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Good Neighbors: Book summary and reviews of Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan

Good Neighbors

by Sarah Langan

Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan X
Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan
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  • Published Feb 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A creepy standout for readers who want an extra kick to their suburban dramas." - Booklist (starred review)

"The story itself is entertainingly absurd and over-the-top, but perhaps the most interesting part is the way Langan chooses to tell it...An incredibly dark (and surprisingly fun) page-turner." - Kirkus Reviews

"[I]ncisive...Witty dialogue abounds, and Langan sets up an ambitious structure...This sharp, propulsive novel pulls off a maximalist variation on suburban gossip gone wrong." - Publishers Weekly

"A modern-day Crucible, Good Neighbors brilliantly explores the ease with which a careless word can wreak havoc and the terrifying power of mob mentality. Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks. The veneer of civility among close neighbors disguises hypocrisy, envy, and hatred. Langan deftly unveils the psychology behind her character's actions with blistering prose and spot-on depictions. She is a writer to watch!" - Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

"Good Neighbors is a wickedly funny, unnerving puzzle box of a novel. Sarah Langan has a delightfully twisted sensibility." - Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

"In Sarah Langan's amazing, riveting Good Neighbors, we sift through the wreckage of a neighborhood, trying to make sense of the violence and hidden darkness of a small community in the aftermath of disaster. Langan is an inventive, confident writer, with such a sharp sense of humor, and she so deftly handles the complex ways in which we find ourselves inextricably linked to each other, how little it takes to push us over the edge. A chilling, compulsively readable novel that looks toward the future in order to help us understand how we live now." - Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here

"Good Neighbors was such a fun read—fun in a brilliant, twisted, dark, compulsive-reading kind of way! I loved the structure of it, with the little hints Langan threw my way about the Maple Street Murders—I just had to keep reading, because I had to know what happened. She is so good at showing how the idle gossip of suburbia can turn darker, malevolent, and downright dangerous. Wonderful stuff!" - Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange

This information about Good Neighbors was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sarah Langan

Sarah Langan, a Columbia MFA graduate and three-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, is the author of three novels, including The Keeper. She grew up on Long Island and she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters.

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