Book Review: Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

Good Girl Complex

Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Avalon Bay
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (February 1st, 2022)
Paperback, 368 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance


Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. Unlike most twenty-year-olds, all she really wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Mac’s had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Mac and Cooper’s relationship is super messed up and toxic right from the jump. Relationships founded based on an elaborate revenge plot will do that, I suppose.

Still, the chemistry between the two is really amazing. Mac is an entrepreneur who’s part of the rich kids college crowd, and Cooper is a bad boy townie who hates the college “clones” with a passion. There’s a little bit of an enemies to lovers vibe, but Mac doesn’t realize she’s the enemy… and then they become friends and the friends to lovers and mutual pining tropeyness abounds.

This also required some suspension of disbelief on my part, because I had trouble understanding how Mac is somehow a self-made millionaire based solely on her founding of two websites that basically sound like Reddit threads. O…kay? I also struggled a bit because so many of the characters were just downright unlikable – even Cooper and Mac at times. Mac’s roommate Bonnie is the only character I was whole-heartedly in it for.

Still, both Cooper and Mackenzie some really great self-growth and come out the other side stronger individuals for it. And like I said, their chemistry is really amazing, with really fun banter especially when they’re in a sort of frenemies stage of their relationship. This is a fun, flirty, steamy new adult college romance.

I’m not sure if this is part of a series – the title says it’s “an Avalon Bay novel,” so I’m hoping so because I’d REALLY like Bonnie’s story!

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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