Named by Goodreads as One of the Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021
“A modern-day Crucible….Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks.” —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish
“A sinkhole opens on Maple Street, and gossip turns the suburban utopia toxic. A taut teachable moment about neighbors turning on neighbors.” —People
“One of the creepiest, most unnerving deconstructions of American suburbia I've ever read. Langan cuts to the heart of upper middle class lives like a skilled surgeon.” —NPR
Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.
Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.
But menace skulks beneath the surface of this exclusive enclave, making its residents prone to outrage. When the Wilde family moves in, they trigger their neighbors’ worst fears. Dad Arlo’s a gruff has-been rock star with track marks. Mom Gertie’s got a thick Brooklyn accent, with high heels and tube tops to match. Their weird kids cuss like sailors. They don’t fit with the way Maple Street sees itself.
Though Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely college professor repressing a dark past—welcomed Gertie and her family at first, relations went south during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, when the new best friends shared too much, too soon. By the time the story opens, the Wildes are outcasts.
As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.
A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Ready for a horror story about the most terrifying monster of all, human beings? On an idyllic street in a buttoned-up Long Island suburb live the Wildes, whose let-it-all-hang-out lifestyle makes the rest of the neighborhood resentful. The acrimony is mostly passive-aggressive, until a disastrous accident at a local park gives the whole block the excuse they’ve been looking for to lash out. Sarah Langan’s novel lays bare the machinations of the mob mentality as the seemingly normal people of Maple Street accuse the Wildes of impossibly heinous crimes. Langan cultivates a palpable sense of horror and dread, leaning on our uneasy familiarity with conspiracy theories and environmental degradation. Langan’s razor-sharp satirical comments about groupthink and fear of the “other” are both witty and impossible to miss. Frightening as it is witnessing people succumb to their worst impulses, the bone-dry sarcasm of Good Neighbors makes for an entertaining read.
Bram Stoker Award winner Langan (Audrey's Door) crafts an incisive story about a seemingly pleasant neighborhood in 2027 Long Island, where the appearance of a massive sinkhole ratchets up local tensions. Married couple Arlo Wilde, a former rock star and junkie, and former beauty queen Gertie Wilde have moved with their two children to the suburbs from Brooklyn, but they don't share their neighbors' bourgeois obsessions with extracurricular activities and college prep. Neighbor Rhea Schroder sticks up for Gertie when other neighbors give her a hard time, hoping to make a friend and desperate to escape her suburban doldrums. After Gertie dismisses Rhea's attempt at confiding, Rhea's hopes turn to bitterness. This affects both of their daughters. Shelly Schroder, 13 had become best friends with 12-year-old Julia Wilde. Now Shelly torments Julia after Rhea turns her against the Wildes, and hides a secret. Then Shelly falls into a sinkhole that appeared nearly instantaneously on their street, and Rhea schemes to pin the blame for Shelly's fall on the Wildes. Witty dialogue abounds, and Langan sets up an ambitious structure by incorporating tabloid excerpts of the Wildes' past and studies of the sinkhole published in the future. This sharp, propulsive novel pulls off a maximalist variation on suburban gossip gone wrong. This review has been updated to remove a spoiler.