BOOK CLUB: Not Bad People

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Author: Brandy Scott
ISBN: 9781460756171
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 29 January 2019
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

We seem to have a lot of fabulous debut authors of late and here’s another one. Not Bad People is the debut novel of Brandy Scott, exploring old friendships and the power of secrets.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend their friendships, families and careers.

The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.

They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I look forward to picking this up sometime real soon. In the meantime, thanks to Harper Collins 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Not Bad People and you can read what they thought in the comments below. Please be aware there may be spoilers.

Not Bad People is published by Harper Collins  and is available now where all good books are sold.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Not Bad People

  1. A compelling novel with a similar style to Liane Moriarty, which I just love! It was a book that I wish would never end but madly raced to the end to see how it all worked out! Each of the characters are engaging- I felt every emotion of each person. I could easily follow the sarcastic wit and dry sense of humour in the storyline. This novel is very readable and extremely hard to put down.

  2. Thanks @BeautyandLaceOnline @HarperCollinsAustralia @beautyandlacebooks for ‘Not Bad People.’
    I really enjoyed this book! It’s written from the perspectives of the main characters, which reminded me of how liane moriarty writes. Personally I like this style and learning about each character and the story comes together like a puzzle.
    The characters are all relatable in their own way and it explores their relationships and how they deal with what happens.
    I don’t want to give anything away but I highly recommend reading the book!

  3. This book resolves around three main characters – three thirty something women living in an idealic country town who have been inseparable since childhood. An incident on New Years Eve which they may or may not have contributed to may bring the end to their friendship and even more serious consequences.
    The book was very readable and well written. The characters relatable and likeable for all their complexities.

    The story explores the idea that even when we think we know each other well our perceptions are often based on incomplete information and we see the things we want to.

    I would highly recommend this book.

  4. Not Bad People focusses on the lives of three childhood friends living in a small rural town in Victoria. Aimee is the wife of a local winemaker, homebody, poet and member of many local committees. Her cousin Melinda, one of the most successful women in business in Australia, who is staying true to her roots by remaining in Hensley. And Lou, single mum who is constantly struggling to fit in in a town with old fashioned values, while navigating parenting a rebellious teenager.

    Now in their late 30s, it is New Years Eve and the girls have decided to celebrate and commemorate the occasion by letting off a Chinese lantern each. They write out their wishes for the new year, attach them to the lanterns and release them into the night air. Seemingly only moments later, they see a bright explosion on the distant hillside. The next day they discover the bright flare was a crashing plane, and a father and his son are now laying critically injured in the hospital. But did their lanterns have anything to do with the tragedy? Aimee certainly thinks so, but Melinda is too busy with her company to entertain thoughts of a scandal, and Lou has far more immediate concerns than to ponder about something that might have nothing to do with them.

    I will be honest, I found it difficult to get into this book. From the beginning all I could think was that these women mostly brought their problems on themselves (for starters, who releases naked flames into the sky in the middle of an Australian summer, no matter how low the apparent bushfire risk?!).

    While I was reading I just kept thinking that if they hadn’t kept so many secrets life would be a whole lot easier for them all. The ending came with a nice little twist, but even that I had guessed at along the way. I’m fairly certain I read a book with an identical twist a few years ago.

    For a first book I thought this was a really solid effort, and I am always excited to read books based in Australia, so will definitely give this author another go. Recommended for a holiday book you can pretty easily pick and put down at will.

    Many thanks to Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this book.

  5. I’ve just finished reading Not Bad People by Brandy Scott and I’m a little torn. I found the book quite slow to start with and there were times I was close to putting it down and not picking it up again. I’m glad I persevered though as the ending was quite good.

    The three main characters, each with their own lives and the good and bad that came with them were engaging, less so some of the minor characters.

    I felt that the book tried to quickly to wrap up the loose ends and some of the outcomes could have been explained more and some of the other parts left out to make a story that flowed and engaged a little better.

    All in all I’m glad that I persevered until the end.

