Book Reviews

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Book Review

“Pit bull,” Pip said. “It’s pit bulls that don’t let things go.”

Holly Jackson – a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Picture by me!
Rating: 5/5 tacks! (stars).

Synopsis

Pippa is a high school student that has chosen to work on a closed kidnapping/murder case, in her hometown, her senior capstone project. Everyone knows what happened five years ago, but Pip isn’t so sure. As she digs deeper and deeper into the case, she slowly uncovers different clues that just aren’t adding up to what the town believes happened. Pip makes it her goal to discover what actually happened in her town all those years ago, no matter what it takes!

My Thoughts (Spoiler Free)

Characters:

  • I love, love, love Pippa! She is such a strong , dedicated character and she is just perfect! She’s hard-working and when she sets her mind on something, she works hard to reach it! She’s funny and sarcastic, but kind and loving to her friends and family. Her dedication to solving this mystery is one of the aspects that had me not wanting to put this book down! Normally, a character with these traits would bore me, but it worked very well for Pippa and the plot of this book.
  • Ravi is a close second to favorite character! He’s hilarious and, despite, his family’s circumstances, makes light of situations. He and Pippa have great chemistry together and work well as friends.
  • Pippa’s Family: Love them! Her mom, step-dad, and brother have such a great dynamic. It’s not often book’s portray families in the way that Holly Jackson did. The family is diverse, loving, and doesn’t have significant drama going on. A lot of books I read, the parents are separated and only one is in the picture, a parent is dead, a parent is abusive, and so on. Not in this family! It was a breath of fresh air to read about the Fitz-Amobi family!
  • The Bell Family: This is the family of Andie, the girl that was murdered five years ago. This family rubs me the wrong way. They went through something tragic, but the way Jackson describes them, especially the dad, just poses them as creepy and not quite right.
  • The Ward Family: This is like a second family to Pippa. She’s known Mr. Ward and his two daughters FOREVER; so long that she is treated as one of their own. I, personally, loved this dynamic as well. I loved the relationship that the Ward sisters had with Pippa and how they just seemed like extended family that lived in a different home.
  • There are some other characters that I’m not going to get into! These are the ones that left the biggest impact on me (enough to want to write about anyway!).

Plot/Writing

  • I don’t really like contemporary novels as much, but I like a good mystery! I had zero clue what to expect when I read the title of this book. However, it did not disappoint! I really appreciated the mixed media format of this book. It made me feel like I was Pippa writing my own capstone project! It was fun to see how she wrote her log entries and interviews, because they were in first person. Then, when it was present timing, the story was written in third person.
  • The topic was unique. I had a billion different theories (all wrong…sigh) building up from the first few pages of the book. Jackson did a nice job investing me, the reader, in the story from the very beginning. Using Pippa’s capstone project as a way to bring back this case was creative and intriguing, especially because it was a high schooler working on it!
  • Jackson did a great job leading the reader on one path but then taking the story in a different path. I thought I had the mystery solved and then Pippa would discover something else and I’d have to start from scratch. It was fun to try and keep track of everything.

Overall:

  • I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s easy to read and follow, and will have you wanting to solve the mystery ASAP! Even if this isn’t usually a book genre you gravitate toward, give it a try!

If you don’t want to read any spoilers, stop here! If you’ve read this book, I’d love to talk about your thoughts and theories with you! It’s always fun to see what others think!

STOP: Spoilers from here on out!

Content/Trigger Warnings for this book: Murder, Suicide, Self-Harm, Adult/Minor Relationships, Sexual Assault, Rape of a Minor, drugs/alcohol, Racism, Verbal/Mental Abuse

My Theories of What Happened in 2014…

I made notes as I read this book, writing out different theories I had as I went. They were all wrong, but at least I tried! Like I said above, Holly Jackson did a great job leading me in one direction and then introducing 5 more ways that the story could go!

Theory 1: Andie faked her death and had her older lover kill Sal so that she could be with the older person. Andie then was alive and living somewhere that no one knew about her.

Theory 2: Andie’s dad killed her. I didn’t have a reason. He was described as a sketchy character and Pippa had me believing it could have been him.

Theory 3: Mr. Ward killed killed Andie. Then, I changed my thoughts to he was in love with her and he thought he saved her, but it was actually the girl that she bullied, that looked a lot like Andie. Then, Andie was impersonating that girl back in their hometown (this one is crazy).

Theory 4: For a hot minute I was worried Ravi may have played some part, but luckily it didn’t take that turn.

Theory 5: The cop killed Andie. She had slept with him and bullied his sister. He had reason to do so, especially since he would know how to hide it better than someone that wasn’t a cop.

Again…all of my theories were VERY wrong, but it was fun trying to piece it all together. I would make a horrible detective and shouldn’t quit my day job…there goes my dreams (kidding). I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it! Let’s talk about theories!

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