Cover Image: The Perfect Neighborhood

The Perfect Neighborhood

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Member Reviews

No neighborhood is perfect but the residents of Oak Hill have been patting themselves on the back and gossiping about Allison and Christopher- a model and her rock star husband- who just moved in.  And then Allison, who has had it with him and with infertility, leaves.  Poof.  And then Billy Barnes, a five year old whose babysitter Cassidy was late to pick him up, disappears on the walk home, leaving his mother Rachel bereft and guilty.  These three women tell the story which escalates when another child goes missing, another child who was in Cassidy's care.  You, like me, might guess where this might be going but you,  like me, might be wrong- no spoilers either way.  It's an upscale brew of angry, resentment, and secrets (and really-a five year old with his own cellphone?).  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
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A domestic drama that was juicy from start to finish! 

Oak Hill is a cozy place full of families, white-picket fences.. and a lot of small town gossip. The latest scoop is about the quasi-celebrities of the neighborhood. Chris and Allison Langley seem like the perfect couple, so why did she leave in the middle of the night?

Conspiracies are flying but it all comes to a halt when they're given something bigger to talk about. A neighborhood boy named Billy goes missing on his way home from school. The hot couple are on the back burner, we have to find this little guy!

Tensions are really flaring as already strained relationships are put to the test and suspicions rise about others in the neighborhood. Could it be the hyper-aware veteran? The crosswalk guard who's in AA? Was it an inside job? Will he be the only child taken? 

This was great. I usually complain about too many narrators but it was done so well here. I was actually excited to hear from different people and it it gave the name and date at the beginning of the chapter so you could easily skim back to put the dates together. This was everything you could want in a quick summer read and I love the cover art! 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review!
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Thank you Netgalley, Liz Alterman, and Crooked Lane Books for my gifted copy!

Synopsis:
When little Billy Barnes disappears, the whole suburbian neighborhood is shaken. No one and everyone seems to be at fault at once: His mother, who let the boy walk home alone, at only five years old, his babysitter, who was late because she fell asleep at her lover's place, his father, who grew more and more impatient and distant - or was it someone else's fault entirely?

My thoughts:
Wow! The first chapter ended with a banger, and the final one did, too. Give me ALLL the juicy drama of this upperclass neighborhood! There was SO MUCH going on it really kept me on my toes. I'm kind of over the missing child trope, but it still was an exciting and suspenseful story, brilliantly told. 

This was my first book by this author.
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I struggled with this read.  There’s lots of drama, which you would expect with a story that includes a woman that leaves under the cover of darkness & a missing boy.  However, there is also an insight into small towns, where gossip & one-upmanship is rife & neighbours turn on each other.  I thought that there were a lot of different viewpoints and at times it was confusing remembering who was who.  I found many of the characters to be unlikeable - I think this would have been different if there were less viewpoints.  However, I did enjoy the mystery of what happened to Billy - this had me eagerly turning the pages as I had to know the outcome!  I had many theories about what had happened, and they all turned out to be wrong.  It was interesting to see how it all played out in the end.
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The Perfect Neighbourhood by Liz Alterman questions the security many parents feel about their children in the ‘big bad world’. Who can you trust? You think you live in a safe environment, a safe neighbourhood surrounded by trustworthy people ….. but do you??

Child kidnapping is appalling and this story explores every aspect of this. The story is told from many different perspectives of those who live in their neighbourhood and through this means all a range of emotions and feelings are shared. The characters were well developed and the plot had twists and unexpected turns that kept this reader interested.

Even though the issue of child kidnapping is disturbing I really enjoyed reading this novel. Well written and easy to read.


This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own
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Of course you know immediately from the title, that the neighbourhood in the novel is not going to be perfect. Oak Hill is a close knit community, mostly upper middle class and wealthy with very low rates of crime. The sort of place where you feel safe, let your kids walk to school and hire teenagers to babysit them. But behind closed doors the neighbours love nothing better than to gossip about each other and all is not what it seems on the surface.

When a child goes missing (five year old Billy allowed to walk home from school alone), the community is shocked. His mother blames herself for going back to work and agreeing with her husband that her son was old enough to walk by himself. Most of the community however blame his teenage baby sitter who was a little late arriving at the house to meet him that day. If they knew the reason she was late that day they would be deeply shocked. The question everyone wants answered is whether Billy was taken by a stranger or whether a member of their own perfect neighbourhood is responsible.

