book reviews, spoiler free

A Good Girls Guide To Murder…

cover145858-medium.pngA Good Girls Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Rating; XXXXX

Published: May 2nd 2019 by Electric Monkey

“This project is no longer the hopeful conjecture is started life as…An innocent life was taken and everyone in this town turned it ugly in their mouths…”

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. Almost everyone. Having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi chooses the case as the topic for her final project. But when Pip starts uncovering secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden, what starts out as a project begins to become Pip’s dangerous reality . . .

I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to Electronic Monkey who gave me the opportunity to win an advanced copy of this book at YALC (which I won on the last day), even if you monsters did tear out the last few chapters from the ARCs (I actually thought this was a fun and clever way to get more people talking about this debut book as well as being able to tell just how many people read the arcs). Thank you to Charlotte and Hannah for telling me all about this book and introducing me to Holly! Thank you to Holly Jackson for many things! For taking the time to talk to me and my friends at YALC, for meticulously signing my book etc and for writing said absolute rollercoaster ride of a book.

A Good Girls Guide to Murder is set up fantastically as part narrative, part school report where main character Pippa talks to us directly about her findings and theories giving the reader a real sense of closeness and inclusion into what’s happening and where Pips train of thought is going. Not only is the format well chosen but the writing style chosen to accompany it feels spot on, it drips with mystery and unanswered questions. Holly is very good at feeding us just the right amount of information so that it feels like we a good level of understanding without being bogged down with too many uninteresting info dumps. Of course, then she artfully pulls the floor out from under you leaving you to wonder which way is up and question everything you think you know while you piece together every single scrap of evidence you can get your hands on.

As Pip investigates the narrative is pleasingly organic, nothing feels especially twee or too much of a coincidence, I love that Pippa is resourceful, determined, loves to study and sticks up for what she believes in. I also realised while waiting for the last few chapters to arrive (as mentioned previously, they had been ripped out and a ransom note of sorts left with a contact email for the publisher to receive access to the last few chapters), that none of the things Pip does are particularly out of the realms of possibility for an ordinary teenager which I really liked.

One of my favourite things about this twisty book is that everyone feels untrustworthy at one point or another as things change and different pieces of information and evidence come to light, I think throughout this book I’ve suspected almost everyone at least once. A Good Girls Guide to Murder as a brilliantly realised, deliciously tense tale of whodunnit wrapped in danger and betrayal.

 

 

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book reviews, crone book club

The Exact Opposite of Okay

35817737The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Published: March 8th 2018 by Electronic Monkey

Rating: XXXXX

“Basically, if you’re a woman, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…
I had seen this book a few times and sadly did my usual, “oh its contemporary, I don’t know if I’m that interested” and passed it by. I need to stop doing this (that’s a whole other blog post) because I almost missed this AMAZING book. Thankfully Jenn from the #CroneBookClub picked this as our read for May and I managed to just squeeze it in after this months other reads and WOW. I’m so glad for it.
This book is something I would recommend every person on the planet read. Not just because it’s a great read but also because of the situations and messages portrayed within the story that are SO important and need to be understood by men, women, girls, boys and honestly any other gender on the spectrum because we live in a world where too many of us tear each other down, we emotionally manipulate those we supposedly care about and are emotionally manipulated by them and slut shaming is so rampant and practised by so many, not to mention the terrifying wave of revenge porn ushered in with the birth of camera phones and social media. Although stereotypically we find men behind revenge porn and spouting about the imaginary friend zone just as women tend to be some of the worst for slut shaming and I want to address first that I know this isn’t always the way. Any gender and sexuality is capable of these things but during this review I’ll be using the examples used within the book.
I managed to read The Exact Opposite of Okay in about three sittings and could not put it down. The story is written in a blog post format that I’m becoming increasingly fond of, it gives the narrative an extra twist of personality and is the perfect way of bringing Izzy’s particular brand of humour across, I especially liked the added closed captions often explaining or adding more information and comments from a later date as well. I think this easy to read format was one of the reasons it was such a quick read for me, possibly because I’m a blogger or a young(ish – haha) enough person that I’ve been around technology for a good deal of my life and therefore read a lot of information in this kind of format.
The personality of the characters in this feel done very well and I had no trouble remembering who was who and what they were like etc. I found myself very protective of Izzy and Ajita and I did have to have a brief break to rant and rave to my poor husband about how people need to mind their own business re: slut shaming etc and a long intense full on rant about how the friend zone is a stupid figment of imagination dreamed up by “butt hurt” men (again I know not always men but in this case it was relevant to the situation and my personal experience). This is a good thing, this book should make people angry at the injustices that the main character and others are subjected to because these things happen every single day to people around us and that is not okay. This book feels like it stoked a fire that had previously just been simmering embers inside me and it made me so mad for the people events like these affect.
I was extremely satisfied with the ending which is a rarity for me, I usually don’t like endings but this felt like it ended right and I was happy with it.
After Laura Steven herself joined the Crone Book Club for their monthly chat to discuss her book she revealed that there is in fact a sequel coming next year AND a spin-off about a murder podcast also set at Edgewood and I’m excited for both of these! If you haven’t checked out The Exact Opposite of Okay I highly recommend you do so! I feel like this is such an important book not to mention enjoyable, don’t let my ranting about the subject put you off because this book is genuinely so enjoyable and funny.
Thank you for checking out my review and I’ll catch you again soon.
Jemma.
jemma setterington