A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Published: 2nd May 2019
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Pages: 432
About: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
A debut YA crime thriller as addictive as Serial and as page-turning as One of Us Is Lying.

First Thoughts

I’ve been waiting for this book since YALC last year. I love crime thrillers and have done since I was introduced to Faye Kellerman’s ongoing series back in 2003. It was a genre that had remained rather quiet within the YA section for a long time. While I love the detective thrillers, especially those from Chris Carter and Chelsea Cain, there’s always something a little more passionate when it’s a teen sleuth whose not paid to solve the crime.
As soon as I’d heard the plot of Holly’s debut novel, I knew it was going to feel like a painful wait until the publication. I’ve never heard of such a brilliant ARC campaign either; those who were lucky enough to get their hands on one were missing one key thing; the ending.
Since reading the opening chapters and the whole book, I’m very happy I didn’t get a copy. I think not having that ending for so long would have driven me insane.

Characters

  • I love Pip as a character and as a person. She’d determined, passionate and headstrong. Her character is motivated from the start, and while its personal for her, it’s given that sense of objectivity you would want from a detective.
  • Her relationships and friendships are key to the progress of the story; she’s unapologetic about her geeky personality. It’s a humbling confidence that will endear her to any reader.
  • Pip is supported, challenged and scared off by a well rounded selection of friends, classmates and adults. Whether they provide leads, red herrings or suspicions, they all feel like important interactions.
  • Andie and Sal are interesting characters in the sense that they are ever changing. We only get other people’s opinions and with each reveal, you are left questioning who they really were.

Plot

  • Well, it’s really hard to talk about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. Safe to say, the book opens five years after the case regarding Andie Bell has been closed. Pip is constructing an essay on the evidence for and against Sal being the person who abducted and killed his girlfriend on the night in question. There was no trial as Sal’s suicide note was considered to be a confession to the crime.
  • Pip pulls on threads throughout the narrative and it leads to some excellent questions, curious reveals and plenty of dead ends. You’re with Pip every step of the way and the reader will be just as invested to get to the truth.
  • It’s pacing allows for only the slightest of pauses for you to catch your breath and asses your own thoughts on who the criminal really is.

Writing

  • Jackson’s writing is unique and rather clever. It’s so clear and descriptive that it felt like a cinematic thriller, much in the same style as Se7en, Kiss the Girls and Along Came the Spider.
  • The narrative is presented to the reader in so many different forms; Pip’s essay logs, transcripts and even text messages. Its a refreshing way to tell a story and actually would be a perfect book for students in school to study.
  • I would have personally have liked a larger printed font and I would recommend those of you who struggle, purchase this amazing book in Kindle so you can alter it to your liking.

Final Thoughts

Not many books would have me buying multiple copies so I could get to the end. I was so invested that when I’d left my copy on holiday at my brother’s (late night followed by an early morning flight meant I was a little sleep deprived) and had to buy another copy on my way home.
I couldn’t wait. There was no way I was waiting for it to be posted to me so my trip home included a stop off at the Waterstones.

My advice is; buy it now, read it quick and keep your copy safe.

Love Han x

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