In the bestselling tradition of Jodi Picoult and written “in a style that’s as real as it gets (USA TODAY), this ripped-from-the-headlines novel features prosecutor Anna Curtis as she finds herself again at the center of a national story involving a freshman girl at a prestigious university who disappears after filing rape charges against a young man in a powerful fraternity.
Emma, a freshman at a Michigan university, has gone missing. She was last seen leaving a bar near Sigma Pi, the prestigious and secretive fraternity known on campus as “the rape factory.” The main suspect is Dylan Brooks, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But so far the only clues are pieced-together surveillance footage of Emma leaving the bar that night…and Dylan running down the street after her.
Anna Curtis is on the case when she discovers the video diary Emma kept over her first few months at college, exposing the history she had with Dylan—and accusing him of rape before she disappeared.
Emma’s disappearance gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. Now Anna is looking for something, anything she can use to find Emma alive. But without a body or any physical evidence, she’s under threat from people who tell her to think hard before she ruins the name of an “innocent young man.” Inspired by real-life stories, The Last Good Girl shines a light on campus rape and the powerful emotional dynamics that affect the families of the men and women on both sides.
I finished this book a while ago, but I knew that I would need time to get my review just right. Well, time is up. So what has made this the time you might ask? I’m sure many of you have heard about the rapist Brock Turner. I emphasize that word because so many media outlets, and people, have refused to place the label on him that he deserves. Sentenced to only 6 months in prison, and now planned to be released after only 3 months, (when the maximum sentence for his case is 14 years) after raping an unconscious woman– and being caught doing it– Brock Turner’s case is a case of not only white-male privilege, but a case that shows how rape culture is a SERIOUS PROBLEM that is not being addressed the way it should be. Fair warning: If this case makes you angry, reading this book might make you angry at times (really angry). But the truth can be upsetting, and anger fuels passion for change, like we have seen in the case of Brock Turner where a 1million people have already signed a petition to recall the judge. The Last Good Girl, a story about a college student’s sexual assault (and much more), is a novel that sheds light on many truths about our society’s view of rape culture, which is why I believe it is such an important read.
As a college student, reading this book was upsetting, but incredibly informative. Did you know that only 5% of men commit 90% of campus sexual assaults? And I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic- 1 out of 5 women is sexually assaulted while at college, but that didn’t really hit me until I was reading this book…while at college and I began to actually thinking about that number, and all the sexual assaults it accounts for. In college you are bound to have more than 5 friends, so with that in mind I began to think about the likely-hood of myself or one of my friends being sexually assaulted. The percentages are not our favor. So statistically speaking, if I were to go to a party with 4 other friends while in college, one of us is likely to be sexually assaulted. But maybe it isn’t you or one of your friends, maybe it’s one of the 4 girls you pass while going to the bathroom. The point is, it’s someone…and it’s probably someone you know.
After reading this novel I was more motivated than ever to help change the way people view rape and sexual assault cases. I haven’t done anything major, like start a nation-wide campaign (yet), but I do believe that just by sharing and showing support for a victims story and making other people aware of the endless number of cases that are out there is key to ending the way of rape culture. The power of rape and sexual assault cases is that they are constantly swept under the rug by those who seem to be in a position of control, but by making a victims story heard, I believe that power is already diluted in a way.
So I kind of went off topic from any actual book reviewing but just trust me and read this book. The Last Good Girl was well-written, engaging, and so nerve-racking that I think I bit off about 8 of my fingernails while reading it. It is a book that I am extremely passionate about because it was just so freaking good, but the subject matter is so incredibly important as well. Allison Leotta, you rock for writing this novel and doing what you do!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
For twelve years, Allison Leotta was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in sex crimes, domestic violence, and crimes against children. Drawing on this experience, she now writes legal thrillers, for which she’s been dubbed “the female John Grisham.” Her goal is for Grisham to be dubbed “the male Allison Leotta.”