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A Good Idea

Cover of A Good Idea

A Good Idea

Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?
Fin and Betty's close friendship survived Fin's ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.

Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.

But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty's disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?
Fin and Betty's close friendship survived Fin's ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.

Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.

But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty's disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
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  • From the book CHAPTER ONE.

    I think it started with the seizure. Serena and I talked about it later, and she agreed that if Ann Russo hadn't had an epilep­tic fit during the graduation ceremony, she would have been far less likely to contribute her own outburst to the proceedings. Something about the sight of Ann spasming on the ground, red hair gleaming against the aggressively green, meticulously man­icured grass of the backfield, mouth opening and closing word­lessly like a fish, gave what had been until then an unnoteworthy ceremony—the valedictorian's relentless optimism about the future, the hungover graduates' heads dipping as they nodded off, their mortarboards shielding their eyes from the morning sun—a surreal quality that sent things firmly off the rails.

    The students sitting around Ann called for help. The princi­pal unwisely tried to continue with his speech until he was si­lenced by the crowd—"Shut up, man, we need a doctor"—and an uncomfortable, expectant hush fell over the entire field. In an instant, the pretense to which everyone had been clinging, that there was nothing unusual about this day, this ceremony, vanished, as if Betty herself had found a way to reach down from wherever she was. Take that, motherfuckers. Suddenly we were in a David Lynch movie. Suddenly anything could happen.

    It was a crushingly bright morning, swimming-pool-blue sky and the sun an orange blaze steadily making its way to its zenith. The fog had burned off by nine a.m., and the breeze from the At­lantic carried with it a salty mist that reminded me of the ubiq­uitous lobster rolls of my childhood. Above the stage, a banner congratulating the class of 1998 snapped with the occasional gust.

    I was sitting all the way in the back, behind the families of the graduates, barely able to see the podium where the principal stood, fiddling with his cuff links as he awkwardly waited for Ann to be removed so he could continue with his speech. If Betty had still been alive, I would have taken a seat right in front, next to her parents, ready to whoop my approval when she finally crossed the stage to accept her diploma. But Betty was dead, and instead I was waiting to see if there would be any mention of her at all. I was waiting to see what would happen when her murderer's name was finally called. So maybe the ceremony was already somewhat surreal before Ann Russo collapsed, even if Serena and I were the only ones who noticed. And I didn't even know Serena yet.

    I was wired and anxious; I hadn't slept much the night be­fore, then overcompensated with too much coffee on an empty stomach, and Ann's seizure did something to me, physically, the shock of it flooding my system with a large dose of adrenaline I definitely didn't need. Perspiration dampened the armpits of my T-shirt, and I had to press on my thigh with the heel of my hand to keep my leg from bouncing up and down. The other hand I held over my heart, like I was saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and I was alarmed by how rapidly it was firing inside my chest.

    After the principal was finally able to finish his speech, it was time to start handing out the diplomas. I leaned forward, the hinges of my plastic chair protesting beneath me, thinking that surely when they got to Betty's name in the alphabet they would at least acknowledge her. I held my breath when they got to the Fs—"Brian Farmington, Melissa Ferris . . ."—thinking, Here it comes, here's where they'll stop the ceremony and say something, and when they got to George Flattery I half rose out of my chair, my whole body clenched and expectant—say her...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 12, 2016
    The summer after her senior year of high school in New York City, Finley returns to her Maine hometown certain that the drowning death of her best friend, Betty, was murder. As Fin searches for the truth, she must untangle Betty’s lies; confront the young man, Calder, who confessed to but wasn’t convicted of the killing; and face her own demons and deceptions. Bisexual Finley is a strong and troubled heroine, exploring her own identity through a new relationship with a girl named Serena, their shared link to Betty, and an intense and disastrous pull to longtime friend and lover, Owen, who has started dealing drugs to keep his family afloat. Against this dramatic backdrop, Fin must reconcile how far she’s willing to go to protect the people she loves with the small-town politics that allow Calder and his father, the mayor, to do the same. The result is a powerful look at moral gray areas and the fluidity of forgiveness. Moracho’s (Althea & Oliver) characters are realistically and heartbreakingly flawed, and her fast-paced, windy narrative presents new wrinkles at every turn. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House.

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A Good Idea
Cristina Moracho
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