  6. Brandy Scott is a radio presenter and a journalist, who has embarked upon a new career as a novelist, releasing her debut contemporary fiction piece Not Bad People. With an open ended title, it got me thinking about the whole concept of what constitutes as being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. Sometimes the lines and moral boundaries are blurred, thanks to the various situations, or binds we find ourselves in. In Not Bad People, three friends from a small Australian town find their lives irrevocably changed one fateful New Year’s Eve.

    Not Bad People is a brand new Harper Collins publication from first time novelist Brandy Scott. I was definitely interested in this novel from the moment I spied the cover and blurb. Endorsed by Nicola Moriarty, I was keen to see how this one would play out. The concept really sparked my interest. It seemed original and a departure from the usual book fare I read. The intrigue factor was high!

    I have never taken part in a lantern ceremony, though the idea does appeal. I liked how Brandy Scott used the lantern release experience on New Year’s Eve as the initial complication to this story and boy is it a whopper! The plane crash that very same night the lanterns went up into the air (along with fireworks) is depicted well. It is a good way to revolve a story around this very different accident and Scott examines the fallout from a range of angles.

    I am defining Not Bad People as a slow burn style life lit novel. This novel contains a set of characters who are the type of protagonists drawn from real life personalities, or have parts that we can see in ourselves. I know there were many situations faced by these thirty-something women that I was able to relate to. I also have the feeling that the teen based issues experienced by the children of the three women in the book will be sure to strike a chord in a few years time, when my own children hit their teens! What a melting pot of complications, problems and tensions!

    Not Bad People is about the journey and the transformation the three main characters make as a direct result of the New Year’s Eve lantern ceremony. Scott examines all facets and responses to this situation. She explores extreme blame, guilt and obsession. She also looks at public persona and identity. I felt the greatest amount of sympathy for Lou, who tries to sweep the situation under the carpet, as she has bigger issues to deal with. Lou is forced to confront issues from her past, that all come to the surface following the plane crash event. Scott seems to cover all bases in this area and she has a good grasp of the human condition.

    Not Bad People proved to be a so-so read for me. There were parts appreciated, such as the well presented small town setting and the politics associated with living in a localised community. I also liked the unusual accident that kick starts the events of the novel. However, I’m not sure I completely connected to the writing style, or the characters. I do know I felt a great deal of sympathy for Lou, but I can’t say I cared greatly for the other two women, or the supporting cast overly well. I also felt Not Bad People was a little too lengthy and frankly I was over the women, as well as their situation by the end! I was able to put this book down a lot more than usual. Not Bad People is a promising debut novel and I am sure this is only the start of more exciting writing to come from Brandy Scott.

    *I wish to thank Beauty & Lace Book Club and the publisher, Harper Collins Books Australia, for a copy of this book.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Not Bad People. This book is great for anyone in their 30’s and 40’s as it gives the perspectives of one woman with no children, one single mother and one married mother of teens. I think I enjoyed the book because in essence it was about these three women’s friendship since high school. It was very relatable and the characters were likeable and realistic. The book had twists and turns, and was well written.
    A great first novel by a new author, and look forward to her next book!

  8. I really enjoyed reading Not Bad People.

    As someone in my late 30s I found that the characters were relatable and interesting. The plot kept me interested and I liked the way the stories of each character and the secrets and incomplete information they kept developed throughout the story.

    Overall a book that was easy to read. I would recommend reading this book!

    Thank you Beauty and Lace Club.

  9. Hi everyone

    This was a great read from start to finish!

    Easily relatable to one or more of the characters if you are anywhere in the range of 30s and 40s, with or without kids, with or without husbands or significant other. The character development was well laid out and it was great to get to know each of the personalities without having to keep track of who was who and who they were with etc. I did feel frustrated by the end of the book as the women just seemed to bring so much of this on themselves and then wonder why its all gone so badly.

    I loved the start of the book and how quickly you get thrown into the situation (no spoilers here) however it did drag on a bit in the middle with the end wrapping up fairly quickly.

    As a debut book, the author should be really happy with their efforts and I look forward to seeing more as this author as they develop their writing style.

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