Pip Fitz-Amobi isn't a detective anymore but she can't say no to a little investigative work when the family of a disappeared boy beg her for help. A brand new mystery threatens the peace found after Pip solved the Andie Bell case but there are secrets long hidden that need to be revealed to save the new lost soul of Little Kilton.
I had been dying to read this sequel, 'A Good Girl's Guide to Murder' was one of my favourite reads last year and hearing nothing but good reviews for the sequel made me so much more eager to pick up the next instalment. I was not disappointed. Holly Jackson has progressed to another level of awesome with GGBB addressing not only a perfect YA-thriller plot but also serious issues of PTSD and abandonment. I will tell you now that this was a five-star read for me, I powered through the novel in a couple of days instead of one sitting because I desperately wanted to savour it.
Young adult doesn't often see powerful thrillers as there is a line you cannot cross when 'thrilling' the under-18 world of readers. However, Jackson tip-toes over that line just enough to perfectly capture not just young readers but readers of all ages. The plot was not only thrilling but emotional and raw for some characters and I applaud Jackson for addressing these topics with a younger audience. Our main character, Pip, is suffering from PTSD due to the events of the previous novel but is struggling to accept the help and support she needs. I think this was perfectly addressed to show younger readers that suffering alone will never lead to positive outcomes. As someone who is going through my own mental health journey, I loved to see this message being spread far and wide.
As before with Good Girl's Guide the actual layout of this novel stepped it up a notch. combining prose, interviews and podcast recordings made this so easy to read. We were not bogged down with excessively long chapters or trying to understand an unfamiliar format, Jackson attaches her pop-culture knowledge of increasing love for podcasts to make Pip and her story more accessible. Also, as a lover of true-crime podcasts myself, this was something I loved seeing in print.
Now, there are spoilers ahead but I couldn't address the raw sadness I felt at the end of this novel without revealing it. Look away now if you want to find out for yourself!
As big reveals go, this was right at the top for me. Stanley hadn't been a character brought in just for the plot, he was present in Good Girl's Guide and Jackson makes GGBB his big moment. We grew to like Stanley throughout this novel and I was torn apart by his death, he had grown as a person and just wanted to find his home and he found it in Little Kilton. Pip's emotional distress was only deepened by Stanley's death and whilst I mourned for Stanley I had to also mourn for Pip's further loss of innocence. Jackson beautifully captured what it felt like to get so close to happiness to have it ripped away and although I hated her for a while for doing this to me (I was a blubbering wreck), I can only love and adore the writing that made me so powerfully emotional.
Thank you, Holly, for a wonderful instalment of Pip's world, I cannot wait to see the next two!