Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson-- Unpopular Opinion Club Again

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

5 years ago, Fairview was rocked by the disappearance of high school senior, Andie Bell-- and the subsequent suicide of her boyfriend when everything started pointing towards him.  Case closed.  Right??

Enter Pippa.  The summer before her senior year, she decides to do her capstone project on analyzing the case (at least that's what she tells her teachers).  What she's really doing is teaming up with Sal's brother to prove his innocence.  Pippa knows Sal couldn't be involved in Andie's disappearance, or likely death, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

The closer she gets to the case, the more SOMEONE doesn't want her poking around.  She starts getting threats, and it soon becomes clear that she's risking her life in the quest for answers.

I'm always looking for interesting YA Mystery/Thrillers, and this one totally caught my eye.  I love a good Nancy Drew story-- and this threw in some of those epistolary elements that I love, so I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, this just didn't go the distance for me.  Maybe it was the characters, maybe it was the pacing??  It was readable, but it's not going to be one that I remember or think about long-term.

The premise was interesting: A girl chooses to devote her senior project to solving a murder/mystery that is beyond cold and closed.  5 years ago, Andie Bell went missing, and her boyfriend committed suicide after texting a confession.  It was all wrapped up, except Pippa doesn't think they got it right and she decides to do her own investigation for a school project.

Some Bullet Point Thoughts:

  • I read an advanced copy of this book, but I couldn't help but notice how very British this book is.  This version of the book is supposed to be set in Connecticut, so it really pulled me out of the story when the characters busted out with British Slang.
  • Pippa was definitely a know-it-all-- okay, I can get beyond that.  The thing that bothered me about her was the simplistic way she thought about things.  She basically decided to look into this case because Sal was generally nice to her once???  He offered her a piece of candy while he was hanging out with a friend's older sister.  I don't think that's deep enough to know whether someone is capable of violence.
  • Also, who was Pippa??  The only thing I knew about her was that she was studious and a devoted friend/sister/daughter.  That is so surface-level for me.  There's so much more to people than just "I like school".
  • The first twist is kind of obvious.  I knew part of this mystery's end pretty much right away.  The second part was a little more veiled and I thought it wrapped it up well.
  • A dog dies.  I thought we stopped doing that in books??  Or maybe that was just me wishing that...
  • Ughhh. There was romance where none was needed.... again.
  • People in this book were WAY too easy to confess to things when Pippa confronted them.  I'm sorry, but it was super hard to believe people would just blurt out their sins just because Pippa guessed them.
  • I loved how Pippa had a running list of suspects, and the way it almost felt like the reader was involved in the investigation.  The way she's like: here are my notes, here is my list of suspects-- it felt like I was being asked to help solve it.  I loved that part of it.

Look, I think this book is definitely one high school kids will like.  I would 100% recommend it to teens who like to listed to True-Crime podcasts.  It's not that I don't think it's good, it's that I think it could've been so much better.  For me, the characters are just too flat and the story didn't get more thrilling as it went on.  There were times that I was just BORED.  It would definitely pick up and become page-turning towards the end, or in certain parts, but the down-times were just not interesting enough.

OVERALL: Unpopular Opinion Alert.  I didn't love this book.  I had high hopes (which may be a factor in my feelings), but ended up disappointed.  I hear this is a series-- and weirdly, I wouldn't say no to trying out a second book, but I would hope that the second book gives me more depth of characters.

Date Published: 2/4/2020
How I got this book: Thanks to Delacorte Press & PRH for providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 2.5/5

Character: Pippa
Book: People Like Us by Dana Mele

  • I think Pippa would like trying to unravel the scavenger hunt that Kay is confronted with to find a murderer.


  1. I was very upset about the dog, but I don't know, I was so fully immersed in this story. I enjoyed it a lot.

    1. I think I'm like the ONLY person who didn't really like this book-- LOL. I was pissed about the dog... like SO PISSED. It was definitely decent... my review sounds a little harsher than I meant it to :(

  2. Aw sorry that it didn't work out for you! I cannot stand when I know nothing about a character except some surface stuff. I just read a book like that that also didn't work for me, because of that very reason. Also it's no fun when you end up kind of knowing what's going to happen, OR when stuff comes too easily, and it sounds like this book had both. Hope your next book is MUCH better!

    1. I haven't been having great luck with newer YA lately?? Maybe it's just my mood. I hope.

  3. I actually loved this book but I felt as though it was very "British" as well and kept forgetting that it was supposed to take place in the US. You mentioned "this version"- was there another version set in the UK?