waiting to happen. like a sinkhole, i fell into this one immediately, and i’m only sorry i waited so long to take the plunge. it's dark and funny and page-turnery and that SCENE still haunts me. come to my blog!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    "[Mob Mentality] explains how one's point of view can be easily altered by those around them...professing beliefs and acting out in ways which [one] would never otherwise [have] done or considered independently...It feels natural-and even pleasurable- to pass along gossip and counterintuitive to stop it". Think of storming the Sheriff's Office in the Old West. An uncontrolled, wild crowd with an appetite for vigilante justice. The Wilde family had moved to a fixer-upper house in Garden City a Lon "[Mob Mentality] explains how one's point of view can be easily altered by those around them...professing beliefs and acting out in ways which [one] would never otherwise [have] done or considered independently...It feels natural-and even pleasurable- to pass along gossip and counterintuitive to stop it". Think of storming the Sheriff's Office in the Old West. An uncontrolled, wild crowd with an appetite for vigilante justice. The Wilde family had moved to a fixer-upper house in Garden City a Long Island suburb. Seventy two residents lived on crescent shaped Maple Street, a block bordering six acre Sterling Park. The Wilde's were out of their league. "[They] knew that they'd been breaking tacit rules ever since arriving on Maple Street". You only smoked in your backyard. No one told Gertie that "mom cleavage isn't cool". The upscale middle class neighborhood was all about the children, their sports and other extracurricular activities and the parental obsession with college. "Queen Bee" Rhea Schroeder's "word was treated like gospel". Rhea was the perfect suburban mother and wife. She volunteered at her kids school, initiated block parties and befriended every new neighbor on Maple Street including Gertie Wilde. Rhea and Gertie became fast friends, each let her guard down...took a risk...told her innermost secrets. "[Rhea had] shown her true self and Gertie wanted no part of it. Retaliation was necessary". Rhea no longer allowed her thirteen year old daughter Shelly to be friends with twelve year old Julia Wilde. A smear campaign ensued. "It was fun to pretend to be a nice person and be my best friend and now it's fun to act horrible...Is it true that [The Rat Pack] took a vote not to hang out with me anymore", asks Julia. The July 4, 2027 party at Sterling Park was in full blast when the Wilde's, excluded from the celebration, showed up nevertheless. "The vibe in Sterling Park was not hostile but something had changed since the last barbeque...because the vibe was not welcoming either". Suddenly the earth rocked...the picnic table shook...this was the third Long Island Sinkhole in as many years. When Rhea's daughter Shelly fell into the giant sinkhole, shocking accusations against the Wilde's spiraled out of control. "One mom's word against the others in a court of public opinion...a careless word can wreck havoc...the wreckage of a neighborhood...a crack in the veneer of civility among neighbors. Interspersed within this novel about shocking events in the summer of 2027 on Maple Street are newspaper and magazine articles written in 2043, articles about the historic "Maple Street Murders". Fifteen years later, these retrospective glimpses are an attempt to "adequately resolve the mystery...how an upstanding community could conspire toward murder of an entire family...". "The Good Neighbors" by Sarah Langan is a taut, twisting, compulsive thriller. All of the major and minor players, both children and adults, are well fleshed out. This dark read begs the question, how could vicious gossip and mob mentality overtake seemingly intelligent people? There is much to ponder. A highly recommended tome. Thank you Atria Books and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    Suburban gossip gone way, way wrong. The writing in Good Neighbors was very well done. Having said that, the only thing that kept me reading this story was the beautifully done foreshadowing. Sarah Langan interspersed these amazing articles and interviews throughout the story, which constantly alluded to the historic "Maple Street Murders." I had to know how it ended; who died...and how. Without those juicy little glimpses into the future, I'm not sure I would have rated this book nearly as Suburban gossip gone way, way wrong. The writing in Good Neighbors was very well done. Having said that, the only thing that kept me reading this story was the beautifully done foreshadowing. Sarah Langan interspersed these amazing articles and interviews throughout the story, which constantly alluded to the historic "Maple Street Murders." I had to know how it ended; who died...and how. Without those juicy little glimpses into the future, I'm not sure I would have rated this book nearly as well. Never, in the thirty-seven years I've been reading, have I come across such lying, deluded, disgusting, and totally self-absorbed characters. They were nothing but a bunch of gossiping, brainless sheep...and they nearly ruined the book for me. I don't mind unlikeable characters, but this was overload. Add to that a horrifying dog death in the first few pages, and I was ready to step away. The sinkhole thread, to me, was unnecessary. It added nothing and bogged down the story. The conclusion was, unfortunately, very depressing. Regardless, I do think this is going to be a very popular 2021 book, and I can see from the reviews it has so far, that I'm in the minority on this one. So, if the synopsis appeals to you, definitely give it a chance. For me, I would definitely be willing to read more from this author, but this particular story wasn't a favorite. 