Cadence Miller is a good girl. She just happens to make one terrible mistake her junior year in high school which costs her ten months in juvenile detention. Now a senior, she’s lost everything: her best friend, the trust of her parents, driving privileges, Internet access. It’s a lonely existence.
But there is one bright spot: Mark Connelly, her very cute, very off-limits 28-year-old calculus teacher. She falls hard for him–a ridiculous schoolgirl crush headed nowhere. She can’t help it. He’s the only good thing at Crestview High. She doesn’t expect him to reciprocate her feelings. How inappropriate, right? But he does. And he shows her.
And that’s when her life goes from bad to good.
As soon as I read the synopsis to Good I knew I HAD to read it. First off, all of the books I’ve read by S. Walden have left me in PIECES. So I knew the minute Good was released, I’d buy it. And I did. And I read it in one sitting. Seriously. I probably didn’t sleep that night and throughout school the next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about Cadence and Mark. Definitely couldn’t stop thinking about Mark. But we’ll get to that later.
There’s been some talk about how inappropriate and wrong this book is. Some had problems with how taboo the relationship was. But come on! The synopsis tells you it’s a teacher/student relationship and it even WARNS you that there’s explicit sex scenes. And if you’ve read any of S. Walden’s other books, you should know that she does NOT tread lightly in these situations. There’s none of that Aria/Ezra student/teacher relationship from Pretty Little Liars going on–none of that mild stuff. **And yes, I do watch PLL–it’s good!** So if you’re faint of heart, you might not want to pick up this book. But if you’re like me, you’ll probably need a makeshift fan along with you.
Now, lets get to the story. Cadence did something very stupid her junior year–something that is taken WAY out of proportion by everyone–her parents, especially. So she goes to juvie for ten months. Ten whole months of cleaning toilets and other benign tasks, wearing an orange jumpsuit that does nothing for her complexion. Right before her ten months are up, Cadence meets this guy while picking up trash on the side of the road. There’s an instant connection, but what are the chances of seeing each other again? One in a million, probably. Except when she goes back to school who does she find teaching her Calculus class? Mr. Converse All-Stars.
Every relationship is bound to have its problems–especially a student/teacher relationship. And like any couple, Cadence and Mark go through their fair share of bumps along the way. First off, Cadence is 17 years old when the novel begins. She’s totally inexperienced, innocent, and sometimes, down-right immature. Cadence has her wisdom moments, but over-all, she’s a regular 17 year-old girl. And as any 17 year-old girl, she gets jealous, petty, whinny. However you want to put it. Did I get annoyed with her at times? Totally. Did I want to stick my hand through the pages and strangle her? Definitely. But did I also love her and root for her the whole way? Hell yes! It’s not just the romantic in me that roots for her. It’s the fact that even though she’s been through crap with her parents, she doesn’t let it define her.
I have to admit that Mark had a lot to do with Cadence’s growth. It may not seem like it, but he makes her question her beliefs and the way she’s been brought up. Normally, I’d think a guy like that would be a horrible influence, especially on such a young girl–after all, he’s ten years older–but knowing and experiencing Cadence’s home life along with her makes me realize that if it weren’t for Mark, Cadence would be trapped in this unconventional little life that tries to appear whole and pure, only to be hiding something rotten. *cough cough* Gracie. Back to Mark: he’s commandeering, at times demanding, but also sweet, funny, thoughtful, and caring. Mark is hiding some skeletons in his closets that we don’t even learn about until the sequel, Better. And he is not your typical hero. And I was so happy about that! I love me a good (see what I did there?) alpha male, but they can get repetitive. And while, yes, Mark can be a little rough and possessive, there’s also a whole other dimension to him that we don’t even get to see until later in the series. Still, that doesn’t make him any less desirable.
And their relationship? It’s H-O-T-T hot! This is where the makeshift fan comes in! Cadence is inexperienced in all things sexual and Mark most definitely isn’t. So you know things are going to get hot and bothered. And I LOVED it! Mark is certainly Cadence’s teacher in a lot of ways. While that may have bothered some readers, it didn’t bother me. I kinda feel like I’m repeating myself, but I just want to stress how much I loved those scenes. Most of all, though, was the fact that Mark wasn’t the only one teaching. Cadence definitely has her teacher moments. And it may seem insignificant, but to Mark they aren’t. He states it. Cadence opens him up to feel again. No one in five years had done that. They both grow together, and that’s one of the most important aspects of a relationship that authors have to portray.
Our favorite BFF, Avery, is definitely one that takes getting used to. Honestly, I didn’t like her at first. At all. She was a bitch to Cadence and she kind of looked down on her. But after a while I realized that that was Avery’s defense mechanism. She may seem like a heartfelt bitch, but if she cares about you, then you’ve got a damn good partner in crime. Regardless of how Avery first treated Cadence, I liked how their friendship grew. A lot of times I read these books where the protagonist meets this new girl (or guy) and BAMN! they’re instant friends. AND THAT IS SO NOT TRUE!!! Friendship takes time. And any GREAT friendship takes even more time. Especially with girls. We can be some ruthless creatures. So to see not only a relationship grow, but an unexpected friendship? It made me love this book even more. Kudos to you, Ms. Walden!
Last but not least is Cadence’s relationship with her parents. I’ve preluded a bit to her home life, but it deserves a paragraph of its own. Honestly, I had some mixed feelings about her parents in the beginning. At first I hated them for how they treated Cadence. Yes, she did something stupid and careless, but did she really deserve for them to turn to their backs on her? What kind of parents do that? Image really was everything to them. But then I was conflicted in a particular scene between Cadence and her dad: **slight spoiler** when she confronts him about him not wanting to spend any time with her. He actually looked ashamed of himself! There were quite a couple of father/daughter scenes that seemed genuine. And that’s why I was conflicted. Because at the end, her father just blows up in the worst way. *sigh* And her mom was no help at all either. The only one in that family besides Cadence I grew to love was Oliver. He may embody the annoying little bother, but in the end, he had Cadence’s back. And that’s all that matters.
Like always, S. Walden’s doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If you’re looking for a nice, breezy romance, this is not it. Her books are filled with angst and they leave you with a major case of the feels! They may break your heart and leave it lying all over the floor, but they are truly satisfying! And if you don’t believe me, then read what other people are saying about Good.