Good girls tell the truth.
Good girls behave themselves.
Good girls work hard and care about their education.
Good girls do the right thing.
Emily Keating, however, is not a good girl, unlike her sanctimonious elder sister. But she’s a little too busy with the various complications in her life to be too concerned about that.
There’s Declan, her depressed friend who she tries to help in a way that only ends up contributing to his problems.
Or Lucy, a former crush whose relationship is suddenly becoming a lot more serious.
Or Hugh, Emily’s ex-boyfriend (now going out with a school-friend of hers) who she still has unresolved issues with.
Or Barry, her dearest friend, and according to almost everyone, the one she’s destined to be with, despite their insistence that they’re just good friends. (Are they?)
Amidst partying, drama and watching far too many movies, Emily tries to help her friends and sort out their lives – as well as figure out what it is that she really wants.
“Claire Hennessy’s ever-chatty fifth book, though middle class, is never middle-of-the-road. Anti-heroine Emily’s experience of school and out-of-school activities (and we’re not talking hockey) is deliberately and, at times, maddeningly adolescent. Promiscuity, “bendable sexuality” and a suicide are par for the zig-zag course and, though Emily at 17 asserts and shocks, she also survives a world of grim, confused and moody realism.”
(Niall MacMonagle, The Irish Times)
“This new offering is her most daring yet. It features Emily, who tries to sort out her friends, whilst struggling to make sense of her own sexuality. It’s a mature, thoughtful book.”
(Sue Leonard, Woman’s Way)
“Here is the voice of urban adolescence. Sharp, direct and no fudging.”
“The confusion about sexual orientation is handled in a frank and non-judgemental way…. This sadly realistic picture of Irish teenage life is no fairytale…”
(Celia Keenan, Sunday Independent)
“…enjoyable and well worth a read…”
“…brilliant, it won’t let you down…”
Emily first turns up in Stereotype as someone who discusses with Abi “the human need to label people”. (So naturally she was going to end up kissing girls.) She needed her own story, which covers not only the events of Stereotype but also extends beyond that in both directions.
This book was ridiculously fun to write at times, with figuring out how all these different people fitted into Emily’s life, and at others less so – Hugh’s manipulation of Emily, for example.
Originally I wanted to call this Happily Ever After, because of some of the fairytale references in the book, but Poolbeg had another book coming out with that title, so eventually we went with Good Girls Don’t, from a line in the book. Part of me thinks this is a slightly provocative title and implies that not being a nice-girl-with-a-steady-boyfriend is racy and naughty and all that, but another part of me thinks it’s quite apt – after all, Emily’s not “good” in many ways, but her sister, who is, is completely bigoted, and Lucy, who is now that she’s ‘reformed’, is fairly manipulative and thoughtless at times. Meanwhile Emily skips school – to go sort out other people’s problems. She’s one of the good ones, even if she does go into school with blue hair and a hangover some days.
This is also the first book I’d written since Being Her Sister in which there’s a romantic happy ending for the character as well as a kind of personal resolution. Much as I enjoy not having the hero and heroine skip away into the sunset at the end of books, it was long overdue for a leading lady to find her prince… or princess.