Book Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder


Katie Wilson

Holly Jackson’s debut book, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, had me on the edge of my seat from the first page until the last.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (AGGGTM), is one of three books in a young adult fictional murder mystery and thriller series. Pippa (Pip) Fitz-Amobi is a 17-year-old completing her senior capstone project for school. Five years before the book takes place, someone murdered Andie Bell, the pretty, popular girl who lived in her hometown. The alleged killer was her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who later killed himself after being blamed for the murder. It all seems too perfect for Pip — too clean. The common trope in this book, “Perfect, popular girl gets murdered by boyfriend and boyfriend kills himself out of guilt,” didn’t sit right with Pip, so she decides to investigate the murder for her project. But if Sal didn’t murder Andie, who did? 

Mystery is not normally my genre of choice because I don’t like to be left on a cliffhanger. Personally, I’m more into YA fantasy or YA romance books. This book was highly recommended to me by a friend, and as hesitant as I was, I thought I’d give it a try. 

I am extremely happy this book was pushed upon me; My friend begged me to read this book because of how good it was. Although, I have to admit, at the beginning of the book I was bored because of the lack of information and the ridiculousness of the project. I didn’t understand why she felt the need to open the case back up on her own terms–rather than bring her concerns up to the police– but that bored feeling only lasted about 20 pages before I fell in love. Later I understood why she didn’t go to the police and I recognized why she wanted to open the case back up on her own. I was ready to follow Pip on her journey.  

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is unique and unlike any murder mystery I’ve read in a long time. Throughout the book, I was taking guesses on who murdered Andie, thinking of how they could do murder Andie, or how they couldn’t. The characters are intuitive, and Pip catches every small detail in what she hears and reads. This is a detail recognized by all that read the book as can be seen in one reviewer, Meredith, who left a comment on Goodreads that read, “She (Pip) is intelligent and strong and has the knack for seeing things that others ignore.” These qualities made me feel as if I was one of the characters by the end of the book. 

The characters in this novel are unpredictable in the best way possible–you never know who’s going to do what, or who turns out to be a bad person. Pippa is easily the smartest and most intuitive character which is one of the reasons why I love her character so much. I relate to her character a lot in the sense where once she puts her mind to something, she can’t stop until it’s done.

Ravi lost his brother, Sal, without (real) confirmation he killed Andie. Everyone had their suspicions and the police had enough evidence to pin the murder on Sal. Just like Pip, Ravi couldn’t convince himself Sal could murder someone. 

This book stands out to me personally because it tackles so many important topics while keeping it appropriate for ages 14-17: consent, drugs, racial injustice, and kidnapping is touched on.

When AGGGTM was released in May of 2019, the book sold 330,000 copies by the first three weeks. By the end of 2019 (roughly seven months), an astounding 545,000 copies were sold (British Book Awards). On GoodReads, AGGTM is rated 4.36 stars on over 100,000 reviews.

Overall, I’d rate this novel 4.5 out of 5 stars! Although I usually don’t like murder mystery novels, my opinion may have shifted after reading this. Murder mystery and thriller fans, this book is definitely for you. This gripping and nail-biting murder mystery is just one library away. Time to read the sequel, Good Girl, Bad Blood!