Books Thriller YA

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson [book review]

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

Book: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author: Holly Jackson

Published: May 2, 2019

Publisher: Electric Monkey

Genre: Young Adult thriller

Pages: 433

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A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder book summary:

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder follows Pippa Fitz-Amobi. A few years ago an older guy she knew of was accused of murder. It was an open shut case and the guy was sent to jail. Now that Pippa is a senior in high school she has to do a research project that counts for more than half her grade. Of course, she chooses to research the murder investigation and prove that the guy they put in jail didn’t do anything. Can she prove that he didn’t? Or is this going to reflect poorly on her grade and self-esteem? 

A Good Girls Guide to Murder
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Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I thought about A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder:

So, I picked up A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder because I love young adult thrillers. They are always hit or miss for me but thankfully I really enjoyed this one. I can’t wait to read the second one!

The Characters

Honestly, I really liked Pippa. She’s a strong individual and she’s very smart. Not many girls in high school are like that. I think that’s what I like about her though. I wish back in high school I had applied myself as she did. If that were the case I feel like things would be really different right now. I wish a lot of girls were as strong-willed and independent as her.

One thing I actually like about this book is that despite what Pippa finds out she still remains a loyal friend. I’m glad that friend remains by her side despite what happens in the book that may make her not want to be.

The one thing I really didn’t like about this book is Andie. Her character didn’t hinder the book or the storyline but I could not stand her. Books like these make me really glad that I didn’t attend a school with a huge mean girl like her. I do understand where it came from though. Having a bad home life can cause young adults to lash out in one way or another at school. I just wish she had suffered from it though. Dying didn’t really give any of the people she tortured justice to. At least it didn’t in my opinion.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is your typical small-town book where characters believe everything they hear. What makes it worse is that these people treat a whole family completely wrong for years despite only one of them really doing something wrong. It goes to show that a lot of people really have that mob mentality to treat a whole family wrong. It kind of makes me wonder how the population treated them once things were proven different.

I guess that’s why I like Sal’s younger brother. I probably would have so much resentment towards the people there and it makes me wonder why they didn’t move after what happened. They had this hold over them for years and I couldn’t imagine it. And I would not want to live somewhere that holds so many negative memories. Even if they didn’t have a lot of money I still would have found a way to get out of there.

But then I guess that could have made them seem guilty to their small population who were already so judgmental towards them. I kind of wish that Sal had better friends too. Not all of them are bad but one, in particular, made a stupid mistake but didn’t think he did anything wrong. He’s one out of two characters that I really wish I could have slapped in the face. But I’m sure the book wouldn’t have been any good if there wasn’t at least one controversial character.

The Plot

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder kind of reminds me of a mixture of Pretty Little Liars and I Know What you did last Summer. That should give you some sort of indication of what this book was like.

Usually, I don’t like books where young adults take over the jobs of police officers. That’s mostly because police officers get trained in this sort of thing. Sometimes they may act like they weren’t trained but they were. Kids in high school don’t go through this sort of thing and don’t really know the precautions that police officers have to go through.

There’s so much more to it than what books like this give credit for. Even though I don’t really like that aspect of the book I still really enjoyed this book. It’s kind of bad when there really are girls out there still in high school who are a lot smarter than some of the people who are police officers.

So, I actually picked up A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder because of it being pretty popular and hyped. I heard so many rave reviews about it and I had to get my hands on the book. I always love a good murder mystery even if it is a young adult book. By the way, I’m not saying that young adult is bad but I am basing this on young adults getting involved with solving a murder.

Most of the time I’m able to guess who the bad guy is but I’m either losing my touch or this book is just really that good. I had a feeling who it might be but I did figure out that the book was probably throwing me off.

Holly’s writing style is really good too. I love how she writes this book and is able to keep you interested despite it being pretty long. She does a really good job in keeping things hidden from the reader and making sure they aren’t able to guess anything but also leaves little clues to make you realize that you missed things. It’s just really hard to believe that this was her debut novel.

The one thing that doesn’t make sense to me about A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is why would a school allow a high school kid do a project like this in the first place. You would think that something like this would be too controversial for high school. I know my old high school wouldn’t allow something like this. I just figured a teacher would talk her out of it and do something more sensible.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year! If you want to see some of my other favorite tie books you can find them here. But with books that are pretty long like this one, it is hard to keep my attention the entire time. I know it’s not super long but it is nearly four hundred pages and a reader is bound to get bored at some point. I’m just glad the pacing of the book stayed on track and that the characters aren’t one-dimensional.

There’s growth with a lot of the characters along with self-doubt. What is a thriller book without at least one character doubting their actions? It wouldn’t be a good book if there wasn’t some growth and some doubt on if what they were doing was right. I’m glad that Pip had a couple of good friends that were there for her and helped her solve this case. It kind of makes me wonder how she would have been if she were doing all of this alone and then getting those threats.

I know she thought that the threats were a joke, to begin with, but I do wish she would have told someone. Even if she had brought it up to a friend they probably would have talked some sense in her. On top of that, she probably wouldn’t have been doing anything alone. She would have been safe and her dog would have been safe too. I swear my heart broke when it came to her dog. I’m glad that Holly wrote the characters as though the dog was a part of their family. A lot of authors miss this.

If you haven’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder yet then please go check it out! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

What do you guys think about YA thrillers?

If you like this review then check out my review for The Project by Courtney Summers.

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