3.5 stars Available April 7, 2021 My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for my review copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Holy Shit! This was disturbing as fuck! And I thought I've had some bad neighbors. Oooh, boy, was I wrong. This book features one of the most terrifying characters I have ever come across. *shivers* ( the entire lot of them were downright awful but one stands out more than the rest) I feel like I am covered in the murk and only a bathing in bleach can clean this horrible story out of my brain. So, obviously I loved it. 4 stars! 😉 Holy Shit! This was disturbing as fuck! And I thought I've had some bad neighbors. Oooh, boy, was I wrong. This book features one of the most terrifying characters I have ever come across. *shivers* ( the entire lot of them were downright awful but one stands out more than the rest) I feel like I am covered in the murk and only a bathing in bleach can clean this horrible story out of my brain. So, obviously I loved it. 4 stars! 😉

  13. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    If I tell you that author, Sarah Langan is a three time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, you’ll immediately understand something about the tone of her newest novel, ‘Good Neighbors.’ It’s ominous as in immensely suspenseful, guillotine dreading, anxiety-provoking ominous. I wouldn’t classify it as horror, but perhaps some might. As far as labels go, edgy domestic thriller gets my vote. Writing horror is probably Langan’s edge because there were elements that made me feel like I’d been chewed on If I tell you that author, Sarah Langan is a three time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, you’ll immediately understand something about the tone of her newest novel, ‘Good Neighbors.’ It’s ominous as in immensely suspenseful, guillotine dreading, anxiety-provoking ominous. I wouldn’t classify it as horror, but perhaps some might. As far as labels go, edgy domestic thriller gets my vote. Writing horror is probably Langan’s edge because there were elements that made me feel like I’d been chewed on by a mad dog. It’s not a restful or peaceful book, but there were many things about it that resonated with me. The story starts on July 4, 2027, and it’s hot. Gertie and Arlo Wildes with their two children, Julia (12) and Larry (8) have moved into a classy neighborhood on Maple Street in Long Island. They don’t fit in. Gertie is a beauty pageant winner who now works in real estate and Arlo is a tattooed has-been rocker who had a few minutes of fame and now works as a salesman. Julia and Larry are rough and crude, without manners, and pretty much say what’s on their minds. All the neighbors agree that Rhea Schroeder’s friendship with Gertie is what encouraged them to open their hearts and minds to Gertie and Arlo. Rhea is smooth sophistication and her four children are all on the ‘right’ path. Gretchen is already away at college and FJ (19) will soon be going to Hofstra University. Dark-haired Shelly (13) has become good friends with Julia, and the youngest, Ella (9) is Rhea’s “mini-me.” Rhea’s husband, Fritz, is the invisible father and husband, always away from home for his work. Rhea, a college professor, embraced Gertie as a friend, until….. This is a story about gossip and how that led to opinions and more rampant gossip and how the gang of children in the neighborhood, aka ‘The Rat Pack’ became involved in the escalation of gossip. It’s about bullies. It’s also about how badly adults, as well as children, want/need social acceptance. Gossiping builds stronger social bonds than saying positive things. When you share negative gossip with someone you’re showing that you trust that person. It’s like throwing a net or weaving a web. It draws people in and it’s hard to resist. One of the moral lessons that can be taken away from this story is, stay away from people who are spreading negative gossip. You may be next on their list. Is there a fine line between negative gossip and needing to be aware if something bad is happening in my neighborhood? Are there any bad people in my neighborhood? I should know that, right? I enjoyed that Langan created a very realistic world. Climate change is having an impact on society. She mentions throughout the story that it’s hot. The Wildes's air conditioning isn’t working. The children want to play on the Slip N Slide to cool off. Droughts are occurring. Then a sinkhole develops and a child disappears. The sinkhole is a huge metaphor for what’s occurring in the neighborhood, how social niceties are collapsing, a world tumbling in upon itself. Langan mentions the bitumen seeping up through the ground, getting tracked into the houses. The tar-like bitumen is a tell-all, sticking to everyone’s shoes, revealing where they’ve been, and in my mind, representative of the bitter poison that’s erupting. If Langan hadn’t created such sympathetic characters, the suspense wouldn’t be so driven. But she did and it is. Langan inserts newspaper stories and interviews from 2036, 2037, 2043. She uses them to good effect, intensifying suspense. I felt an urgency to find out what was going to happen to Julia. She was my favorite character. A talented author, a read I won’t soon forget.