Monday, July 20, 2020

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman-- Mystery & Drama for the win!

They Wish They Were Us

Jill goes to an exclusive prep school AND she's managed to get into their most exclusive and not-so-secret society.  She's trying hard to have the best Senior year and put events of the past behind her.  Freshman year, just as she was about to be initiated as a full member of The Players, her best friend was found murdered.  Shaila's boyfriend confessed the night of the killing, but it hasn't been forgotten by people in the community, and especially Jill.

Now, Jill's brother is invited into the fray AND she's getting texts saying that Shaila's confessed killer is innocent.  She needs to find a way to keep her brother safe and figure out who really killed Shaila... but Gold Coast has a way of keeping things they want hidden, hidden. 

This was the first book I decided to read upon coming home from ALA Midwinter.  It just sounded so much like a ME book-- I love secret societies and prep school mysteries.  Plus, the title just screams MEAN GIRLS.

It starts out introducing us to Jill, she's a Senior scholarship student at an exclusive prep school.  She's also in a "secret society" that everyone sort of, kind of knows about called The Players.  They get perks like access to papers and tests, help from alumni to get into the colleges of their choice, and they throw the best parties.

Jill has been through a lot.  During her Freshman year, her best friend, Shaila, was murdered.  Graham Colloway confessed the night it happened-- which also happened to be their initiation night.  See, to get into The Players, you have to go through a hell of a Freshman year.  They get ruthlessly hazed, ending in an initiation that's meant to be remembered.  After Shaila's death, her boyfriend, Graham, confessed and was sent to a juvenile detention center-- but 3 years later he's taking it all back.  Someone is texting Jill telling her Graham is innocent and Jill can't help but wonder if they all got it wrong.

I really enjoyed this one.  It wasn't perfect, but I loved reading about the hazing, the imbalance of power, the exclusive membership. It’s all interesting and toxic.  I loved the way it was told in present day and through flashbacks.  I felt it really gave the reader a full view of the circumstances and what led up to them.

It would've been a 5 star for me if the mystery hadn't been so obvious.  I think if you read a lot of mysteries this one will not surprise you in the end.  If you don't it might not be as obvious.  I think the more you read in a genre, the more the "twists" become easier to see coming-- and that was the case with this book for me.

BUT-- I don't want you to this this book is all about the mystery.  I think it was equally about the teen drama.  The Players were full of their own turmoil, deceit, and pressures.  So, even when the mystery wasn't giving me what I needed, the drama fully was.

OVERALL: I loved wading into Jill's world and seeing all the flaws of prep schools, secret societies, and rich communities.  I felt like this book was 50/50 mystery and teen drama-- a good mix to keep your interest at peak levels!!  I totally recommend to fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl.

Date Published: 8/4/2020
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Teen and ALA for or providing me with an advanced copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Teen

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Jill Newman
Book: When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

  • Jill would love to read about Devon, a girl who is also a scholarship student attending a posh school-- AND she's in STEM.  STEM girls rock and should stick together!


  1. You had me at prep school. I think because I am not a mystery reader, I am ok with it being obvious, as long as I enjoyed the ride.

    1. It was definitely teen drama fun!! And I love prep school settings too!!

  2. Hi there! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the good info you will have right here on this post. I might be coming back to your weblog for extra soon.