Title: The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Fiction, Mystery
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard comes the gripping, emotionally charged novel of a mother who must help her son after he is convicted of a devastating crime.
What do you do when the person you love best becomes unrecognizable to you? For Thea Demetriou, the answer is both simple and agonizing: you keep loving him somehow.
Stefan was just seventeen when he went to prison for the drug-fueled murder of his girlfriend, Belinda. Three years later, he’s released to a world that refuses to let him move on. Belinda’s mother, once Thea’s good friend, galvanizes the community to rally against him to protest in her daughter’s memory. The media paints Stefan as a symbol of white privilege and indifferent justice. Neighbors, employers, even some members of Thea’s own family turn away.
Meanwhile Thea struggles to understand her son. At times, he is still the sweet boy he has always been; at others, he is a young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. But as his efforts to make amends meet escalating resistance and threats, Thea suspects more forces are at play than just community outrage. And if there is so much she never knew about her own son, what other secrets has she yet to uncover—especially about the night Belinda died?
The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a compelling novel with a hint of mystery.
Thea Demetriou does not know what to expect when her twenty-year-old son Stefan is released from prison. He was convicted of killing his girlfriend Belinda McCormack while under the influence of a combination of drugs. Thea loves her son and she finds it difficult to allow him to stand by and watch him try to find his way. She is also frustrated by the reaction of her fellow professors after Stefan’s return. Thea also must contend with the daily demonstrations from the group Belinda’s mother Jill’s founded.
Thea has received calls and texts sporadically from an unknown caller professing to have information about the night Belinda died for years. These continue after Stefan return home but the family also endures acts of vandalism at their home. Thea is troubled by sudden appearance of a hooded figure whose presence is quite menacing.
Stefan knows his return home will be difficult but he is unprepared for some of the vitriol from people he has known all his life. He still struggles to understand how he could have killed Belinda but he takes responsibility for what he did. Stefan is despondent over his lack of employment and any semblance of a normal life. As he gradually finds his path, Stefan is able to put into motion an idea of providing offenders a meaningful way to show their remorse for their actions.
The Good Son is a thought-provoking novel of healing and forgiveness. Thea is a supportive mom who wants only the best for her. Stefan shows genuine remorse for his crime but he worries he will be defined by it for the remainder of his life. The storyline is unique and well-written. The characters are multi-dimensional and relatable. The mystery surrounding the phone calls and stalking is intriguing but it is somewhat easy to discern the resolution. Jacquelyn Mitchard brings this fascinating novel to a slightly predictable but satisfying conclusion.