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Hugging my neighbors... Shortest Summary Ever: There’s a group of neighbors on Long Island. A queen bee named Rhea. A giant sink hole. A child falls in. And the neighbors lose their minds. Thoughts: Half way it’s becoming like a what if... what if you were in a world of THE world’s worst neighbors, in a neighborhood that’s literally and figuratively being swallowed by blackness and depravity. At the end I realized it’s almost a warning call of epically deranged proportions to helicopter parents to Hugging my neighbors... Shortest Summary Ever: There’s a group of neighbors on Long Island. A queen bee named Rhea. A giant sink hole. A child falls in. And the neighbors lose their minds. Thoughts: Half way it’s becoming like a what if... what if you were in a world of THE world’s worst neighbors, in a neighborhood that’s literally and figuratively being swallowed by blackness and depravity. At the end I realized it’s almost a warning call of epically deranged proportions to helicopter parents today and how they’re so convinced that everything “out there” is damaging their kids when the truth is they’re the ones who are truly purveyors of destruction . The kids are starting to remind me of characters from Lord of the flies - some of them are just plain cruel and evil while others just want to survive. Then you meet their parents and you understand all about rotten apples falling from evil trees. I’ve had Neighbor problems - some loud music... some annoying peccadillos. I’d like to go back now and hug each of those neighbors and buy them all a beer. Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Recommend to: It’s different and weird - lots of metaphors, a bit more thinking-high-brow than a traditional quick mystery. Not recommended to: if you’re not in the mood for a dark novel Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Atria Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for making my neighbors look like biblical angels.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Whaaaaat the freaking fantastic heck I just finished! Wooow! Stepford Wives meets terrifying version of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood! This is wild! This is extremely unique and absolutely scary! What happens to you when you become the black sheep of your neighborhood? When the hostility arises, the fists get clenched, the nails get sharpen, everyone turns into your enemy, as an outsider what will you do in this fight or flight predicament? The Wilde family reminds you of Bundy family rec Whaaaaat the freaking fantastic heck I just finished! Wooow! Stepford Wives meets terrifying version of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood! This is wild! This is extremely unique and absolutely scary! What happens to you when you become the black sheep of your neighborhood? When the hostility arises, the fists get clenched, the nails get sharpen, everyone turns into your enemy, as an outsider what will you do in this fight or flight predicament? The Wilde family reminds you of Bundy family recently jumps to upper class by changing their location, moving to the Maple Street even though they know deep in their hearts they never fit in this community properly and whether how hard they try they are doomed to remain as the outsiders of the neighborhood! Gertie is pageant beauty queen as her husband Arlo whose body is covered with tattoos, former rock star, junkie and her kids Julia and Larry are way too much awkward for the neighborhoods’ exemplary kids! Rhea Schroeder is the queen of the neighborhood who regulates the relationships between people, manipulates their decision. Don’t fool for her friendly, genuine manners, she’s totally a bully who likes to take advantage of the weaknesses of the people. She reminds of us Wandavision’s Agatha Harkness and we know from the beginning she’s the crazy witch of the town but instead of Wanda, she is the one doing mind controlling in her neighborhood by poisoning them with her biased opinions! She already targeted Wild family and brainwashed her neighbors to turn their backs to them. Poor Wild family are abused, victimized by the pure hatred and the hostility of this people! And when you think things cannot get any crazier, it actually can! A sink hole opens in the neighborhood area: first dogs start to fall into the it followed by people including Rhea’s daughter Shelly! Things get wilder, uglier, totally dirtier! Especially the second half of the book was like jet flight! Too many extremely clever, jaw dropping, shocking moments blow your mind and everything is wrapped up truly satisfying! This is ultra smart, nerve bending, stimulating, soul crushing, genius novel! I went back and forth between four and five stars! Eventually I decided to round up 4.5 to 5 brain cell fryer, whirlwind, terrifying stars because of the intelligence, originality of the manuscript and this foreboding story is too realistic! Is it extreme prediction of 6 years later? Can it really happen? I think I’m afraid of answering this question! Because last one year in quarantine time, I saw how the madness took control of the people and evolved them!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    If I could I would give this book negative stars and I do have my reasons why. For a start, let me preface this review by saying I lived for over thirty years about fifteen minutes from Garden City and drove through it daily on my way to and from home to the school where I taught. It is a beautiful neighborhood, one that is bucolic and strives to do right for its residents and others. So, I am shocked by the heinous treatment this author gave to the town. So, I looked her up and low and behold, I If I could I would give this book negative stars and I do have my reasons why. For a start, let me preface this review by saying I lived for over thirty years about fifteen minutes from Garden City and drove through it daily on my way to and from home to the school where I taught. It is a beautiful neighborhood, one that is bucolic and strives to do right for its residents and others. So, I am shocked by the heinous treatment this