Book Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

My incurable mystery addiction continues! I can barely put into words how much I LOVED this book.


My incurable mystery addiction continues! I can barely put into words how much I LOVED this book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Favorite quote: “As if they think I don’t already know. I came out of the womb knowing how to do academic references.” 

17-year-old Andie Bell leaves her house in the middle of the night. She never returns. Her boyfriend, Sal Singh, becomes the number-one suspect in her disappearance after it’s discovered he has no alibi and every indication of a motive. A few days later, Sal is found dead- an apparent suicide. The case is declared closed when the police discover Andie’s blood in the trunk of Sal’s car and her phone in his posession. Everyone knows Andie was murdered- even though her body was never found- and everyone knows Sal killed her.

Five years later, Pippa Fitz-Amobi chooses to research the cold case for her senior year capstone project. The only evidence points to Sal, but Pippa isn’t convinced. How could someone as genuinely kind and happy as Sal be a killer? Her project starts out as a hypothetical campaign to cast doubt on the validity of the case, but as Pippa starts investigating into the lives of the people surrounding Andie and Sal, it becomes more and more apparent that everyone involved has secrets to hide, and soon there’s no denying that the events of that night were much more sinister and complicated than anyone realized. Andie was not the girl everyone thought she was… and if Sal didn’t kill her, who did?

I could not stop reading this book. And THE ENDING! I will never spoil this for anyone, but I was completely shocked by not one, not two, not three but FOUR major plot twists all in the last 15 minutes of reading… and that’s not even counting all of the other less major plot twists in the rest of the book. It was basically 400 pages of straight plot twists, and if there’s one thing you should know about me and books, it’s that plot twists are my FAVORITE things. Those gasp-inducing, stomach-dropping, mind-blowing moments strongly compel me to give a book 5 stars. I can’t get enough.

I didn’t see the ending of this one coming- not at all. I was so absorbed by this book that I read it in two sittings- punctuated by interruptions from my siblings- but two sittings nonetheless. It’s not unusual for me to finish a book in a day, but I rarely take only two sittings. There were moments when my stomach was swirling and my heart was pounding like I was really there with Pippa (And that never happens to me!)

My favorite thing about this book was that the suspense never stopped. Holly Jackson doesn’t ever pause the plot to insert any YA romance/drama/fluff filler, and it was a wild ride all the way through. Most of the book is purely Nancy Drew-style sleuthing. The story is told in a mixed-media format: It’s partly told in 3rd-person, and partly told in interviews and 1st-person entries in Pippa’s project log, so the reader gets every opportunity to solve the mystery with Pippa. I loved trying to analyze the clues myself as well as seeing Pippa’s thought processes. But even though we got all the clues, I was completely wrong about the ending! Which was fine with me, since I have a love-hate relationship with correctly guessing endings. (I either feel super smart or super annoyed that the solution wasn’t more interesting!) And the humor was spot-on, at least for me; I actually laughed a few times, and I loved Pippa’s character.

Honestly, I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about this book… I wasn’t bored once, I loved the characters, I loved the writing, and I was completely captivated by the story. (It was a lot better than other YA thrillers and mysteries I’ve recently read!) It was SUCH a fun book, and now I’m kind of in a reading slump because I haven’t read anything that good since. I would recommend this to anyone, particularly if you like mysteries/thrillers!

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