2019 Reviews · Beauty and Lace review · contemporary fiction · new release

Beauty & Lace Book Review: Not Bad People by Brandy Scott

Title: Not Bad Peoplenot bad people small

Author: Brandy Scott

Published: January 29th 2019

Publisher: Harper Collins – AU

Pages: 464

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 3 stars

Three friends, thirty years of shared secrets, one impulsive gesture .. and a terrible accident. When friendship goes bad, someone has to pay. For fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Harding.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare that will upend their friendships, families and careers.

The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games.

They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.


Brandy Scott is a radio presenter and a journalist, who has embarked upon a new career as a novelist, releasing her debut contemporary fiction piece, Not Bad People. With an open-ended title, it got me thinking about the whole concept of what constitutes as being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. Sometimes the lines and moral boundaries are blurred, thanks to the various situations, or binds we find ourselves in. In Not Bad People, three friends from a small Australian town find their lives irrevocably changed one fateful New Year’s Eve.

Not Bad People is a brand new Harper Collins publication from first time novelist Brandy Scott. I was definitely interested in this novel from the moment I spied the cover and blurb. Endorsed by Nicola Moriarty, I was keen to see how this one would play out. The concept really sparked my interest. It seemed original and a departure from the usual book fare I read. The intrigue factor was high!

I have never taken part in a lantern ceremony, though the idea does appeal. I liked how Brandy Scott used the lantern release experience on New Year’s Eve as the initial complication to this story and boy is it a whopper! The plane crash that very same night the lanterns went up into the air (along with fireworks) is depicted well. It is a good way to revolve a story around this very different accident and Scott examines the fallout from a range of angles.

I am defining Not Bad People as a slow burn style life lit novel. This novel contains a set of characters who are the type of protagonists drawn from real life personalities, or have parts that we can see in ourselves. I know there were many situations faced by these thirty-something women that I was able to relate to. I also have the feeling that the teen based issues experienced by the children of the women in the book will be sure to strike a chord in a few years time, when my own children hit their teens! What a melting pot of complications, problems and tensions!

Not Bad People is about the journey and the transformation the three main characters make as a direct result of the New Year’s Eve lantern ceremony. Scott examines all facets and responses to this situation. She explores extreme blame, guilt and obsession. She also looks at public persona and identity. I felt the greatest amount of sympathy for Lou, who tries to sweep the situation under the carpet, as she has bigger issues to deal with. Lou is forced to confront issues from her past, that all come to the surface following the plane crash event. Scott seems to cover all bases in this area and she has a good grasp of the human condition.

Not Bad People proved to be a so-so read for me. There were parts appreciated, such as the well presented small town setting and the politics associated with living in a localised community. I also liked the unusual accident that kick starts the events of the novel. However, I’m not sure I completely connected to the writing style, or the characters. I do know I felt a great deal of sympathy for Lou, but I can’t say I cared greatly for the other two women, or the supporting cast overly well. I also felt Not Bad People was a little too lengthy and frankly I was over the women, as well as their situation by the end! I was able to put this book down a lot more than usual. Not Bad People is a promising debut novel and I am sure this is only the start of more exciting writing to come from Brandy Scott.

Not Bad People by Brandy Scott was published on 29th January 2019 by Harper Collins – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Not Bad PeopleBrandy Scott, visit here.

*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins – AU. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website please visit here.