author gave to the town. So, I looked her up and low and behold, I found that she grew up on Long Island and went to Garden City High School. Me thinks there might be a "bit" of an agenda there. I witnessed firsthand the town's reaction and immediate reaction when hundreds within the town were killed on 9/11. I drove past the parking lot near the train station daily and saw the many cars whose occupants would never come home again. I think, I might (big might there), have accepted the story a bit, if the author had chosen a made-up town for wasn't this a made-up story, but no, she seemed to relish the idea that the street and the people who resided there were evil to the core and all part and parcel of the town. Is this a wealthy educated town? Well yes, but since when is that a crime? Is it a crime to be successful, to want your children to grow in a safe community? The fact that the author seemed to have this town being eaten up by a giant hole with BITUMEN (I lost count of how many times that word was written) into which a young girl fell and supposedly died was her view of the town being eaten up by WHATEVER! The author seemed to relish the fact that not only the street but the town was crap. I know you can have a bad neighbor or even a few, but overall, I have lived in a number of places and other than partying too hardy or not bringing in their garbage cans, people were good. The bottom line was that this author made everyone bad. How can that be? So, if you can tell I am mad, you guessed right. I am mad at myself for getting mad at this tripe, and also mad that I wasted hours on a book that was putting it nicely a total waste.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Add this one to your reading list for 2021! It's a book that spins a dark, deadly twist on the telephone game, where one person whispers something to the next person and so on down the line, and then the last person says it out loud, and it's changed completely from the start; but it's done in such a satirical (but still serious) way that you can't be help but be drawn in from the beginning. I thought from reading the premise it might be a "Leave the World Behind" type of dystopian setting, as i Add this one to your reading list for 2021! It's a book that spins a dark, deadly twist on the telephone game, where one person whispers something to the next person and so on down the line, and then the last person says it out loud, and it's changed completely from the start; but it's done in such a satirical (but still serious) way that you can't be help but be drawn in from the beginning. I thought from reading the premise it might be a "Leave the World Behind" type of dystopian setting, as it set in the future and the plot centers around an odd sinkhole, but it's really not. It does take a bit of suspension of logic and disbelief, but in the end it is well worth it. The book follows two women and their families in a suburban New York neighborhood called Maple Street. One woman is an ex-pageant queen, Gertie, who is married to a has-been rock star and whose two children are a bit off the charts; the other, Rhea, is a community college professor who fits the perfect suburbia mold in every way - the neighborhood motto was "if Rhea said it, it had to be true." Much-loved Rhea befriends the misfit Gertie and soon the rest of Maple Street begrudgingly accepts Gertie and her family too - until one drunken evening when the two best friends share too much, too soon. The fallout also affects their daughters who are also best friends, and when Rhea's daughter falls into the giant sinkhole in the nearby park where the neighborhood kids are all playing, a shocking accusation against Gertie and her family spins out of control. Gossip told from one person to another in the neighborhood spreads faster than the sinkhole, and it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood. The storyline was both riveting and ruthless. So many times I wanted to scream at all of the "adults" in this book. It is a satirical, cautionary tale of the viciousness of the mob mentality that can so quickly overtake seemingly intelligent people, given the perfect storm of circumstances (a good reminder to us all in this crazy time of politics/virus/race, etc.). I was amazed at how easily Langan delves into the darkness that exists in all of us, and as the saying goes, sets up house there. It was disturbing and uncomfortable, but yet also poignant, funny and engaging. I love when a fiction book makes me self-reflect and ponder my own interactions and awareness of others around me, and this one did that in spades. It was so not the read I was expecting when I picked it up, but it is one I will not soon forget. This was my first Sarah Langan book, and I am already on the hunt for her previous books! 4 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    I liked what Good Neighbors was trying to do but it just didn't quite work for me. The story is set a few years in the future on a street in a Long Island neighborhood, with a focus on two families. The story takes place one extremely hot summer. A sink hole opens up. The tensions between the families escalate. Other families take sides. The children have more sense than their parents. I understand that this was meant to be a reflection of our times -- where we're heading if environmental issues I liked what Good Neighbors was trying to do but it just didn't quite work for me. The story is set a few years in the future on a street in a Long Island neighborhood, with a focus on two families. The story takes place one extremely hot summer. A sink hole opens up. The tensions between the families escalate. Other families take sides. The children have more sense than their parents. I understand