A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is a YA Mystery Thriller. Filled with twists and turns, it’s a wonderful debut.
Set in Little Kilton, a small English town, the story revolves around a murder investigation.
Pippa Fitz-Amobi, a high-school student, is working on a project as part of her A level. She decides to investigate a case which had rocked the town 5 years ago. 17-year-old Andrea Bell, a popular teen, has been missing. Cops had questioned her boyfriend Sal Singh as part of their investigation, but before they could arrive at a conclusion Sal commits suicide. His suicide is reason enough for all to believe he is the murderer, and the town folks declare his family pariah. But Pip has a gut feeling about Sal’s innocence and thus works on this case for her EPQ project.
Pip takes the help of Sal’s brother Ravi in solving the case. Over the course of her investigation, Pip uncovers many dark secrets. She even receives notes, and warnings threatening her to stop her research. But she continues with her investigation, even putting her life in danger. The final revelation is absolutely shocking, but bordering on disbelief.
Jackson’s writing style is quite impressive. I felt her mastery over the art all throughout. Jackson has sketched the main and minor characters as close to reality as possible. Pip is enthusiastic, witty, intelligent, kind, and organized. She is determined to accomplish the task at hand. Extremely close to her family, and loyal to her friends; it’s hard not to fall in love with her. Of course, she is not perfect. She is reckless sometimes and makes erroneous decisions; but then we need to remember she is a 17-year-old!
Ravi Singh comes out as a well-balanced, sensible guy. He is the perfect partner for Pip, and their chemistry is absolutely superb. I adored him more than Pip. Shunned by the town, his family hasn’t had a closure. His suffering is quite heart tugging. Acting with maturity, he balances Pip’s recklessness.
I liked the fact that there is a diversity in terms of the characters. Jackson has not portrayed them stereotypically; especially the Singh family. Amobi family is of mixed race, well-knit and supportive, which is a positive message for YA audience; since there are way too many novels in this genre with dysfunctional / absent families.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged; a few of them are unexpected! The illustrations, investigative notes, audio interviews and logs make the delivery more interesting. Though the narration keeps switching between 1st and 3rd person, it is not an irritant, and in facts makes it more engaging.
Coming to the plot, it’s slightly unrealistic. The storyline borders on disbelief. I know it’s a YA murder mystery, but I wonder if there are schools where a murder investigation can be the choice of a school project.
I found it strange that people open up to Pip easily and reveal everything. Also, the town seems to have forgotten the missing girl. The treatment meted out to Barney (the pet dog) can be a trigger for readers.
It starts off slowly, but the pace picks up really soon. It’s an enjoyable read, provided one can ignore the plausibility and believability issues. I would definitely read the rest of the books in this series.
Wordsopedia rating 4/5
|Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder||Author: Holly Jackson|
|Publisher: Electric Monkey||Publication date: May 2, 2019|
|Genre: Fiction – YA||Format: Paperback|
|ISBN: 9781405293181||No. of Pages: 433|
Buy your copy here at Amazon.
About the Author
Holly Jackson was born in 1992. She grew up in Buckinghamshire and started writing stories from a young age, completing her first (poor) attempt at a book aged fifteen.
‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ is a YA Mystery Thriller and her debut novel. She lives in London and aside from reading and writing, she enjoys binge-playing video games and pointing out grammatical errors in street signs.
Follow the Author on Instagram.