A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson | Blogmas Day 11

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

Blogmas Day 11

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Series: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1
: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA, Mystery
: February 4th, 2020 (Delacorte Press)

Synopsis: Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent…and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.


For her senior year project, Pippa Fitz-Amobi decides to reinvestigate a closed murder case that happened in her own town. Five years ago, 17 year old Andie Bell went missing, and was presumed murdered by her boyfriend Sal. Pip has always felt that there was more to the story, and she decides to find out, using her project as a convenient cover, what really happened to Andie that night, and if Sal was really guilty. But her investigation takes a turn as she begins to notice several inconsistencies in the official narrative, stumbling onto some dark secrets and it quickly becomes clear that someone in town doesn’t want Pip to go digging into the past – and they’re willing to go to any extent to stop her.

Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading this book, I have to say, I definitely see what all the fuss is about! The pacing and narration is highly reminiscent of the Nancy Drew novels, in the sense that while it wasn’t completely action packed but more sequences of the characters trying to reason out the chain of events and motives of potential suspects. It is, in my opinion, the kind of mystery you can sit back and enjoy rather than being completely overwhelmed by reveal upon reveal with no time to breathe – it gave me as a reader time to do some thinking on my own too, and it was a proper whodunnit mystery, which is my favourite kind.

I like how the investigation was presented from different perspectives as the narrative alternates between diary pages, Pip’s written updates on her findings, interview recordings, emails and of course, her actual sleuthing which was the best part. It makes for a very interesting read and feels like you’re solving the mystery right alongside Pip. Pip was a great character, intelligent and level-headed, and one who was easy to root for, and it was fun watching her work with Sal’s brother Ravi to prove his innocence and discover the truth. There are no end of twists and turns in this story, and while some are predictable, most are not, and I didn’t start to put together the pieces until the very end. I loved that even after everything seemed to be said and done, there was still one more twist left to end the story with a bang.

So where did one star drop off? From a realistic perspective, the inconsistencies in the original investigation started becoming obvious within the first few chapters, and it’s hard to believe that the police wouldn’t have noticed any of it. It also strains credibility the lengths to which Pippa has no trouble going for a school paper, from blackmailing drug dealers, breaking into houses and more. As carefully constructed as the rest of the book was, the ending felt a little rushed for my taste as Pip runs off to confront the murderer without any backup, and on top of that letting her guard down there, which was a rather stupid thing to do. Also…did they really have to do that to the dog? I hate it when pets are hurt in books, even more than actual characters. Dog aside though, what really troubled me was how Pip was willing to set aside and ignore some major discoveries she had made just not to get her friends in trouble – she does realize it’s a murder she’s investigating right?

You definitely need to suspend some level of disbelief with this book, but overall, it was an enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read the sequel and it’s probably the ARC I’m most excited about being approved for this winter. It looks like each story in this series is likely going to be a standalone for the most part, which I’m glad for, since I feel that the best mysteries wrap up in a single book where the tension and anticipation can be maintained as it was in this one. With how well written and riveting this book is, it’s hard to believe this is the author’s debut, and I’m looking forward to reading more books by her in the future. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder would be a great choice for YA readers and mystery fans alike. Highly recommended!

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:

14 thoughts on “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson | Blogmas Day 11

  1. thathappyreader December 11, 2020 / 12:37 pm

    I hate animal cruelty in books in movies as well, and this would definitely be a deterrent to reading the book for me. Great review on a debut author!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) December 17, 2020 / 5:28 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I never understand why they have to bring the poor pets into the story and then hurt them 😟


  2. Gobookmart.com December 11, 2020 / 1:34 pm

    Oh.. this seems interesting.. i am picking this up for my next read and review 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tiffany McCullough - Metaphysical Mama December 11, 2020 / 2:25 pm

    It sounded great until you said the dog got hurt. I hate when they hurt animals in movies and books. Other than that though, it sounds like a fun read. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) December 17, 2020 / 5:29 pm

      Thanks for reading! Same here 😟 It was already a great read and hurting the dog just felt so unnecessary.


  4. Jaya Avendel December 11, 2020 / 4:21 pm

    I love murder mystery books, especially stories set around inaction that suddenly turns to action! It is easy to let sleeping dogs lie, but I admire the people who wake the dogs up with bones in hand and Pippa sounds interesting. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) December 17, 2020 / 5:31 pm

      That really is the best kind of mystery! It builds up the tension just right and Pippa is a great sleuth, so it’s a lot of fun watching her put the pieces together. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marta the Monogamist Reader December 13, 2020 / 5:30 am

    Great review!! This book is in every feed, but again for some reasons I don’t think I am the right audience. I am glad you enjoyed though 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Monique December 18, 2020 / 7:33 am

    I haven’t read this book but having read your review, I bet it’s thrilling and nerve-racking. Mystery is fun. Continue to make book reviews! That’s one of the many ways to appreciate authors and readers alike.


    Liked by 1 person

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