that this was meant to be a reflection of our times -- where we're heading if environmental issues are unchallenged and if people remain susceptible to mob influence and misinformation -- but I found it all a bit too much. There were too many issues and the characters and their actions and reactions were too extreme for my tastes. There are lots of positive reviews but this one didn't really work for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3.5 interesting stars I was hoping my review would be easier to write since some time has elapsed since I finished this one. This was an odd but compelling book and I think it is difficult to review. I’ve seen some very negative reviews and lots of 5-star reviews. Set on Long Island, this one is all about neighbors on Maple Street and what happens when someone who doesn’t fit the mold moves in. The Wilde family has an aging rock star husband Arlo, a pregnant beauty queen wife Gertie, and two teen 3.5 interesting stars I was hoping my review would be easier to write since some time has elapsed since I finished this one. This was an odd but compelling book and I think it is difficult to review. I’ve seen some very negative reviews and lots of 5-star reviews. Set on Long Island, this one is all about neighbors on Maple Street and what happens when someone who doesn’t fit the mold moves in. The Wilde family has an aging rock star husband Arlo, a pregnant beauty queen wife Gertie, and two teen children. One hot summer, a giant sinkhole erupts in the park and a slow chaotic string of events ensues. The kids of Maple Street have their hierarchies and the parents do as well. Neighbor Rhea initially befriends Gertie Wilde but then rebuffs her and Gertie feels ostracized. A tragedy occurs at the sinkhole and it’s almost like a mob mentality erupts. There were lots of interesting articles, interviews, and news stories inserted into the narrative and those added to the story for me. It’s hard to tell many more details. Almost a surreal tale, but it all seems too realistic as well. Perhaps a cautionary tale of perceptions, race, social standings, a desire to fit in all wrapped up! A worthwhile read to me, but it did make me uncomfortable!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    I have noticed some discussion of this book being more than your average neighborhood drama – which is true – but for those of you like me who almost didn’t want to read it any more because you were afraid of it becoming some preachy diatribe about global warming when you just were hoping for an escape, allow me to take a moment and assure you . . . . But maybe deeper trash than the banging of the person next door that I usually end up reading. You see, everything was going just fine in the s I have noticed some discussion of this book being more than your average neighborhood drama – which is true – but for those of you like me who almost didn’t want to read it any more because you were afraid of it becoming some preachy diatribe about global warming when you just were hoping for an escape, allow me to take a moment and assure you . . . . But maybe deeper trash than the banging of the person next door that I usually end up reading. You see, everything was going just fine in the summer of 2027 on Maple Street in Long Island . . . . Everyone was buddy buddy (or so they thought) and a block party was getting ready to kick off. And then . . . . Resulting in a horrible accident and a missing child. As tensions (as well as the heat) rise, a once quaint neighborhood becomes something else . . . . With accusations raised and fingers pointed at two different families that culminates in a real shocker of an ending. Please note above when I say this was trash that’s about the highest compliment my nasty self can offer a book. This was a page turner with all sorts of awful skeletons tumbling out of closets. I’m going to go ahead and shelf it with the Lifetime Stabby Stabs books, but please note the reveals in this one might be too dark for some readers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Char

    This fairly hummed with tension for a long while and then the power lines came crashing down and almost all was lost-just like Shelly, down the Maple Street sinkhole. It's a tight knit community in this Long Island neighborhood and at first the Wilde family seemed to fit in. It's a hot, hot summer and time for barbecues and swimming when, out of nowhere, a sinkhole opens nearby. As the hole widens and the bitumen seeps up, somehow the humanity of the residents seeps away. When the teen daughter o This fairly hummed with tension for a long while and then the power lines came crashing down and almost all was lost-just like Shelly, down the Maple Street sinkhole. It's a tight knit community in this Long Island neighborhood and at first the Wilde family seemed to fit in. It's a hot, hot summer and time for barbecues and swimming when, out of nowhere, a sinkhole opens nearby. As the hole widens and the bitumen seeps up, somehow the humanity of the residents seeps away. When the teen daughter of the Schroeder family falls into the sinkhole, the once friendly neighbors lash out in a need to place blame, and why not place it squarely on the Wilde's doorstep? Will Shelly survive her fall? Will the Wildes survive Maple Street? You'll have to read this to find out! There are some themes woven into this narrative - global warming and mob mentality to name a few. That's not to say this is a preachy book, and perhaps this is only my take but, I look around at the news right now and it's about a new president's actions on the environment and a recent insurrection and in that light, I don't find this tale to be all that far out. Is that scary? Yes! Is it meant to be? Maybe