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Good Girls Don't    by Kelley St. John order for
Good Girls Don't
by Kelley St. John
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

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*   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Reading the blurb on the back of Good Girls Don't, I thought I was in for a fun, sexy, chick-lit type of novel. I got this impression from the first-person, casual style, and couldn't wait to delve into the book. But I was in for something entirely different.

Colette Campbell lies for a living. She works for My Alibi, a company that specializes in helping people who need a quick, believable cover story. Her clients range from married men having affairs to older couples trying to keep secrets from their kids. She doesn't like the job, but it pays the bills, and allows her to save money to start up her own lingerie boutique. Colette's sister Amy means the world to her, so when she asks for a favor, Colette isn't about to refuse. Amy needs Colette to take on a new client, a friend of hers who'd rather not tell her uncle she's spending a week with her new boyfriend. Instead, she's concocted a cover story that involves a new job in Tampa. But what should be just another client for Colette turns into much more, when she realizes the man she's lying to is Bill Brannon, her best friend from high school and the one man who might be able to give her everything she's ever wanted.

Although the book often reads like a lost episode of Sex and the City, the story lacks the depth that made the TV show so popular. St. John delves into the world of young, hip women looking for love, but her characters' motivations and development leave much to be desired. Instead, protagonists come across as stereotypes. We have the young, sexually adventurous woman who's perfectly happy on her own; the teenage girl who thinks she's head over heels in love only to find out that Prince Charming is really a beast; and a hero who's so sweet, caring, sexy, selfless and kind that he feels more like a cardboard cutout than a real man. In addition, this light-hearted read suffers from too much introspection. Characters often repeat their thoughts ad-nauseam, and at times even dialogue reiterates most of what they're thinking. As the story progresses, this over-analyzing and constant repetition makes reading a chore.

The story has a great deal of potential, but it falls short of delivering a satisfying reading experience. Not quite a romance novel, yet not quite chick lit, Good Girls Don't fits somewhere in between. Try this book if you're looking for a breezy, very light read and are willing to overlook the lack of character development.

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