A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

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A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell
Reviewed by Olivia Mitchell
Summary: An addictive, clever YA crime thriller with a loveable female protagonist. Full of shocking twists and turns and set against the backdrop of modern teenage life.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: May 2019
Publisher: Electric Monkey
ISBN: 978-1405293181

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5 years ago, the tiny town of Little Kilton was rocked when beautiful, popular Andie Bell disappeared without a trace, presumed murdered. Her boyfriend Salil Singh was everyone's number 1 suspect – especially after Sal sent a 'confession' text to his dad and died in an apparent suicide just days after her disappearance. His guilt was sealed and the case was closed, so the town and its families tried moved on. Now Pippa is determined to prove that Sal was innocent, with the help of his brother Ravi. What started out as an innocent school project quickly turns into something much more sinister, and Pippa begins to unearth the dark truth about the beautiful, innocent queen bee of Kilton Grammar School and what really happened all those years ago. But the closer she gets, the more dangerous it becomes.

17-year-old Pippa Fitz-Amobi, known affectionately as Pip, is a fiercely intelligent, curious and lovable protagonist. Occasionally awkward yet wonderfully bold, she embarks on a journey to solve this disappearance/murder as an EPQ project (a research qualification done alongside A Levels) against the advice of teachers, for obvious reasons. Yet the ever-determined Pip won't be dissuaded. Her strong will and big heart lead her on a dark path to unearth half a decade of lies, coverups and painful guilt, forcing her to confront many harrowing moral choices in which she proves herself to be a truly good person, which is what makes her so likeable – she is a genuine person trying to do the right thing.

Ravi Singh, younger brother to alleged murderer Sal, is an outcast to Little Kilton along with the rest of his family, forever stained by their brother's assumed guilt. But he is kind-hearted, intelligent and hurting – not the monster-by-association he is seen as by everyone except Pippa. Ravi has always been convinced of Sal's innocence as well, and so he teams up with Pippa and their bond becomes a really wonderful part of the story.

There are many characters in this book, from Pippa's loveable blended family to seedy people on the outskirts of society, creating a wide range of people to pity, hate, love and above all suspect, adding to the dynamism and intrigue of the story.

I really enjoyed this book. The gripping story is full of shock twists and turns. It is split into 3 parts and told through a variety of mediums, from interview transcripts to chapters written in the 3rd person to 'production logs' documenting her progress like a diary, which creates a dynamic read and fits the context of the book. It very much feels like we as readers are piecing the puzzle together concurrently with Pippa, which makes it all the more exciting to read. The language is easy to digest yet immersive, using imagery and detailed description to manifest this bewildering and sensational world and fitting the perspective of a 17-year-old girl. The story is well paced and dynamic, weaving deftly from moments of high tension to comedy to sadness to fear and back again, keeping the reader engaged throughout.

The complexity of the case meant that it could be challenging to keep track of all the moving pieces in the story. However, this is prevented as the 'production logs' step in and clarify where Pippa is at in her investigation, what's currently happening and where she's going next, which I think is an intelligent move on the writer's part – summarising the story without breaking its stride.

An incredibly addictive take on a murder-mystery, set against the backdrop of modern teenage life where lies, love and media can bury the truth deeper than any shovel ever could.

Further Reading:

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus – A deft, twisty murder mystery set in the corridors of an American high school.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – Intense thriller about a girl accused of murdering her best friend.
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson - for more from Holly Jackson.

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Buy A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson at Amazon.com.

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