GOOD GIRL COMPLEX
BY ELLE KENNEDY
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.
Good Girl Complex is a wrong side of the tracks trope that was once overused and is now difficult to find. This is one where the side characters really captivated me more the the two MCs. I also really enjoyed the setting of the rich and prestigious college that was in the middle of quaint little beach town.
More money more problems right? Mackenzie has a lot to worry about, money not being one of them. Her dad is a powerful US senator and her mom runs a bunch of charity organizations. They filled their quota to have a kid and them promptly forgot about her unless they could strategically use her. The typical stuff you’d expect from a 1% family. Mac wanted more than to fit into the mold her parents had created for her though. She was beautiful of course but also smart as heck along with being so kind and compassionate, but also not really willing to stand up to the wrongs her other rich friends were committing.
Cooper was the boy your mother warned you about. Tatted up and walking around with a chip on his shoulder he’s the dark haired bad boy you want to take a walk on the dark side with. While he was a total douche and jerk at times, he had cinnamon roll potential and really just needed therapy to work through his issues. His story was truly heartbreaking but he had great friends and an amazing brother and uncle who tried to always support him.
Even as I’m writing this now, I’m not sure if I’d label this relationship as toxic or not. Both Coop and Mac are headstrong and stubborn which leads to a lot of fights. Their chemistry was off the charts and they definitely had sparks. The tension was unreal and I found myself groaning anytime Mac was a good girl. There were so many cute moments though but I can’t say I enjoyed their banter and silly nothing fights. They really believed in each other’s dreams though and we’re so supportive of the other going after said dreams. I’d like to think they work through their issues and make it.
UPDATED REVIEW: After sitting on the sequel for sometime and not wanting to read it because of issues I had with the first book, I though it was worth re-doing my review. Cooper was a douche and Mac was selfish and didn’t notice how toxic her ex and their friends were until it affected her. Their relationship together was also very toxic and I think this is one where there have a ton of issues they need to work through before being together. I’ve updated the rest of my review as well but though it would be beneficial to throw those thoughts at the beginning.