Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson
Nikki says: I heard about this book ages ago but I always put off reading it as I figured a YA crime book would never be ‘stimulating’ enough, or complex enough for me, a self proclaimed super sleuth. But, my daughter (12) borrowed it from her school library over the Christmas break, loved it and recommended it to me so I thought I’d go for it, even if only to have something to share with her.
Pip is about to embark on her final year of sixth form and has chosen to investigate a local crime for her EPQ (an independent research project). 5 years previously another student, Andie Bell, mysteriously disappeared, her body never found. Police quickly came to the conclusion that Andie’s boyfriend Sal Singh, had murdered her when he turned up dead from an apparent suicide a few days later. This conclusion has never sat right with Pip and so she sets out to uncover the truth.
At first I wasn’t sure about the book. The first couple of pages are Pip outlining her EPQ idea on the official exam board cover sheets and it gave me horrible flashbacks to marking these projects when I was a teacher. Once I got past that though the story actually picks up really quickly and throws you straight in to unravelling the mystery. There were plenty of little clues and red herrings throughout so my detective brain was happy with that and the outcome wasn’t predictable as I’d feared it might be. There was even a sneaky twist at the end so even when I thought I’d nailed it there was one last surprise.
I’m so glad I read this book. It’s rekindled my love for a good murder mystery. I read the whole thing so quickly, shouting theories at my daughter the whole way through, and I dived straight into the second book as soon as this one was done. I think Holly Jackson has just secured a place as one of my automatic buy authors.
⚠️ There are obvious triggers here surrounding murder and suicide, this is clear from the outset, but later in the book there are references to drugs and girls at parties being drugged and sexually assaulted. Though these incidents aren’t mentioned in any detail the word rape/rapist is used once or twice. I don’t think these elements of the story are presented in a way that might be triggering but it’s always good to know, and helpful when choosing books for slightly younger readers. My daughter is 12 and though I might have held off suggesting this book for another year or so if I had read it before her, I think those elements probably just passed her by as she (thankfully) has no prior experience of them.
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Genre: YA Crime