so. Does it make you uncomfortable? It should. I felt for these characters...well, most of them, and I was interested to see how the media portrayed them all. There were a fair amount of epistolary sections here-bits quoted from books later written about the incidents on Maple Street, newspaper articles from the time, etc.. From these articles I drew my own conclusions about the biases of the writers of those articles and then I got to thinking about how our news is reported and who is doing the reporting, and how that affects the facts and here we are in the "it's probably just me" section again. I've wandered away from the book itself, sorry about that. I think that GOOD NEIGHBORS has a lot of aspects to it and I find my mind turning it over again and again. I think I'm just going to leave it at what I've written and say that I very much enjoyed this story and obviously, it's given me a lot to think about it and because of that? I highly recommend GOOD NEIGHBORS! *Thanks to Atra Books and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I found this book to be dark, overwrought, and depressing. It's very over the top when it comes to theming: mob mentality, rumor spreading, groupthink, the effect of our past on our present, peer pressure and fitting in by presenting the outward appearance of perfection. Yes, these are themes that in today's world beg to be explored and dissected. This novel, unfortunately, is filled with terrible people doing terrible things to each other, and what could have been an excellent mirror for self-e I found this book to be dark, overwrought, and depressing. It's very over the top when it comes to theming: mob mentality, rumor spreading, groupthink, the effect of our past on our present, peer pressure and fitting in by presenting the outward appearance of perfection. Yes, these are themes that in today's world beg to be explored and dissected. This novel, unfortunately, is filled with terrible people doing terrible things to each other, and what could have been an excellent mirror for self-examination just turned into a muddy mess. Seriously, if I ever see the word bitumen used in a book again it will be too soon. I get it, I get it, I know where the author was going with the use of it. Again, I felt like everything presented here was just overdone and in my face like "See here what I'm trying to show you and prove to you" rather than letting the reader figure it out. The character of Larry was portrayed in such an insensitive and derogatory way (calling him "aspie" and having him constantly fondling himself are just two examples), and since this book is supposedly set in the near future (another odd thing I didn't get the reason for) you'd think that his diagnosis would be more in line with current or progressive thinking rather than from the early 2000s. I did make it to the end because I wanted to know who and what caused the murders referred to at the beginning. I needed someone to root for, someone to come out on top and rise above the mess and come out triumphant. Where there are bits and pieces of redemption, overall it just ends on the same darkly depressing note in which it starts. Unfortunately, this book didn't work for me, but I think that these themes are very important and need to be examined. I just don't think it's going to reach the target audience who needs to look at these things due to the exaggerated caricatures of characters and their bizarre behavior. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    NILTON TEIXEIRA

    I will be honest. I had no expectations about this book. I almost purchased a hardcover because I loved its cover. But besides that, there is nothing good that I can say about it, except the writing. The book started well and I was quite impressed, but once the sinkhole appeared, everything was sucked in. I don’t mind mean characters (even the kids are mean!), but I found the whole story too shallow, too absurd and far from engaging. Although I was not bored, I did not feel entertained. I felt angry I will be honest. I had no expectations about this book. I almost purchased a hardcover because I loved its cover. But besides that, there is nothing good that I can say about it, except the writing. The book started well and I was quite impressed, but once the sinkhole appeared, everything was sucked in. I don’t mind mean characters (even the kids are mean!), but I found the whole story too shallow, too absurd and far from engaging. Although I was not bored, I did not feel entertained. I felt angry. I actually think that I wasted my time. Well, I could go on, but as my dear fellow readers loved this book so much, I will leave it like this. I may be in the minority, so please, don’t feel discouraged.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    4.5 stars Welcome to Maple Street, located in a cookie cutter Long Island suburb, in the not-so-distant future. It appears the residents are living the American dream …until a giant sinkhole opens up, leading to an unspeakable tragedy and shocking allegations. The Wilde family — washed up rock star Arlo with his former beauty queen wife Gertie and their “misfit” children, spunky Julia and awkward Larry, with another on the way — are a little uncomfortable on their new block, uncertain that they fi 4.5 stars Welcome to Maple Street, located in a cookie cutter Long Island suburb, in the not-so-distant future. It appears the residents are living the American dream …until a giant sinkhole opens up, leading to an unspeakable tragedy and shocking allegations. The Wilde family — washed up rock star Arlo with his former beauty queen wife Gertie and their “misfit” children, spunky Julia and awkward Larry, with another on the way — are a little uncomfortable on their new