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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

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

A Reading Goal

At the end of 2022, I pondered at my upcoming goals for the year. After accomplishing 22 things during 2022, 2023 seemed to be coming up fast with no real direction.

But the few months prior, I'd been thinking of the joys and wants I had as a child with one of them being reading.

This was when I decided I needed to get back on the reading train and gave myself a goal of reading 20 books for the new year. Past me would laugh at this goal, but as someone who works a full-time job, likes to see my friends often, runs a blog, is writing a trilogy in my spare time, plus other life things, 20 books seemed like a great start.

At the time, booktube had been filling my feed with current popular reads with one of them being A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (AGGGTM). A trip to Barnes and Noble a little while later, I held my own copy. Let's see if the hype was worth it.

Overview of AGGGTM

Pippa, a straight A student and being the good girl that she is decides to start working on her senior capstone a few months early. Taking interest in how the media affects the social outcomes of murder trails, Pippa finds herself digging a bit more into the local case of Sal Singh and Andie Bell's murder suicide which rocked the town five years prior. The more she digs, the more she realizes it might not be as straight forward as everyone thought. When Pippa beings finding notes threatening her and her family, Pippa has to decide to continue searching for the truth or fail a class for the first time in her life.

The Cons of AGGGTM

· The Title

Not only is AGGGTM a mouthful to say, it seemed as if the author saved naming the book for last. Even though the main character, Pippa, is considered a good student and person to those who know her, this personality trait wasn't defining for the character who seemed to step slightly out of the persona rather quickly. I understand a YA novel of a teen solving a murder isn't new and many titles have problem already been taken, but I think the author could have picked something shorter and more relevant.

The Pros of AGGGTM

· Representation

Usually in murder mystery novels, the characters are the classic white male or female, but in this case, the author represented multiple races while using appropriate names and culture references. The author did a great job balancing this as some author's mention it multiple times in their writing or try too hard to show the representation which can be annoying when reading.

· Characters

Each character was written as if you meet them in person. How they spoke, their mannerisms, physical traits all came together even if someone was only mentioned or appeared for a short amount of time.

· Evidence

As you read, you follow along with Pippa, as she finds documents and information about the case she is working. Unlike most novels where they describe it to you, the author included the actual documents which you can look over. This was super fun because it gives the reader a chance to figure out 'who done it' before the rest of the characters if they have a knowledge of what to look for beforehand.

· Twist Ending

Just when you think you know everything you find out you don't with a crazy twist ending I did not see coming. For people who thought they were able to solve the case, this definitely kept them reading until the end.

· Writing Style and Voice

Not only was this book an easy read but it kept you on your toes due to the writing style, pace, and consistent voice seen throughout.

· Trilogy

AGGGTM is the first in a trilogy where you continue to follow the main character right where the first book leaves off.

Overall Review Summary

As you can see from the cons list, I didn't have many bad things to say about AGGGTM and rightfully so!

AGGGTM kept me on my toes and wanting to read more. The characters were great, even the annoying bad ones you weren't supposed to like. The plot's pace hit at the right points and contained new and exciting scenes. Even though this was a YA novel, it didn't feel like I was reading about an immature child who whined or complained. Instead, you got a 18-year-old who acted her age and was smart about what she was doing even when she put herself in situations she shouldn't be in.

Even though the title is long and should have been something different, the cover is intriguing and stands out on a shelf. The read is fast and easy, which is why I was able to read all three books within a week.

With all this in mind, I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Holly Jackon did a great job with her first ever publication and she just keeps writing. Since 2020 she has not only released the AGGGTM trilogy but also a stand alone and a newly released AGGGTM novella. Of course, I had to read these as well.

If you are looking for a new read or a new favorite author go check out Holly Jackson right now! I'm sure she is going to be popular for the next several years.

Have you read AGGGTM? Tell me in the comments below! If you are wanting another 5-star read, I highly suggest checking out my reviews for Once There Were Wolves and Where the Crawdads Sing.

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