Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Year Release: 2021
Source: Library Audiobook
Read my review of the first book, A Good Girls’ Guide to Murder.
Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: gaslighting, missing person, rape (mentioned, not depicted), murder, gun shots
I dragged my feet a bit on listening to this one. I’m having a hard time with fiction, but something that’s a mystery with a structure that has to deliver on certain beats could fix some of it. Wow, was I correct.
In this sequel, there’s another mystery to solve and Pippa tries to have nothing to do with it. But when the police are true-to-life useless, it’s up to her and her podcast to come to the rescue.
Predictable in a masterful way that the author lays out everything that’s coming, really fun to listen to on audiobook, especially give the full cast performance in multi-format.
The support system Pippa has between her friends and her parents felt very real. No one seems to exist in service to her and her investigation. In fact, it is a central point of conflict throughout the narrative, and it’s not one that comes with an easy conclusion. It’s left pretty open-ended by the end of the book, which opens the door for interesting exploration in the final installment of the series.
Pippa’s character evolution in this sequel is something to behold. The podcast is called A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and seeing her descent (or ascendance [?]) into her true self was really uplifting, especially with how many too-real downers there are towards the end. What also works here is the way that Jackson captures the toxicity of living in a small town. There are secrets, there’s gossip that’s more important than the general well-being of the community. There are some clear villains, but mostly it’s a lot of gray morality.
Finally, what really stood out to me was how “predictable” the book is. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. It is intended with full admiration. Jackson lays out so many bread crumbs, where I found myself wondering, “Hey I bet X is Y,” and a few chapters later, “X is Y”! It’s a lot of fun from that perspective and really shows a command of the mystery genre. I’m excited to see what reveals are in store later this year with As Good As Dead.