Told through multiple points of view, the suspense ramps up as the reader tries to work out what happened to Billy and why the police are not able to find any trace of him. I would have liked to feel more empathy with Allison, one of the main characters, who has had a very hard time, but she just seemed too remote and cold to evoke much interest. Her rock star husband Chris was also difficult to like despite his popularity in the neighbourhood. I did however feel sorry for Cassidy the babysitter, taken advantage of by everyone and then blamed for Billy’s disappearance.
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I loved the cover of this book and it drew me into the plot. 
A good premise for a plot and character development. Some characters I really liked and you see them change/ evolve over time and some just didn't stick with me. 
Some dark truths start to appear in this cosy neighbourhood, gossip starts to unfold and it makes you reconsider who you think is in the wrong. 
A well written domestic read.
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Most people gossip, especially in a smaller close knit community. Oak Hills is whispering when Allison walks out on her husband. What’s the story there? But then a young boy vanishes on his way home from school. And as the community worries amd waits another child is snatched.
I loved all the different POVs from several characters. I couldn’t figure out who took the kids or where they were even.
When it’s revealed, I was disgusted with myself for not having figured it out before. But wait, the ending suggests another probability!! 
Watch little kids like a hawk and make sure to vette the babysitters.
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Celebrities Allison (an actress) and Chris (a musician) once found their forever home in Oak Hill. Alison has flown the coop, and the gossip has started. In the midst of this, a child foes missing. And then soon after, another goes missing. Both were being babysat by Cassidy. How could there be a connection between them?
On the surface, ‘The Perfect neighbourhood’ seemed like it was going to be suspenseful and mysterious: why did Allison run away? Why are the children missing? Why aren’t we hearing a lot from Chris? What is going on with Cassidy the babysitter?  For a small close knit suburb that seemed to live on gossip, I’m afraid I might have missed the latest neighbourhood watch meeting.  The story lines once they start are quite obvious, and it seemed to remind me of a couple books I read earlier this year. The police officers were useless, and no-one seemed to be offering any surveillance footage and just wanted to retreat behind closed doors. And Allison, as one of the main characters, really lacked any sympathy from me.
I did like how it came together at the end; that drama seemed to build and unfold really well, the lead up to it seemed slow, lacking a lot of detail, and was nothing different to what I have read before. I would recommend this as a holiday read – curled up on a beach lounge with a chilled iced tea or rugged up in front of a fire with a hot chocolate nearby.
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I struggled with this book, there were too many characters for me. Most of them unlikable, and it just didn't work for me .Sorry.
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Allison and Chris Langley are charmed. Allison is an actress/model and Chris was famous for his band until they  broke up.  With money at hand, Allison and Chris discovered Oak Hill - a perfectly charming little community  - and chose it to be the perfect setting for their perfect family.  But after several years, they are unable to start their family and Allison leaves Chris.  Even though the young couple stayed to themselves, everyone was watching the Langleys.  There is a lot of speculation about where Allison went and why.  But after just a few days children start disappearing and this is the story that grabs the headlines.  What has happened to the children and who is to blame?

There are MANY characters in this thriller and many different storylines about each of them.  Secrets, lies, and imperfection is what Oak Hill is built on.  This book kept me reading at a fast pace to find out WHODONEIT.  I thought I had a good idea early on - but there were many red herrings that made me doubt my choice. If you love fast paced, modern family dramas with a mystery/thriller twist - this is the book for you.
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This was just an average story. Some parts seemed unrealistic but my biggest issue was that there were too many characters. Its my biggest issue in stories.

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book.

All thoughts and opinions are my own and arent influenced by others
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This book was not for me. It started off way too slow. Once I finally had the narrator describing her job in first person to the reader— I realized this was not my type of writing style.
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I'm not often a mystery/thriller reader but this one sounded too good to pass up.

In quiet Oak Hill neighborhood, you'll often find suburban bliss. That is until people start disappearing. First, Allison Langley, model and actress, leavers her rockstar husband Christopher in the middle of the night. And then, 5 year old Billy Barnes vanishes on his walk home from school. And now, everyone is on edge, wondering who took Billy - is it one of their neighbors, is there a predator on the loose? The police are stumped. And then the unthinkable happens - another kid goes missing. Will they be able to find the kids before it's too late?

I loved every minute of this book. I loved the snooty setting where everyone assumes that they're safe. I loved the gossipy neighbors who often fake sympathy to get closer to the action. And of course, I loved the mystery of who took the children. Though I ended up guessing who was responsible just slightly before it was revealed by the author, I didn't even care. I needed to see how this would end up. And I thought it was the perfect wrapup.