block, uncertain that they fit in. Yet unofficial neighborhood leader Rhea Schroeder welcomes them in to the fold. Rhea and Gertie become close friends, but after too many glasses of wine on the porch one evening, Rhea shares more than she should. As Gertie tries to navigate the aftermath of the conversation, a sinkhole opens up during a block party and life on Maple Street will never be the same. There are secrets waiting to be revealed, accusations to be made in fear, and violence ready to ignite. The “Celeste Ng meets Shirley Jackson” tag for Good Neighbors is surprisingly spot-on. Sarah Langan introduces readers to a large cast of suburbanites and uncovers their darkest secrets and deepest fears while showing us the horror of the everyday. I didn’t want to put this book down as it dived further with every page into motherhood, friendship, trauma, and mob mentality. Good Neighbors is an intense and complex piece of literary noir that I can highly recommend! For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    "They acted like good neighbors, but they weren't." This was a tough read. A story about important and relevant themes such as mob mentality, climate change, and tolerance. The story takes place in the future (begins in 2027), so its purpose is to provide a glimpse into where our society and environment are headed. Through excerpts from future books and newspaper articles, we see how the outcomes of the choices made at present will continue to be carried out into the far future. It's a dark and th "They acted like good neighbors, but they weren't." This was a tough read. A story about important and relevant themes such as mob mentality, climate change, and tolerance. The story takes place in the future (begins in 2027), so its purpose is to provide a glimpse into where our society and environment are headed. Through excerpts from future books and newspaper articles, we see how the outcomes of the choices made at present will continue to be carried out into the far future. It's a dark and thought-provoking book, but at times also tedious and repetitive. I considered giving up on reading it early on. I felt some situations were presented for shock value and others were not developed enough.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    If you enjoyed Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, you'll love Sarah Langan's Good Neighbors . Set in the upcoming future, in affluent NYC suburb Garden City, we have a community of families at war with each other. When a sinkhole appears in the neighborhood and a resident's child falls in, accusations run wild! Words can seriously affect lasting damage. I usually don't enjoy neighborhood dramas, as they tend to provide a slow build up, but this book was really intriguing. Sarah Langan uses If you enjoyed Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, you'll love Sarah Langan's Good Neighbors . Set in the upcoming future, in affluent NYC suburb Garden City, we have a community of families at war with each other. When a sinkhole appears in the neighborhood and a resident's child falls in, accusations run wild! Words can seriously affect lasting damage. I usually don't enjoy neighborhood dramas, as they tend to provide a slow build up, but this book was really intriguing. Sarah Langan uses a variety of tools to set the narrative, whether it be articles, alternating point of views, and varying narration techniques. Fully engaged, I needed to know how the story would end. Good Neighbors is a powerful and dark read in the façade of the family unit. I see big things in 2021 for Sarah Langan.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SheLovesThePages

    •Rating• ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 star I recommend this book! •Review• This was definitely a "what the F did I just read??" kind of book. This book takes place a few decades in the future... although it isn't at all futuristic. The kids maturity level is that of 30 year olds and the parents are just all around awful human beings, and maybe that is what the future will bring...I'll come back to this review in 20 years. With all of that being said, it was a page turner and unputdownable. It was hard to understand the •Rating• ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 star I recommend this book! •Review• This was definitely a "what the F did I just read??" kind of book. This book takes place a few decades in the future... although it isn't at all futuristic. The kids maturity level is that of 30 year olds and the parents are just all around awful human beings, and maybe that is what the future will bring...I'll come back to this review in 20 years. With all of that being said, it was a page turner and unputdownable. It was hard to understand the characters because they weren't just flawed, they were somewhat unbelievable. Maybe that's really how it is and this book is super realistic. I can't decide. Either way, read it. You'll constantly be wondering, "what the F am I reading??"