A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Book Review
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a young adult mystery novel written by Holly Jackson. Jackson is an English author who has also worked as an editor and a bookseller. The book was published in 2019 and has received widespread critical acclaim. In this review, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the novel, its unique aspects, and its relevance to broader social issues.
The book is set in a small English town called Little Kilton and follows the story of Pippa Fitz-Amobi, a high school senior who is working on her final project. Her project is a reinvestigation of a five-year-old murder case in which Sal Singh was accused of killing his girlfriend, Andie Bell, before committing suicide. Pippa decides to focus on Andie’s case, despite warnings from her friends and family, and uncovers several inconsistencies in the police investigation. With the help of Sal’s younger brother Ravi, Pippa delves deeper into the case, risking her own safety as she gets closer to the truth.
The book deals with themes such as friendship, loyalty, justice, and the unreliability of memory. It also explores the idea of small-town mentality and the impact of social media on investigations.
One of the strengths of the book is its unique narrative structure. The novel is presented as a mixture of Pippa’s investigation notes, transcripts of interviews, and her personal reflections. This format not only keeps the reader engaged but also allows for multiple perspectives and adds depth to the characters.
Another strength of the book is its characterization. Pippa is a smart and resourceful protagonist who challenges the norms of her town and refuses to be silenced. Her relationships with other characters, especially Ravi, are well-developed and provide emotional depth to the story.
However, one weakness of the book is its predictability. Although the book is engaging and well-written, some readers might find the ending to be underwhelming, as it follows the typical formula of a mystery novel.
What makes the book unique and worth reading is its exploration of social media’s impact on investigations. The novel presents a cautionary tale about the dangers of blindly trusting information found online and highlights the importance of critical thinking and skepticism.
The author employs several literary devices, including foreshadowing, red herrings, and misdirection, to keep the reader guessing until the end. The novel also makes effective use of the unreliable narrator technique to create tension and add complexity to the story.
In terms of social issues, the book sheds light on the problem of domestic violence and the impact it has on victims, their families, and their communities. It also addresses the issue of racial profiling and highlights the injustices that people of color face in the criminal justice system.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a compelling mystery novel that would appeal to readers who enjoy the genre. It is suitable for young adults and older readers alike. Although the book is not groundbreaking in terms of its plot, its unique narrative structure and well-developed characters make it a worthwhile read.
The book has won several awards, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award for YA. It has also been a New York Times Bestseller.
Possible questions for a high school test:
- Who is the protagonist of the novel?
- What is Pippa’s final project about?
- What social issues does the book address?
- Pippa Fitz-Amobi
- A reinvestigation of a five-year-old murder case in which Sal Singh was accused of killing his girlfriend, Andie Bell, before committing suicide.
- Domestic violence and racial profiling in the criminal justice system.
Functional details about the book
- ISBN: 9781984896360
- Number of pages: 400
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- First publish date: May 2, 2019
- BISAC Categories: Young Adult Fiction / Mysteries & Detective Stories / Thrillers & Suspense
- Adaptations: The book has been optioned for a television series adaptation.
- The Guardian: “Jackson’s debut is well worth the investment of time and page-turning energy.”
- The New York Times: “This debut mystery is clever and fun.”
Where to buy the book
You can purchase A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder on Bookshop.org.
Is this book part of a series?
About the author
Holly Jackson is an English author and editor. She was born in 1993 and grew up in Buckinghamshire, England. She studied English literature and language at University of Nottingham and worked as a bookseller and then as an editor at Bloomsbury Publishing before becoming a full-time writer. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is her debut novel, which has won several awards, including the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award for YA. She has also written a sequel to the book, Good Girl, Bad Blood, which was published in 2020.
Other best selling books by Holly Jackson include:
- Good Girl, Bad Blood
Jackson is an up-and-coming author who is making a name for herself in the young adult mystery genre.