Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Page Count: 400 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
From Goodreads: Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.
But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?
Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.
This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.
It feels like I have been seeing this YA thriller around everywhere lately, and I am a sucker for thrillers. They are my candy between fantasy reads and I just enjoy a good thriller now and again! So in this book, a girl named Andie Bell went missing five years ago and is presumed dead, murdered by Sal Singh only moments before he texted a confession to the crime along with a final suicidal farewell. The case was considered closed, but Andie’s body has never been found. Current day: Pippa Fitz-Amobi is determined to convince the police to re-open the case by starting her own investigation process as part of her Senior Capstone Project. The first place she goes is to Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, who soon becomes her partner. The interview and investigation list grows from there, as does the danger. The book is extremely plot-driven, and not much focused on character building. While we do see that our main character is very smart but quick to place names on her list of accused, and our sidekick is supportive and cheesy at times, there is not much more than that. Those who are interviewed are just all over the map in terms in individual personality and we are never drawn in to any of them really, but they are almost all people Pippa has known and been in contact with over the five years since the murder has taken place. This tragedy has just been idle for so long?
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is pretty much just that: a “guide.” I listened to the audiobook and the first quarter of the book (approximately) is interviews for main character Pippa’s Senior capstone project–casting doubt on the original murder investigation of her classmate. These interviews are recorded by different voice actors and are made to sound like actual evidential recordings. In the physical book, however, the story is told in different formats such as text messages and production logs. Basically whichever format you read, you are getting a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat “guide” to murder that really keeps you guessing!
I definitely have to award props for some great twists and turns. When I thought the book was going to be over, something new would happen. Or there would be something else that I would think “Wait, he said what now??” and we would be thrown for another loop. There certainly are a couple of potentially disturbing triggers in this book so if you have sensitivities, check out the trigger warnings at the end of the post. Overall though, I thought this was pretty darn good for a YA mystery/thriller. I’m going to leaf through a hard copy sometime, just to compare it to the audiobook and see what I missed out on. I like mixed media books so I’ll be checking that out. Until next time! 🙂
Potential trigger warnings: Mentions of verbal abuse, kidnapping, date rape drugs, selling drugs, murder, death–human and animal.
Book soundtrack: Big Love by She Wants Revenge