A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson, cover art by

As part of a homework assignment, self-confessed (several times, often quite unnecessarily) good girl and work-a-holic Pippa decides to research (and surreptitiously investigate) the death of local teen Sal Singh five years earlier after he was posthumously found to have murdered another popular local student, Andie Bell. Pip isn’t convinced though and sets out to discover what really happened, enlisting the help of Sal’s brother Ravi as, he finally sees someone willing to believe in his brother.

This book has been HUGELY popular both from what I’ve seen online and the war its flown off the table at work. So really, my review is neither here nor there – teens love this book so in short: if you want a gripping, contemporary YA murder mystery that touches on a wealth of other relevant issues and is written in the voice of an immensely likeable and non-intimidating teen narrator buy this book.

That aside, my thoughts are more mixed. I very much did enjoy this – I am categorically not a fan of contemporary, much less YA contemporary (which I tend to find too full of bad romance and melodrama) so this in itself is both surprising and very positive!

I really liked the murder mystery plot – having not long come out of the Murder Most Unladylike series, this followed on do well from it and I can see it being a huge hit with teens that have grown up reading MMU!

Written partly as Pip’s project notes and research, it has the same appeal as Hazel’s casebook notes in giving the reader regular summaries, updates, suspect lists etc, making it easy to follow Pip’s train of thought and make your own guesses. And, with clues and connections gradually revealed and plot twists that keep coming until the very end, this book will keep you guessing – I was hooked on the mystery aspects of it.

I was also pleased with the way relationships in the book were addressed. This being YA, there were always going to be relationships involved, but I was relieved that characters talking about them sounded real and believable, and that the Pip-Ravi dynamic developed as it did. Was it obvious from the start there’d be ‘something there’? Of course it was. Was it clumsy, hasty or over the top though? No, it was given time so it felt natural and gradual.

However, where this book fell down a bit for me personally was in trying to cover (seemingly) every issue and tick every box. Drugs? Check. Sexual abuse/underage sex? Check. Emotional abuse? Check. Peer pressure/school stresses? Check. Death and loss? Check. ‘Revenge’ porn? Check. Mental health issues? Check. Beauty/looks? Check. Popularity? Check.

Yes, these are issues it’s good to see in YA books and yes, they did help give the book its twists and turns, but it all felt a bit over the top by the end. By all means mention several of them but maybe make one your focus rather than incorporating everything.

Overall, this was a great YA crime mystery – dramatic but written with a touch of humour too, the twists just kept coming with the threats Pip receives added to the tension (these gave me a real Point Horror vibe which I loved!).


9 thoughts on “A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder

Add yours

  1. Glad you enjoyed this! And especially glad you liked Pip because as you know I think I’m very like her so had you hated her I’d probably have convinced myself you secretly hated me 😂. I really liked the Pip/Ravi dynamic as well, amd I was shipping them SO hard!
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this book, I agree it did try to tick a lot of boxes but I really liked the claustrophobic feel of the town’s secrets and lies and I think the relationship was well done, it was natural chemistry not insta-love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, totally – I was dressing it turning into a really unbelievable romance but was very relieved that it was allowed to progress naturally and the main focus stayed on the mystery.
      I dud enjoy it, I just rolled my eyes a bit too!!

      Liked by 1 person

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