"A Good Girl's Guide to Murder" is a crime thriller YA novel by Holly Jackson. (Penguin Random House)
Westminster High School

Review: Crime thriller novel ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ is irresistible

High stakes. A proclaimed murderer who is considered beloved by the neighborhood. Unsolved for five years. A dangerous secret lurks beneath the cold-blooded case. “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson is an instant shocker that will leave you on the edge of your seat. 


 Five years ago, highschooler Andie Bell was murdered by beloved Sal Singh. Everyone knows Sal committed the murder, but no one knew his intentions or why he committed the act. Pippa Fitz-Amobi, skeptical about the murder case, decides to find the secret behind the murder case as her final project for school. As she dives deeper into the unknown, someone lurking becomes desperate to keep the truth hidden. Will Pip find the actual murderer, or will she lose her life first?


Symptoms after reading this book: a quickening heartbeat, a maddening desire to turn the pages, and a long contemplation of the events of this book, disrupting sleep. Spellbinded by the first page, I was captivated by the emotional intensity, plot twists, and characterization of this luscious novel.

The plot itself is a rollercoaster of a journey, fast-paced, and ultimately addicting, so prepare yourself to become hooked. The cast is diverse, and the main character, Pip, is a relatable and intriguing character to follow throughout the novel. She is determined to fulfill her goals and her passion for becoming a journalist.

It is common for books to have many characters as suspects, witnesses, and assistance for the main character in mystery novels. A central issue with some of the books that try to tackle mystery-type stories is creating bland characters that readers cannot become attached to. Ultimately, the book becomes dropped because of the lack of characterization.

However, in this book, all the characters are memorable in their own right–given traits that make characters stand out — and ultimately, I remembered most of the characters through their striking emotional connections by the end of the book. Throughout the novel, the story jumps from Pip’s life to her investigation entries which balance each other and create a sense of dread and fear for what is to come if Pip finds the murderer. 

Although I have been ravishing this book, it still has its flaws. For one, the plot twist can be predictable to some readers. Furthermore, some events in this book can be unrealistic. For example, when Pip interviews people who were tied to the murder case, apparently, the detectives never bothered to interview any of them, which is relatively strange. Sometimes, the evidence appears on coincidence as well, also making it seem nonsensical. Although this book does suffer from flaws, it is still a fantastic read. 

“A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” is the type of novel in which the moment you pick it up, you will read it everywhere, from under the covers with a flashlight in one hand to in the morning where you are supposed to pay attention at school.

I would recommend this book to every single mystery young adult lover out there because it will undoubtedly make hearts skip beats. Even if you are not interested in young adult, I highly advocate giving it a try because it is unquestionably worth your time. If you have already read this book, I would suggest “One of Us is Lying” by Karen M. McManus and “The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Both are fantastic mysteries that will devour your time in the most satisfying ways imaginable.