A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Because half less of a bad thing meant there was room for half good. Holly Jackson

Before I get into this review there are *SPOILERS* ahead, I could not review this without revealing what happened along the way. If you want to find out what happens for yourself STOP HERE. If you cannot be bothered to read it yourself or you just want someone else’s view then by all means proceed.

Pip is your typical A* student, studying every chance she gets and applying to Cambridge to study English (my dream by the way). Even taking on the extra task of an EPQ which normally would add onto any normal person’s workload at least slightly but Pip takes on a mammoth task; trying to solve who the real killer in Little Kilton really is. Sal Singh was convicted of the murder of Andie Bell five years ago but Pip never believed he did it and is on a mission to prove his innocence.

I was so excited for this book but was a little disappointed to begin with. It was a slow start, not really getting anywhere fast only really looking at how this event was something that everyone else was trying to forget and how hard Pip would have to work. Everything I had heard about this book was that it was Pip trying to prove Sal’s innocence, so I assumed that Sal was going to be involved but we find out a few pages in that he committed suicide after the disappearance of his girlfriend Andie Bell, the police took this and a text sent from his phone as a confession of guilt and closed the case.

The main pull on this book was that it was for fans of ‘SERIAL’ which was a podcast created to try and prove the innocence of Adnan Syed who was convicted in February 2000 for killing his then girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Multiple appeals have been requested for a re-trail (most recently as two days ago) but to be honest, I don’t think any jury could make a sound conclusion anymore based on the media attention his case has received and the podcast has created the opposite effect – but that is just my opinion. Anyway, story sounds similar, right? That’s what I thought. For the first few pages I couldn’t shake that I was just reading a fictional reenactment of the whole case. I didn’t love ‘SERIAL’ and I could eventually appreciate that although this book was in all likelihood based on these events, it did come into it’s own later on with the formatting and creativity Jackson emits into it. By the end of the book I was completely happy to consider this a separate entity to the ‘SERIAL’ case, and Jackson would have benefited heavily from the connection not being made with the advertisement of her book because it was all I could think about for the first third of the book, this dragged me away from what was in fact an incredibly well written story.

Changing between Pip’s ‘Production Log’ and the main narrative was a little difficult to begin with since it changed from first person in the log and then third person in the narrative without explanation. It became easier the longer I read but I didn’t necessarily see the point of it. The story could have easily just have been told through first person as we never really strayed from Pip’s point of view even in the third-person narration. This is just a preference, the book still read amazingly once I got into the swing of it.

Other than my own preference to narrative there was little else to fault with this book. I had guessed that Elliot was going to be the killer, he had been too easily dismissed in the earlier pages and although we are to assume this is due to Pip’s connection to him, I had a sneaky suspicion it was because we weren’t finished with him. However, I did not see the whole part about Becca coming and I was shook. I love a story where the ending is a complete surprise. We thought we were done when Elliot is arrested but there were a few unanswered questions I thought would just be left in the air, but Pip wanted answers and so did I. She followed the clues back round to Becca Bell, ANDIE’S SISTER! And although she didn’t kill her, she let her die and hid the body and I just was flabbergasted by this ending. I was blown away with how Jackson managed to incorporate this ending into the book and make it look like a completely natural line of thought. It could have been a total disaster but it was handled beautifully.

PS. I ship Pip and Ravi, so hard.

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