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Jenny Dawson is the popular country singer.  She’s 22 years old.  She has tons of hit songs.  And she’s hit a roadblock.  She cannot for the life or her come up with any new music.  Add to that the fact that married men that she’s never met have, for some inexplicable reason, decided to claim that they’ve slept with her, and Jenny is in serious need of a change of scenery and a break from reality.

Enter Noah Maxwell.  The son of the man who owned the rural Louisiana retreat where Jenny wrote some of her first good songs, Noah reluctantly agrees to let her try to recapture some of the magic.  Noah is a first class jerk, quick to insult her, belittle her, let her know that she’s no better than what the tabloids are calling her.  Because this is a new adult book, of course the next thing that happens is Jenny finding herself impossibly attracted to Noah and his “alpha male” ways.

Good Girl is my third or fourth book by Lauren Layne in the last year or so, and it’s more or less what I expected from her.  It wasn’t enough to wow me – Noah was a little too over-the-top for that, but it was good enough.  Jenny reminded me a lot of Taylor Swift (who I am a huge fan of, by the way) back in the day when every man on the planet claimed to have been dating her, and I sympathized, because who ever knows if tabloid rumors are true.

So here’s the thing.  Was Jenny a strong character?  Not really.  She ran away instead of facing her problems.  But that’s okay, and I get it.  At 22 years old, I would have probably done the same thing.  (I’d still be tempted now, just saying.)  My problem with this book solely lies with Noah.

He decides to be a jerk from the beginning, starting with not telling Jenny who he really is.  Then he decides to insult her in literally every way he can imagine.  He seduces her and then slut-shames her.  He plays with her emotions and you know what? That’s not “alpha male” behavior.  It’s not cool and it’s nothing to aspire to.  That is not the way that someone should treat their partner and it really threw off the whole book for me.  Sure, he apologizes and she forgives him and then they just repeat the whole cycle and I felt bad for her.  Jenny deserved better.

I’m still a fan of Lauren Layne’s, and I’m still most likely going to read whatever else she comes out with, but I was more than a little disappointed with this one.  Still, I’m giving it three stars because I read it all in one sitting and the plot kept me intrigued.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free review copy.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

For my 2016 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #25: a book that takes place during the summer.

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