To close out our year, The Real Book Spy and Rogues are thrilled to announce December’s must-read book, and I can tell you personally, I could not put it down! I attended three different boarding schools while growing up, and J.T. Ellison captured the setting brilliantly.
An analysis from The Real Book Spy:
Last year, no thriller shocked me more than J.T. Ellison’s brilliant novel Tear Me Apart, a hard-hitting, jaw-dropping story with more twists and turns than any ride you’ll find at Six Flags. Surely, I told myself, Ellison will never, ever top that book—and yet she did just that one year later . . . which is why Good Girls Lie is my Rogue pick this month.
How far would you go to protect your deepest, darkest secret? Ellison tackles that question here, telling a blistering story about a ritzy, Virginia-based boarding school and the girls who attend classes there. Ash Carlisle, an outsider who is placed at the Goode School following the death of her parents, serves as protagonist, though Ellison bounces around, switching POVs and mixing things up as the plot unfolds.
At its heart, Good Girls Lie is a mystery. After being chosen for one of the school’s sororities, Ash faces intense hazing and even some bullying, but things take a much darker turn when a fellow student is found dead of what appears, at least initially, to be a suicide. Police begin investigating, taking a special interest in Ash and the school’s dean, but as readers will quickly find out, everyone seems to have their own secrets—and they’re all desperate to keep them nice and hidden, right where they belong.
On top of the heaping dose of nail-biting suspense, Ellison manages to capture so much more than just a surprise-filled plot. Taking readers inside what it’s like to be a teenager in today’s society—with the cliques and factions and kids who seem too perfect for their own good—she delivers a stunning look at what one goes through when, more than anything, they just want to be accepted and fit in. Landing one emotional punch after another, Ellison’s able to manipulate readers’ emotions in a hypnotic way—helplessly pulling them along on one hell of a thrilling ride that’ll leave ‘em shaken, stirred, and dying to find a reading buddy to discuss every twist and turn with.
A huge fan of J.T. Ellison, I haven’t been this excited about a psychological thriller since Gillian Flynn rocked the world with Gone Girl. . . and if you enjoyed that book, you had better head out and grab this one the second it hits bookstores on December 30th. Trust me, you’ll be so glad that you did!
Well said, Ryan! Couldn’t agree more…this book should come with a “prepare to stay up all night” warning on it. J.T. was kind enough to join us to share a little background into the creation of GOOD GIRLS LIE! Take it away, J.T.
Thank you so much for inviting me for this!
The concept for GOOD GIRLS LIE came together quite organically.
I was watching International House Hunters (a weekend ritual…) and the family was moving to Surry, England, so the husband could teach at a private girls school. The building was so charming, with its Gothic spires and red-brick front, my latent brain starting churning.
I always want to write stories that are something totally new for me, fresh, different. And I’d always wanted to write a boarding school novel. I went to an all-women’s college that required the students (except Prime Time—older/married students coming back to school) to live on campus. We lived behind the “Red Brick Wall” and our buildings were attached by covered trestle bridges, so we could literally move from dorm room to classroom to dining hall without ever going outside. The school was haunted, as all good boarding schools must be. We even had a staircase painted blood red, because legend had it a girl died in the stairwell and they couldn’t get her blood out of the concrete, so they painted it to match.
A boarding school mystery. Dark. Gothic. I liked the sound of that.
The moment the show was over, I opened Day One, titled a Story Idea entry (this is how I file things that don’t have titles), and pulled a plot out of thin air.
And then I walked away from it. I had other work to do.
But as sometimes happens, the story wouldn’t let me go. A few weeks later, a crazy line popped into my head: There are truths, and there are lies, and then there’s everything in between, which is where you and I will meet.I thought it might relate to the boarding school book, so I recorded it and moved on, which is how I handle most of the strange voices that pop into my head.
But I couldn’t shake the words, and then I had a vision of a private school, the huge, closed gates, and a body hanging from them. I realized the truths and lies were about this dead girl, and the gates were the fictional entrance to my alma mater, which looks an awful lot like the school in Surrey. The perfect setting for a haunting thriller.
I mentioned the concept to my editors and publisher and the way my editor’s eyes lit up, I knew I needed to find a way to write the book, and quickly. I wrote it so fast that I messed up the point of view and had to go back and switch it at the 11thhour. It was a wonderful challenge on all levels, and I’m so excited that the book’s release is finally here! I hope you love GOOD GIRLS LIE as much as I loved the process of creating it!
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 critically acclaimed novels, including TEAR ME APART, LIE TO ME, and ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS, and coauthored the “A Brit in the FBI” series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. J.T. is also the EMMY® Award-winning co-host of the television series A Word on Words. Her forthcoming novel, GOOD GIRLS LIE, was a LibraryReads Pick for December 2019 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, please visit www.jtellison.com, or visit her online @thrillerchick. An excerpt of GOOD GIRLS LIE is available now.