A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Poster Image
Teen detective "unsolves" murder in riveting thriller.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Pip's interview with a detective from the Missing Person's Bureau takes readers through the steps police use (determining if the person is at risk, deploying officers, documenting evidence, interviewing friends and family) when searching for someone who's be reported missing. She also learns that 80% of missing people are found in the first 24 hours, only 1% of people who disappear are never found, and ony 0.25% of all missing persons cases have a fatal outcome.

Positive Messages

It's never too late to seek justice for someone who's been wrongly accused.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

When Pip sees a wrong that needs to be righted, she doesn't hesitate to become involved. While she's fearless and determined, she's also sometimes impetuous and never hesitates to break the rules when she thinks it necessary.

 

Violence

Two characters die violently (only one death is described in detail), and Pip learns that a girl was drugged and raped at a party. A girl tricks another girl into sending her a topless video (the tricked girl thinks it's going to a boy she likes) and posts it on social media.

Sex

A few kisses exchanged.

Language

Girls call some boys "d--ks," and characters use "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "crap," "bitch."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen characters attend parties where they regularly get drunk, throw up, and pass out. Some kids at these parties smoke marijuana. Teens take beer along on a camping trip. One teen deals drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, 17-year-old Pippa (Pip) Fitz-Amobi has decided on a most unexpected senior capstone project:  investigating a murder. Five years ago, a pretty and popular student at her Connecticut high school had gone missing. When her boyfriend committed suicide, everyone in town (police included) decided he must have murdered her and then killed himself. But is that really what happened? Pip puts together a list of potential suspects -- a teacher, a police officer, an older boy, a drug dealer, and a high school classmate -- and soon uncovers a whole host of long hidden secrets. Teens attend parties where they get drunk and smoke dope and one character deals drugs. It's revealed that a girl was drugged and raped. Characters use some profanity ("f--k,"  "s--t," "bitch." Any reader who's a Veronica Mars fan will be equally as captivated by Pip and her sleuthing skills.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudiousStudent March 12, 2020

Lots of Layers to this one

This was a great debut novel from Holly Jackson! This mystery had lots of layers to it. It was suspenseful and twisty until the last page. However, there is a l... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bylivliv123456789 March 23, 2020

Really good, but better for mature readers

There were lots of drugs. Just make sure your kid is ready and mature enough for it.
Teen, 17 years old Written byDoraDaExplora March 18, 2020

Great plot !!

Its a really great book definately recommend
It has themes such as: murder, rape, drugs, alchohol etc but that is what people of age 12-13 would have been educ... Continue reading

What's the story?

In A GOOD GIRL'S GIDE TO MURDER, Pip Fitz-Amobi has decided that murder will be the subject of her senior capstone project. She doesn't believe that Sal Singh murdered his high school girlfriend, Andie Bell, and she intends to prove it. After signing a school contract that says she will have no contact with any of the families involved, the first thing she does is ring the doorbell at the Singh house and talk with Sal's younger brother, Ravi. But after telling Pip in no uncertain terms that he wants nothing to do with her investigation, Ravi soon joins her in trying to clear Sal's name. But it's a tough job. Andie's body has never been found and all the evidence seems to point to Sal. Friends who had provided alibis for Sal for the time of Andie's disappearance admitted they had initially lied to the police. Andie's phone was found on Sal's body and traces of her blood under his fingernails. If that wasn't enough to convince everyone he'd killed her, Sal had sent an "I did it" text message to his father before committing suicide. But as Pip begins to dig deeper into Andie and Sal's lives, lie after lie begins to be revealed, and a growing list of suspects emerges: a too-friendly high school teacher, a mysterious older boy with a fake Facebook profile, a girl Andie had bullied, a local drug dealer, a police officer who could have removed evidence from Andie's house. When Pip begins receiving notes threatening her if she doesn't stop digging into Andie's murder, she's certain she's on the track of the real killer.

Is it any good?

This smart page-turner of a thriller brims with unexpected suspects and head-spinning twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Rather than depending solely on the text to tell the story, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder includes revealing journal entries and transcripts of Pip's interviews with police that worked on Andie's case, a reporter who covered it, and Andie and Sal's friends and family -- interviews that sometimes lead to that person being put on the suspect list.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how race and ethnicity might have played a part in the case in A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. Do you think the police, the press, and the town would have been so quick to make Sal the prime suspect if Andie hadn't been White and Sal an Indian American?

  • Has anyone you know had something shared on social media that hurt or humiliated them? What precautions have you taken so that your personal photos and posts can't be shared without your permission?

  • Were you surprised to learn that only 1% of people who go missing are never found and only 0.25% of missing person cases have a fatal outcome? Do you think the media has given the false impression that most people who go missing have a tragic outcome?

Book details

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