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Now THIS would make an awesome book club discussion! I so wish I could have buddy read this with someone because I had so many wtf moments. The comparison to Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere is spot on ... I definitely felt similar vibes while reading Good Neighbors. This would make a spectacular tv series! The story is set on Maple Street in the suburbs of Long Island, NY. The character list is stacked but the stories main focus is on the tension between the Wilde and Schroeder families. Th Now THIS would make an awesome book club discussion! I so wish I could have buddy read this with someone because I had so many wtf moments. The comparison to Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere is spot on ... I definitely felt similar vibes while reading Good Neighbors. This would make a spectacular tv series! The story is set on Maple Street in the suburbs of Long Island, NY. The character list is stacked but the stories main focus is on the tension between the Wilde and Schroeder families. The events that follow after a sinkhole opens in a nearby park and a child falls inside are intense. Accusations are thrown around and neighbors are divided. These characters were RUTHLESS! Sometimes humanity really does suck ... and the mob mentality was scary. The authors descriptions were so well written. At times I was disturbed and uncomfortable. Huge thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Sarah Langan's : Good Neighbors DNF at 60% A DISSAPOINTING Read, and the First book that I did not finish this year This story is about the residents of Maple Street Neighborhood in Long Island NY Where do I start?, I find it so hard to review a dnf book, so please just bear with me. I'm just going to get straight to the point Good Neighbors was not compelling nor it was the book I expected it to be I didn't like it and did not finish this book because of the following reasons . It was full of Sarah Langan's : Good Neighbors DNF at 60% A DISSAPOINTING Read, and the First book that I did not finish this year This story is about the residents of Maple Street Neighborhood in Long Island NY Where do I start?, I find it so hard to review a dnf book, so please just bear with me. I'm just going to get straight to the point Good Neighbors was not compelling nor it was the book I expected it to be I didn't like it and did not finish this book because of the following reasons . It was full of poorly written nonsense, outrageous neighbourhood dramas involving innocent minors whose characters were badly written and coloured as brats which was totally inappropriate and it killed the whole mood of the story This book had a horrible plotting and an inferior character development. This was dark and disturbing which were the reasons why I bought this book in the first place, but what went wrong was I didn't expect such a boring, dreary, and uninteresting turn of events, unlikable and uncivil rather than interesting characters, unpolished vocabulary, themes are unclear and can be taken differently than its supposed to. Positive themes through negative acts. Those themes can be and already are overshadowed by the vicious and wicked behaviour of the stupid characters . I'm not impressed. Could be better. This book was so confusing. I don't really care about neighborhood dramas, I like minding my own business, keeping myself out of it than to Interfere with someone else's life. Prying has never been and never will be helpful. Chances are I missed a lot by not finishing this book but for now I'm just glad I can properly breathe again and I'm done with their bullshit, atleast for now . For me personally, This book is a bad influence. I'm sorry but I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AT ALL All Opinions are my own and are based on my own experience with the book, I know the author put a lot of work on this one. It just didn't work for me 1.5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    The Wildes vs. Maple Street Good Neighbors is an intense and disturbing futuristic take on the devastating effects of mob mentality. This is not your average Long Island suburb. While Maple Street is full of barbecues, community and friendship, all is not as it seems. When Gertie Wilde, a former beauty pageant queen and her ex-rockstar husband Arlo move to Maple Street, Rhea Schroeder, the block’s leader, is the first to befriend them. While the Wildes feel like outsiders to this “American Dream” The Wildes vs. Maple Street Good Neighbors is an intense and disturbing futuristic take on the devastating effects of mob mentality. This is not your average Long Island suburb. While Maple Street is full of barbecues, community and friendship, all is not as it seems. When Gertie Wilde, a former beauty pageant queen and her ex-rockstar husband Arlo move to Maple Street, Rhea Schroeder, the block’s leader, is the first to befriend them. While the Wildes feel like outsiders to this “American Dream” lifestyle, Rhea welcomes them, and the rest of the neighborhood follows suit. All is well until the day Rhea turns on the Wildes. The result is a domino effect, forcing all neighbors to perpetuate Rhea’s hateful vitriol. Eventually, their spiteful violence proves deadly. Good Neighbors is full of secrets, lies and bullies and captivates the reader with its pulse pounding hysteria. The tension between the Wilde and Schroeder families is palpable and all of the characters are wonderfully flawed. However, while the author attempts to visually diagram the rest of the families on the street to help with characterization, I did have a difficult time keeping track of who the minor players were and to whom they belonged. In terms of execution of the book, the first half reads very slowly with long chapters. As the drama and tension increases, so does the pace in the second half. I found the interspersed news articles halted the momentum of the story by giving away too many key details before they are mentioned and would have preferred to read this information at the end. I also felt that at times the tone is very preachy, especially towards the end. While similarities can be drawn between this book and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” Langan makes it her own by imagining a terrifying dystopian future society. Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to readers of dystopian thrillers. 4/5 stars

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