This reading group guide for Good Girl, Bad Girl includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.Introduction
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From internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham, Good Girl, Bad Girl
is a psychological thriller about a forensic psychologist caught between two cases—one girl who needs to be saved, and another who needs justice.
A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.
Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl next door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, what price will Cyrus pay for the truth?Topics and Questions for Discussion
1. Good Girl, Bad Girl
opens with an epigraph from Oscar Wilde, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” After reading the novel, do you agree with this assessment?
2. How did you feel about following two points of view throughout the entire novel? How does the Michael Robotham establish distinct voices for Cyrus and Evie/“Angel Face”? Why do you think he chose to use Angel Face as chapter titles, instead of Evie Cormac? Did this change how you viewed the character?
3. Even though Cyrus says his doctoral thesis disproved the existence of “truth wizards,” do you think he still believes they exist? Is it possible that Evie is a truth wizard? Or is she just extraordinarily perceptive? If she is
a truth wizard, do you think it’s a gift or a curse?
4. Cyrus says that, because of his training, he refuses to “define people as being good or evil” (page 32). Do you think this is true? Do you think the title of the book undermines this idea by setting certain characters against one another as either good or bad?
5. Cyrus wonders if “Evie remembers what happened to her or has chosen to forget” (page 99). Do you think Evie remembers her past and is choosing not to reveal the truth to Cyrus and others, or has she purposely forgotten the trauma as a coping mechanism? Would you consider her a liar if she were purposely concealing her memories? Why or why not?
6. Both Evie and Cyrus are grappling with childhood trauma. Do you think their similar experiences are what draw Cyrus to Evie? How do you think his past impacted his relationship with her, both as her psychologist and her guardian?
7. We all see people how we want them to be seen rather than acknowledging them for who they really are. Why do you think this is? How does this tendency to project our own expectations onto others create problems for the characters in the novel?
8. Evie wonders why, “in a world full of suffering and sadness, why should anybody ‘accept their reality’ when they could change it?” (page 259). Do you think she accepts her reality by the end of the novel? Why or why not?
9. How do the events in chapter 13, when Evie disarms Brodie at Langford Hall, foreshadow the events that transpire between her, Felicity Whitaker, and Cyrus?
10. Throughout the novel, a number of characters conceal the truth or tell lies in order to protect other people, including Evie. She tells Cyrus that she won’t tell him her real name, because if she does, he’ll die, because that’s what happens to everyone she loves. Do you believe her? Do you think it’s ever okay to lie to someone?
11. Discuss your reactions to the novel’s last chapter, where it’s revealed that Cyrus thinks he was wrong about Evie all along. Do you think there was some truth to the story people told about her? If not, why do you think Evie went along with the lie?Enhance Your Book Club
1. Good Girl, Bad Girl
is the second book in which Cyrus Haven appears as a character. Read The Secrets She Keeps
and discuss Cyrus’s character development, from supporting character to protagonist.
2. Sacha Hopewell, the officer who discovered “Angel Face,” fled the country after the attention the case drew. There are laws against revealing Evie Cormac’s identity as “Angel Face.” When Cyrus recalls the details of the case, he recalls real-life cases of kidnapped girls, including Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard. Research media coverage and reactions to these cases online. How does it compare to the fictional aftermath in the novel?