A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
There's lots of learn about murder investigations. A detailed insert within the story shows how rigor mortis (the rigidity of a body after death), livor mortis (the pooling of the blood in the body due to gravity and the lack of blood circulation), and algor mortis (the change of body temperature after death) help pathologists determine the time of death in a homicide.
A determination to never ever give up can literally save your life.
Positive Role Models
All the qualities Pip exhibited in the first two novels (smart, strong, determined, sometimes reckless) are still present, but this time, she's making some very unwise choices. She's stopped therapy for her PTSD and is relying on illegally bought Xanax and Rohypnol to ease her emotional pain.
Pip is White and her boyfriend, Ravi Singh, is Indian American. In the first novel of the series, Ravi's brother was falsely accused of murder, in large part because of his ethnicity, and this is referenced in the story. Readers of the previous novels in the series will know that Pip's stepfather is African American, but this time it's only mentioned that he has black skin.
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Violence & Scariness
There's a graphic description of a man being killed with a hammer and a girl being violently abducted, details about a girl who was drugged and raped, a man who killed a child, and women murdered by a serial killer.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Lots and lots of uses of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t," "bitch," and "d--khead."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Pip's buying Xanax and Rohypnol to ease her anxiety and help her sleep is a major storyline in the book. But it's a cautionary one, as readers will see that Pip knows she needs to stop (but never does in the story) and that drugs won't solve her problems.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that As Good As Dead is the complex and startling conclusion to Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder trilogy. Teen crime-solving podcaster Pippa Fitz-Amobi is in trouble. She's being sued for libel, the violence she's seen and experienced in the past year has left her with PTSD, and she's begun illegally buying drugs to help herself cope. Then there are the anonymous threatening emails ("Who will look for you when you're the one who disappears?") she's getting, the dead pigeons in her yard, and mysterious chalk drawings appearing on her driveway. All signs that lead Pip to believe she may be the target of a serial killer. Characters frequently use "f--k," and there's a graphic description of a man being killed with a hammer and a girl being violently abducted. Readers new to the series could take a while to figure out how the characters relate to one another and sort out the storylines that are continued from the two previous books, but this novel can stand on its own as a page-turner of a thriller.
Is It Any Good?
This dark and gripping conclusion to the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series unfolds at breakneck speed and never-saw-that-coming twists. For fans of the series, the Pip they meet in As Good As Dead could be a surprise. The fearless teen detective has been psychologically traumatized and for much of the story operates in a moral gray area. Her storyline offers teens and parents a chance for serious discussions about revenge, how far you'd go to help a friend, and the choices (both good and bad) that can be made when dealing with depression and emotional and physical trauma.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.