A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER by HOLLY JACKSON
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
I’m going to be honest with you, dear readers. I took last week off because I’ve been incredibly sick (I’m fine now), but now I’m back with a fresh new review of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This book is one of those. The insanely popular ones on TikTok that everyone is always talking about. I recently purchased all of Jackson’s book for the Argenta branch, knowing how popular they are. They don’t stay on our shelves for long, so I knew I had to check this first book out while I could.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is arguably my new favorite YA mystery. It’s much better, in my opinion, than One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, though the setup is kind of similar. High school kids solving a murder! Only this time, our main character’s name is Pip and she’s investigating the murders of two high school kids from five years ago as part of her senior capstone project. What starts as a gut feeling about the real killer twists and turns into an obsession for Pip and her partner in crime, Ravi, the younger brother of Sal, who was accused of killing Andie, the girl who died five years ago.
Aaand that’s all I’ll really say about the plot. This is a murder mystery, after all, so I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything!
Anyway, I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book. Much more than I thought I would. The story is told from Pip’s third person point of view (Pip did this/she did that, etc), which I don’t usually love. I like close first person narratives (I did this, I did that) because I feel like it gets the reader closer to the characters and the narrative. It was fine in this instance, though it took me some getting used to. I also want to point out that the author of this book is from England. She was born there, she still lives there, and it’s very clear that this book was initially set in England instead of Fairview, Connecticut. The characters speak in certain ways, use certain phrases (rang instead of called, “cheeky,” lots of uses of the word “clever”) and it really took me out of the story at some points. It was so distracting and could have used a stronger editorial hand. Or, you know, they could have just set the book in England and it would have been fine.
I really did enjoy this book. It was slow at first–again, this is a mystery, not a thriller–but once it picked up towards the middle. I found myself unable to put it down. There are so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Jackson us clearly very good at writing a mystery because she keeps you guessing from one page to the next. I also really liked Pip as a character. She’s definitely your classic headstrong teen sleuth, but I enjoyed her anyway. Ravi is also a decent character, though he’s little more than Pip’s love interest/Sal’s brother.
I will say, the ending shocked me. The twists kept coming right up until the very end, and by the time I was done with the book, I literally said “wow” out loud. There’s no real gore in here, but please note some content warnings: Mentions of sexual assault, emotional abuse by a parent, and obviously, murder.
(Something happens to the dog, too. I’m sorry to tell you this, but I think you should know ahead of time so you’re not shocked and very sad like I was).
You can check out A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder at the Argenta Library today!