Pippa Fitz-Amobi (known as Pip) could be seen as your average teenager from the surface. She’s a model student, whilst still finding her way in life, and can see the good in everyone. She also values the truth above else, which is why Pip chooses to personally investigate a murder that happened in her small hometown of Kilton five years ago, where a student from her school, popular girl Andie Bell was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Sal Singh, who committed suicide before any confession could be made, or Andie’s body located.
The majority of Kilton’s community are happy to believe that Sal murdered Andie, and have all but vilified his family despite Sal never having his day in court. Pip is confident that all is not as it seems, and sets out to unravel the truth by any means necessary.
True to her academic goals, Pip makes the investigation the basis of her extended project for school, and throughout the book, the format changes to show transcripts of interviews, logs and pictures. Holly Jackson perfectly combines the Young Adult and Thriller genre, without overstepping the mark too much on either. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is not so graphic that it would be unsuitable for the younger readership it is aimed towards, whilst at the same time, is interesting and detailed enough to appeal to other audiences as well.
What made this read even more interesting was as you can see the logs that Pip writes, the reader feels almost as if they are working with her to discover the true identity of the killer. So, as the plot develops and twists appear, the reader becomes just as frustrated with Pip and the book becomes impossible to put down.
One of my favourite elements of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is how Holly Jackson writes teenagers in general. I’ve read a lot of Young Adult novels that shy away from having their teens swear, or drink, or behave in anyway that could seem unsavoury or prompt the young readership to behave in the same way. However, Holly Jackson gets the balance spot on, and whilst Pip and her friends do swear and meet up for the odd beer, it’s never the main focus. The focus is always on the bigger picture, with the other elements just part of the group dynamic, and the society that these teens are in.
Even though I’m not a teenager, Pip felt a lot more reliable as a character with these descriptions, as I could link how she acted to my own experience, along with other teenagers. Holly Jackson also describes body language brilliantly, which made the process of trying to figure out who was lying when Pip interviewed them, even more thrilling.
In conclusion, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a great read for young adults who are looking at reading a thriller for the first time, as it opens the door into the genre, whilst at the same time being just as thrilling for those who are familiar with suspense and murder mystery.
5 out of 5 stars.
2021 Reading Challenge – Book 7 out of 50.