This book will be reviewed on episode 46 (July 6, 2022) of the Reading Through Life podcast.
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I really enjoyed this book. I’m a sucker for multiple POVs, but will say this one has a lot of them and can get a bit confusing. Overall though, it’s well written  and will keep you guessing.
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This was a very enjoyable read. I loved the multiple POVs throughout the story. The mystery of who took the kids was enjoyable and I was proud of myself when I figured it out! I liked reading this and would read more by this author.
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Small rant: this was hard to download and read on Netgalley because I was a late approval. The Publishing date is July but the Archive date is May. Annoying. 1st world problems. Smh.

Anyways,...

Once I finally got around to reading this it was deliciously twisty and filled with good reveals and twists. It was also not predictable which is probably the most important element when I am reading any book. Obviously, the perfect neighborhood is not so perfect, but why? 

That is the single reason why I finished this book. I would definitely read another book by this author in the future and recommend this book!

Thanks to Netgalley, Liz Alterman and Crocked Lane Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Archive Date: 5/17/22
Available: 7/12/22
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I literally went and begged for a copy of this book (do I even need to mention the reason?  *cough house cover cough*) so I’m super bummed that I didn’t completely love it. 

Per the house cover, I didn’t bother reading the blurb.  I’ve said before, I’m not the biggest fan of missing kid stories.  And it’s not because they “trigger” me – it’s because I’m heartless and find them a slog.  Sorry not sorry.

This one is a mashup of missing kid with an attempt at a <i>Big Little Lies</i> delivery where you meet several people from the same uppercrust neighborhood.  Unfortunately, they often blurred together for me and I had a rough time remembering exactly who was who.  The payoff at the end was satisfactory, though, and it was definitely a quick read.  If this is on your TBR, take my rating with several grains of salt.

<i>ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.</i>
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Initial thoughts: Wow. Too many points of view. I think I counted 6? I don’t even know. This maybe would have worked better if we followed just Cassidy and her friend Lexi. Also some of the characters like Rachel I flat out disliked. The plot was way too predictable though. It’s obvious what is going on and why and it took way too long to get there. Also I’m not a great fan of the police, but there’s so much here that would never have happened in a real police investigation it was sad. For example, the FBI would have been called in real quick due to Billy’s age. It also made zero sense that no one would have asked for access to cell phones, or gone and looked for cameras on Billy’s route. There’s other glaring things too.

"The Perfect Neighborhood" follows residents of Oak Hill after the kidnapping of a young 5 year old boy named Billy Barnes. The book then follows the mother of the boy who was kidnapped (Rachel), his babysitter (Cassidy), a rich actress who used to live in Oak Hill (Allison), then other mothers in the neighborhood.

So Rachel isn't that great. I think that Alterman is trying to show you all sides to motherhood and gossip/towns, but it doesn't work when you get into more backstory on Rachel. I just got tired of her half way through this book. I had sympathy for Cassidy who is broken up about not being there to make sure Billy gets home. Alison's chapters/points of view make no sense in context of the larger plot for a good portion of the book. The other mothers are kind of awful.

I will say that the plot was straight forward, but as I said above, too many things were not realistic as I was reading this book that just took me out of it. A young boy being kidnapped would have his parents investigated, along with his siblings from the get-go. It seems at times that the local police don't even know basic things about Billy, and I don't know if Alterman is trying to show how incompetent the police were or what, it just didn't really work when we know that this would have pulled in not only local, but state police along with the FBI within 24 hours. A white 5 year old boy goes missing and his family lives in an affluent area? Come on.

The writing was just okay. I could tell everyone's "voice" apart, but the flow was pretty bad after a while. I think the POV I enjoyed the most was Cassidy. Honestly if we had just followed Cassidy and her true crime best friend I would have been all for it.

The setting of Oak Hill feels a bit bland. You hear about how big these women's homes are and how they look, but the whole thing felt like bad set dressing.

The ending left things up in the air a bit and I just went what in the world.
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A great read and I always enjoy when celebrities are thrown into the mix. Regular people assume they have it all, just because they have money and fame. 

The book is focused on 2 missing children that vanish into thin air while the same babysitter is watching the kids. 
I enjoyed the multiple POV. The only thing I found, it was a bit hard to keep track of who was who at first, but this book will suck you in rather quickly!
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