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The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

Book Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

In a world where the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder stands out as a captivating tale that delves into the themes of morality, justice, and truth. This young adult mystery novel by author Holly Jackson is not just a thrilling page-turner—it is also a meaningful exploration of important themes that are as relevant in the fictional town of Fairview as they are in our everyday lives.
Readers are drawn into the story by the tenacious and intelligent protagonist Pippa Fitz-Amobi, who took it upon herself to investigate a closed murder case that left her small town reeling. What first started as her senior capstone project, Pippa began to dig into the murder of high schooler Andie Bell, a case that occurred five years ago. Everyone, including the police and the jury, concluded that Sal Singh—Andie’s boyfriend at the time—murdered the young girl. The case was soon closed with no further investigation and Pippa had no way to verify Sal’s guilt—only a few days later, he was also pronounced dead by suicide. When Pippa began to research this closed case, she was not so sure that Sal was the killer. So, enlisting Sal’s younger brother Ravi Singh, the two investigated this murder mystery together, determined to bring Sal to justice. However, their small town was not easy to convince as people desperately held onto their widely shared belief that Sal was the murderer. But if Sal didn’t kill Andie, who did?
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is not just a novel for mystery enthusiasts but for anyone who appreciates a well-crafted story that keeps them on the edge of their seat. It is quite the thriller that kept me engrossed from the very first page. As the story unfolds, it introduces a wide cast of characters, each with their own backgrounds and secrets, which adds depth to the narrative and keeps readers invested in the outcome.
In my opinion, this book was genuinely well-written from a technical standpoint. One of the most compelling aspects of the novel is how Jackson masterfully reveals information about each potential suspect, ensuring that the reader’s interest is maintained throughout the story. The investigation itself is quite intricately crafted through interviews, articles, and reports; the reader is constantly forced to reevaluate their theories and assumptions about the case—to the extent that the story truly feels like you are solving the murder just as much as Pippa and Ravi! Many questions arose as I read along. Who was the real killer? Could Andie be alive? Did Sal actually do it? Of course, the climax of the novel is particularly noteworthy, and the big revelation of the murderer’s identity is satisfying and left my jaw dropping at the moment.
However, there are a few areas of the novel that could be improved. For instance, while the characters are generally well-developed, some of the secondary characters feel slightly one-dimensional, such as Pippa’s friends—Cara and Lauren—as well as the people whom Sal was affiliated with, including his close friend Naomi. The plot could have also benefited from further exploration of the murderer’s backstory. While the pacing of the novel is generally strong, there are a few instances towards the climax where the story feels slightly rushed, as some of the important details of solving the case are thrown out there at once.
Despite these minor flaws, the novel is an undeniably captivating read that is sure to keep you engaged from start to finish. In terms of themes, it prompts readers to reflect on important issues such as the complexities of the justice system, the power of truth, and the morality of individuals. These themes are woven seamlessly into the narrative, adding an extra layer of depth to the story and making it more than just a simple murder mystery.
Overall, I would not hesitate to give A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder a solid 10/10, and I am eager to start the next book in the series!

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