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

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is one of a trend of young-adult mystery books making waves in the genre recently. Well, within the last year or two. From my reading perspective it seemed Karen McManus’ ‘One of Us is Lying’ paved the way to create an interest for readers unaccustomed to hyped mystery-themed novels in the young-adult genre.

With this in mind, Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was expected to be ‘just another YA mystery’. The cute cover, the hype and positive reviews had me swayed to add this to my TBR however. I read this in Buddy Read form with Willow from Willow Writes and Reads.

The story, set in a small town, follows the character Pippa as she explores the murder and mystery behind the death of Andie Bell by her assumed murderer, Sal Singh. Pippa’s curiosity, skepticism and tenacity (sometimes to a dangerous level) gave this story the spark it needed. What could have been an unadventurous tour through this small town’s history was instead written with a light amount of suspense and a deep thread of intrigue.

Pippa’s character development, seen through a loss of naïveté, explored the concept of ‘how well do you know the people closest to you?’. It was chilling to read at times – purely because it seemed steeped in reality. How much do we know about those we love?

Pippa befriending the younger brother of Andie’s supposed killer, Ravi Singh, was an unconventional twist that I hadn’t expected in this story. This happened early on, so it isn’t really a spoiler, but the change it made to the pace and nature of Pippa’s investigation was remarkable. Instead of merely investigating the circumstances behind Andie Bell’s death, Pippa decided to try and prove Sal’s innocence. A tall order in a town convinced he’s the murderer.

Jackson took something so simple – an easily explained tragic murder from the past – and heated it up to the point where I couldn’t put this book down. As we followed Pippa’s investigation, with inclusion of interviews and commentary, I found myself completely stumped as to predicting the ending of this book. With multiple red herrings and an abundance of suspects, Jackson managed to leave me in suspense until the very end. And even then – once I thought I had it figured out – double whammy. She surprised again.

Jackson’s exploration of small-town racism and the fatal impact that can have on others’ lives – such as Sal Singh’s suicide – was a prominent theme throughout. I’m glad this topic was covered as it highlighted the negative impact actions like these can have on others through no fault of their own, such as the scathing treatment toward the Singh’s after Sal’s death.

If you’re after a book that has all of the mystery of an adult novel, without some of the danger, then you’re in the right place. I read this in paperback format but think an audiobook version would be fantastic with all of the interviews involved. I’ll be continuing with the series in Good Girl, Bad Blood soon!

5 Stars

Top 5 Sat: Male POV Romances (*sigh*)

Oh boy, oh boy! My excitement for the spin I’m taking on this week’s topic is in proportion to how much I love the suit featured above. In other words: A LOT.

Thank you (from the bottom of my suit-loving heart) Mandy at Devouring Books. Not only is your meme one of my faves but you’ve seriously just MADE MY WEEK with this topic.

As I enjoy this narration style it’s safe to say I’ve pretty much read it all and am going to share with you: The Five Male POV Romances I Want to Re-Read.


Tangled – Drew is an arrogant asshole until he meets Katherine. She’s competitive and just the right amount of sarcastic to challenge Drew. As all of these stories go… they fall in love. What truly makes this book special to read though is the fact that it starts out with Drew having the ‘flu’ AKA = heartbreak. It’s a unique spin on how romances normally go down and this is a book I’ll just keep rereading.

Sustained – Pay attention, I’m about to share something dear to my heart: Jake Becker. He is hands-down in my top 5 male characters OF ALL TIME. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s just such an honest, hard-working and considerate guy (despite also being kinda a callous dick). When he steps up to help Chelsea McQuaid, aunt to six orphaned children, my heart starts to melt. Yes this is practically a trashy read. I don’t care though. I’d sell my soul for Jake Becker!

The Sea of Tranquility – This is one of the few angsty YA contemporary romances that I enjoyed enough to want to read again. I spent majority of this book trying to figure out the main characters. They’re clear as day and yet… the author hints and teases with deeper secrets and backstory that only get revealed toward the end. I didn’t predict any of it (though I can be quite naive so bear that in mind, I suppose)! It was a fun read and Josh was such a sweetheart.

Leaving Paradise – Elkeles is hands-down my go-to slow burn love story (well, after Mariana Zapata). We’ll consider them different though as Elkeles writes mainly YA. If you’re a fan of Zapata I implore you to give something by Elkeles a try. What I adored about Caleb was his ready acceptance of others, especially ‘the freak’ Maggie. It’s told with a realistic twist where characters have physical flaws and young adults are capable of an unlikely inner strength. This story touched my heart.

Rule – Synonymous with BAD BOY, Rule is that classic arrogant ass that just needs to unleash his vulnerable side *sigh* (are you sensing a trend here?). What I adored about this book, even more than the pairing between Rule and Shaw (who is an awesome, no-nonsense female lead), are the side characters. The other characters who make up the ‘Marked Men’ tattoo studio (which sounds sexist as some of them are women!) are truly great. It’s a great mix of family-by-blood and family-by-choice with just the right amount of drama and action to keep the series interesting. If you’re looking for a trashy, but oh-so-fun summer read then this is it!

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales – Book Review

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Retelling/ LGBT Romance
Publication Date: March 2020

Summer love…gone so fast.

Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he’s fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairy tale ending, and to complicate the fairy tale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to…except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

This was such a cute read! I started this book before bed and lost most of my night’s sleep eagerly reading it all in one sitting. It’s been a while since a book has stolen my complete attention (and sleep) like this!

I initially added this book to my TBR as it was said to have been a retelling of the movie Grease which is one of my ALL-TIME comfort-watch faves. What more could you ask for than summer romance followed by an enemies-to-lovers?

Ollie was such a genuine and open character in this story. I truly felt for him and this put me at odds with the obvious HEA that was to come. Will just wasn’t a great character at the start of this book (as expected, I suppose?) however, I dislike him more than I had expected to. His rudeness and ignorance of Ollie’s feelings was pretty harsh. I kept hoping that Ollie would give up on him. There were parts of the book where I wanted to shout at Ollie “YOU’RE PERFECT AS YOU ARE. YOU DON’T NEED A MAN TO COMPLETE YOU.”

At which point Ollie stole my heart (even more, if that’s possible?) by declaring the same thing to Will. There was a lot of (silent) cheering on my end at this. It was 2am, of course.

Despite my dislike of Will, he slowly won me over with his thoughtful actions (near the end of the book). It did seem to take him longer than necessary to get to this point though and if I’m being honest, I think Ollie still deserved better.

The side characters, Ollie’s friend group, were a take on The Pink Ladies and made up for any of my anger toward Will. They were real, angsty teens with relatable struggles concerning their futures, sexualities and self-esteem. I adored them!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am rating it 4 stars. Despite disliking Will throughout (almost) the entire book, I adored Ollie and The Pink Ladies. This story dealt with some deeper themes that are relatable for anyone experiencing/reminiscing their teen years.

4 STARS