Review: Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling


Release date: February 6, 2018

Publisher: Twelve

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


A searing portrait of suburbia, friendship, and family strained by a devotion to false appearances.

In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.


Are you guys sick of my obsession with books with neighbors in the title yet?! I hope not because I have at least one more in my immediate TBR pile, so stick with me. I’ve said it before, but there is something so interesting about the secret lives of the people you live next door to, they may look like the ideal, happy little family but oftentimes that’s just what is presented to the world. Good Neighbors follows four couples who’s only true connection is their proximity and the age of their children. Oddly enough, when one of the couples adopts a Russian little girl things start to splinter and their idyllic little world begins to crumble.

This is told from Nicole’s point of view and it’s written in a peculiar way, the writing style was almost staccato, there was an abruptness at times, the sentences were often short and sparse but strangely enough I liked it. There was a simplicity about it that I liked and it read differently than your average book, it had a style all of it’s own. Nicole was well drawn for the most part, but there were some loose ends surrounding her extended family that I wish would’ve been more resolved in the end. Actually, the ending in general was left very open and I tend to like things that are resolved more.

This was a slow building, character driven domestic drama that’s light on the suspense but intriguing in it’s own way. It almost had a literary fiction type of feeling, it was smart and smooth and there would be much to discuss with a book club. I can’t really think of any other book or author to compare it to and sometimes that’s actually great.

Good Neighbors in three words: Intelligent, Steady and Interesting.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Joanne Serling’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in New Ohio Review and North American Review. She is a graduate of Cornell University and studied and taught fiction at The Writers Studio in New York City. She lives outside of New York with her husband and children and is at work on her second book.

Connect with Joanne

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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