Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Good Girls Lie"

In J. T. Ellison's new thriller, Good Girls Lie, Ash Carlisle leaves the U.K. after the death of her parents to attend the Goode School, a prep school for young women located in a small Virginia town that is a stepping stone to the Ivy League. Initially unprepared for the mean girls and the hazing, things get worse when students start dying...and suspicion falls on Ash.

Ellison applied the Page 69 Test to Good Girls Lie and reported the following:
I’ll admit, I’ve done several of these “tests” and always find them fascinating. The moment my finished books arrive, I flip immediately to Page 69 so I can see what’s happening in the story. Sometimes it’s something incredibly important and impactful. Sometimes it’s just a regular paragraph.

But for Good Girls Lie, it is a seminal moment, though the character, Ash Carlisle, an Oxford, England transplant to the elite all girls boarding school–THE GOODE SCHOOL–doesn’t realize it. Term has just started, and Ash is seriously questioning her choice to attend. Tired, jet lagged, and completely uncomfortable in her new surroundings, she falls into a fitful sleep, only to be awoken by singing. She had no idea that what she’s hearing is soon going to define her life in so many ways; will mark her, physically and emotionally, for the rest of her days.
I’m not ready to answer questions. The energy it is going to take to keep people at a distance is massive. And what if I can’t hack it? Not to mention the school aspect of all this? What if the classes are too hard?

I finally fall into a fretful sleep at midnight, restless and rumpled, and wake to the strange sense that something is amiss.

Singing. I can hear singing. Am I dreaming?

I sit up, rub my eyes. Stretch. No. Not dreaming.

But where is it coming from? Not my earbuds, though I’ve fallen asleep with them in. I pull them from my neck and toss them onto the night table. My laptop slips off the side of the bed, and I make a grab for it before it hits the floor.

Outside. The singing is coming from outside.

I go to the window. The night is black as pitch, deep as velvet. A glance at my watch shows it’s 1:30 a.m. The singing is growing louder, coming closer. The hair rises on the back of my neck. This isn’t a gentle, melodic song. This is coarse, meaningless; words shouted to a Sousa march beat.

Oh. This must be what the girls called a stomp.

Vanessa, when she could wedge a word in edgewise, explained the details over dinner. The secret societies are something like sororities at many Southern colleges, though you can’t pledge or ask to join one. The sisters have to come to you, a process known as being tapped.

I already knew the secret societies at Goode are a very big deal; I’d read about them when I was investigating the school but hadn’t paid much attention. I’m not much of a joiner, and seriously doubt I am the kind of person a secret society would want anyway. At dinner, Vanessa made them out to be almost mythical, as important to a Goode girl’s résumé as a 4.0 GPA and an admission letter to Harvard. “The societies carry over into college, you know. It’s the ultimate networking tool. Anyone can pledge a sorority. To be chosen, that’s the true test.”

The societies are secret for a reason.
--Excerpt ©J.T. Ellison, Good Girls Lie, MIRA Books, 2019
So an impactful page 69, this go around.
Visit J.T. Ellison's website and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: Good Girls Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue