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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Buzzy YA Murder Mystery An Entertaining Romp

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When you want to be an investigative reporter and a murder happens practically in your own backyard, looking into the crime is pretty much a no-brainer.  That's what 17-year-old Pippa Fitz-Amobi thinks anyway.  She needs a kick-butt subject for her senior school project, so she decides to dig into the mystery that has haunted her town for the last five years.  It's not that she expects to solve the case, it's just that she doesn't quite believe the police's conclusions.  If she can cast enough doubt on them, maybe the authorities will reopen the case and search harder for the truth that Pippa knows is out there. 

Pretty and popular, Andie Bell was the same age as Pippa when she disappeared five years ago.  Although her body has never been found, Andie's boyfriend, 18-year-old Sal Singh, became the number one suspect in her supposed murder.  His suicide soon after proved his guilt.  Case closed.  The thing is, Pippa knew Sal and she would swear on her life that he was a good guy, incapable of harming anyone.  His younger brother, Ravi, agrees.  The duo is determined to prove Sal's innocence. 

It soon becomes apparent that someone is not happy with two kids sticking their noses where they don't belong.  And that someone will do anything to keep Pippa and Ravi from looking too closely at Andie's disappearance.  Who is that desperate?  And why?  What really happened to Andie Bell?  Can two high schoolers solve the baffling case or will they be the next to vanish under suspicious circumstances?

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, a debut YA novel by Holly Jackson, received all kinds of excited buzz when it came out earlier this year.  Well deserved?  I think so, although not every reviewer agrees with me (naturally).  For me, it was a well-written, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable read.  While the novel isn't edge-of-your-seat exciting, it moved along at a steady enough pace for me, even surprising me with a few twists I didn't see coming.  Pippa's a fun heroine who's nerdy-cool as well as loyal and determined.  I dug her and Ravi, individually and as a team.  Characters I like + an intriguing plot + skilled writing = a winning combination in my book.  A Good Girl's Guide to Murder was an enjoyable romp for me and I'm excited for its sequel—Good Girl, Bad Blood—which comes out in March 2021. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other YA murder mysteries, including One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus and This is Our Story by Ashley Elston


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, depictions of underage drinking, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Fun! I love that she's investigating this murder for her senior school project. :)

    1. This is actually the second book I've read where a mystery is being investigated for a school project. Why didn't I ever get assigned exciting projects like that??

  2. Well, I agree with you. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was so absorbed in the story. I agree with McManus as a read-alike too. Both authors employ this great combination of mystery, thrills, romance, and basic teen drama

    1. Same. I found this book very engaging. I've only read one McManus book and I liked this one better than that one, but I definitely need to read more of McManus's books. The YA murder mystery trend is one I'm really digging!

  3. This sounds like one I'd like: a little mystery, fun characters, a good attitude.

  4. My teenage daughter really enjoyed this, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I’d like to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. You should definitely read it. It's one of those crossover books that both teens and adults can enjoy. I don't feel that way about every teen book, you know?

  5. This sounds quite good. I like that there are authors writing mystery for YA instead of all fantasy, dystopian and angsty romance. Wonderful review Susan. I think I am going to try and find this one. I also like that school is an integral part of the story, I would have loved to have delved into a mystery when I was in school.


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