I stumbled upon Holly Jackson’s debut novel, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by sheer accident and what a wonderful accident it was. You know us book bloggers, always researching and adding books to carts as if we were window shopping at a mall. But for this one I couldn’t resist so I guess you can say that it slipped on through haha. But honestly when I found out this book existed I knew I had to read it. I’m that girl bingeing Criminal Minds reruns. Jackson’s writing blew me away. Like guys I’m not kidding. She was able to write this VERY intricate plot with so many twists and turns that can only blow your mind. No matter how many times I thought I knew what was on the up and up she throws a perfectly crafted curveball that leaves you guessing once again! It’s INSANELY good and even more ADDICTIVE! You can’t help but read this from start to finish. If I could describe this book I would tell you that it’s a mash-up of Pretty Little Liars, Veronica Mars and 13 Reasons Why. I will NOT go into the actual plot because I can’t spoil this complex murder for readers, that would ruin the thrill and all of the suspense which is the entire idea of these books. But just remember, this is a mystery that had me shocked (so it’s a good one!)
I LOVED this book! And here’s why!
The main character, Pippa Fitz-Amobi or ‘Pip’ is a pitbull. She can sense bullshit from miles away and she’s got the ballsy courage to call people out on it. She’s clever and intuitive. And she is relentless. Her thirst for the truth is inspiring. You know those moments where the main character chooses to do that obviously stupid thing? Like hearing a sound and going out alone or when they keep everything to themselves so no one knows what happens to them when their laying in the ditch somewhere offed by the killer? Well Pip isn’t one of those. She’s not stupid. When investigating this girl’s disappearance, she goes after every angle and when she thinks it’s going to be dangerous she recruits help. And when she does go rogue she has the perfect partner to rein her back in.
“Yes, please.’ Pip stood awkwardly in the hallway, trying to take up as little space as possible. ‘Black, please.’
‘I’ve never trusted anyone who takes their coffee black.’
‘How do you have it then?’
‘Milk and three sugars.’
‘Three sugars? Three?’
‘I know. Clearly I’m not sweet enough already.”
Enter Ravi. Oh man, I loved Ravi. He was hilariously charming. But what I liked about him most was how real he acted given his rather sensitive situation to Pip’s research. He is the brother of the accused murderer and yet he keeps on digging with Pip despite all the looks and the whispers. And yeah there were times when Pip was threatened through Ravi and she did that cringe thing of blowing them off in an attempt to save them (which we all know never works) but just like her he could sense that bullshit and called her out on it. It was an adorable moment that showed the main character vulnerable. And for someone as independent and stubborn as Pip that was a great use of a scene between two characters. It shows that even the strongest need help. I won’t spoil the scene by quoting it but just look out for page 304 and have the tissues ready! Ravi knows Pip and this whole story started with them as basic strangers so for her to have him as ‘her person’ you know the one who knows them best it was heartwarming. He was always there for her without rushing their new and tenuous relationship.
“Can’t wait. Maybe then I can add blackmail as a special skill to my resume.’
‘You know you use humour as a defense mechanism when you’re tense?’ Pip smirked at him.
‘Yeah, and you turn into a smartass.”
But not all things are serious between them which again only helps to balance the story and the dynamic between them. They aren’t the same kind of person and Ravi’s jokester personality worked seamlessly with Pip letting loose just a tiny bit from all the seriousness and she needed that. This balance contributes to the realness of this book and the murder. It’s not farfetched. These personalities make this story believable and you can’t help but get sucked in to Pip’s investigation and Ravi’s contagiously cute charm. These two remind me of Charlotte and Jamie from Brittany Cavallaro’s, Study in Charlotte series inspired by the infamous Sherlock and Watson duo. It’s the balance and chemistry between these characters that make them similar dynamics and both play wonderfully to the murder plots they face in their respective stories.
I have so much love for this book its crazy. It was so well written. Amazingly thorough characters. And an incredibly unpredictable plot to keep a reader (even a well versed criminal minds fan like me) guessing. I can only hope to write a book half as good as this one. Well done, Holly Jackson. One more thing I have to applaud at is the format this book took to layout the story and all the events along Pip’s investigation. It was stunningly brilliant because it broke up dense paragraphs into easy chunks that acted in in place of dialogue (for interviews or phone calls) and it also displayed evidence in a creative way that didn’t have you missing photo or video footage because the words she wrote did the trick instead. It’s hard to explain but trust me, when you start reading this you’ll see what I mean right away and it makes all the difference. It reminded me of my top read for 2019, Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall. Taking the care and visualizing a way to use words to express this research as Pip gathers it just adds to the realness of the plot while simultaneously making it professional and effective.
I will impatiently wait for the next book (hopefully its soon haha) A Good Girl’s guide to murder has left me in awe and it is hands down my FAVOURITE book of 2020 so far. The next book comes out April 30th and I will be there to get it haha! It’s titled, Good Girl, Bad Blood and I’m here for it!
If you’re like me and you love a good mystery check out Brittany Cavallaro’s, A Study in Charlotte series or Karen M. Mcmanus’s One of us is lying debut because both have great stories that center complex mysteries. And although I haven’t read (YET!! Shocking I know) Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious trilogy I’ve only heard good things about it and it is also a YA mystery thriller whose plot surrounds a cold case and one ambitious main character (I’ve read her other series, Shades of London which was incredible so I have high hopes for the Truly Devious series as well! And with the last book in that trilogy having been released this past January I have no doubt that it will be on my TBR very soon!). If you’ve already read these and loved them might I suggest Diana Urban’s debut novel, All your twisted lies which was released just this month!