Monday, January 31, 2022

Review: Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy
Series: Avalon Bay, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance 
Good Girl Complex cover
ISBN: 9781250796738
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

She does everything right. So what could go wrong?

Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. All she wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Twenty-year-old Mac has had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home.

A rich college girl and a bad boy townie are a case of not-quite-opposites attract in Good Girl Complex. Elle Kennedy’s writing keeps this new adult romance flowing at a quick clip and kept me engaged, despite a plot that feels like it fell out of a teenage rom com from twenty-five years ago.

Mac is an independent twenty-year-old chafing at her parents’ restrictions. She’s already created a successful company and has no interest in going to college when she could be growing her empire. But her dad’s a congressman and her mom is all about appearances, so Mac caves into the pressure to attend Garnet College, where her perfect boyfriend also goes. Except Pres isn’t as perfect as he appears to be, as Cooper Hartley knows. Without spoiling the story, I’ll say that Cooper has it out for Pres, and with good reason. The problem is that Mac is his means of revenge, even though she has nothing to do with and no knowledge of her boyfriend’s behavior and is an independent person, not an extension of the man.

Cooper is from Avalon Bay and he’s used to the rich kids treating the townies like trash. He and his friends hate the “clones” as they call the Garnet students. But it’s clear to him pretty early on that Mac is nothing like the students who have looked down on him all his life. Yes, she’s ridiculously wealthy, but she’s smart, kind, and hardworking. Mac and Cooper have an easy chemistry that sucks you in and makes you want to forget the lies and the emotional cheating that are the rocky foundation their burgeoning relationship is built on. Despite my issues with the plot, I was rooting for these two because they’re engaging characters. Cooper is hardworking and we see enough of the injustice the clones dish out to understand his bias against him, plus there’s added childhood trauma to trigger more sympathy since his sex appeal wouldn’t be enough to balance out his initial revenge plot. There are a number of fun and sexy moments to Good Girl Complex that made me smile and sigh. I was satisfied by their romance even though I had serious issues with the beginning of it, and I do wish there had been an epilogue to show Mac and Cooper down the road.

Good Girl Complex is the first book in the Avalon Bay series but it’s only because I’ve been an Elle Kennedy fan for well over a decade that I’d consider picking up the next book in the series. I pretty much hated most of the supporting cast. Yes, they’re all young and have growing up to do, but there’s some definite meanness (a lot of it stemming from throwback plotlines that have not aged well) that turned me off. I have mixed feelings about Good Girl Complex overall. Kennedy’s writing sucked me in and Cooper and Mac were entertaining characters; I just couldn’t get on board with the basic premise and the supporting cast.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.