“Because I don’t think your brother did it – and I’m going to try to prove it.” – Pippa Fitz Amobi, A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder
If you are anything like me, (and if you are, you have my condolences because that must suck), you are what Dictionary.com defines as a bibliophile. Or, to put it plainly, a person who loves books; a literary aficionado. I’ve seen it all, whether it’s dystopian, thrillers, historical fiction, horror, etc, yet I have never been so enamored with a book than I am with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. So, today I’m channeling my inner Goodreads reviewer persona to give you my take on this literary masterpiece (and yes, there will be spoilers.)
Let’s start with a basic rundown, just in case you haven’t read AGGGTM, yet decided to continue reading regardless. (On the off chance that I actually called you out, I would like to add that as a self-certified literary aficionado, I’m disappointed in you, yet cannot say I haven’t done the same.) In this book, we get a glimpse into the life of Pippa Fitz-Amobi, a senior turned detective once she begins to reinvestigate the murder of former high school student Andie Bell for her capstone project. Pippa teams up with Ravi, the brother of Sal Singh, who was the boyfriend of Andie Bell and the believed killer. Confused yet? Don’t worry, so was she. After an abundance of snooping, a little undercover work, and a sprinkle of felonies here and there, they come to the conclusion that Sal Singh was in fact not the killer, nor did he commit suicide. He was murdered, right along with Andie Bell, and then framed. Then, some ominous, threatening notes later, they figure out Andie Bell was in a relationship with her history teacher, Mr. Ward, and later accidentally killed by him. To cover his tracks, he murdered and framed the boyfriend, Sal Singh. On the off chance that I didn’t lose you anywhere in there, and you managed to comprehend that whole summary in one read-through, I would like to applaud you, because even I got confused and I was the one writing it.
As you can see, as great as this book is, it can lose you sometimes. So, to make this easier on both you and me, I’ve split the review into three parts:
Rating – 10/10
Pippa: Let’s start off with our main protagonist, Pippa Fitz-Amobi. I’m a sucker for a strong female protagonist, anyone who knows me can attest to that, however what I love about Pippa is that she’s realistic. She doesn’t have magical powers, and she isn’t secretly some hero of an alternate universe. She’s simply intelligent and determined. She constantly surpassed my expectations, and her ability to go face to face with danger for the greater good and still come out alive is certainly admirable. Holly Jackson did a phenomenal job writing this character, and she only gets better throughout the series.
Ravi: I didn’t think I could ever love anyone as much as I love my girl Pippa, and I don’t, but Ravi is definitely a close second. He is by far the most sweet, kind, and understanding character throughout the series. He has a heart of gold, and quite frankly I’m not sure there’s much else to add, because that pretty much sums him up. I’m not trying to imply his character doesn’t have depth, because he most certainly does. His brother was framed for murder, and then killed before he could testify. His family was shunned from the community, and he experienced isolation and severe bullying. Any character with that background certainly has depth, however, since the book isn’t ever told from his perspective, we don’t really get to elaborate on that much.
Side Characters: If I could write an essay about every side character in this book, I most definitely would. However, considering I’m both an AP student and a teenager in general, I don’t quite have enough time for that. So, unfortunately, I will just be summarizing all the side characters in one category. One thing Holly Jackson does spectacularly well in this series is give her side characters personalities. She allows the readers to empathize with them, connect with them on a personal level, which is challenging when you can only bring them into the story a limited amount of times without attaching them to the narrator’s hip. The side characters, much like the main characters, have depth and backstory. Naomi and Cara are the two most prominent ones I can think of, however as you get further into the series more side characters are discussed and brought into the story, somehow attached to the bigger picture.
I knocked off a point, solely because the plot in it of itself is a cliche. However, the execution was what made this story so unique, so unlike other murder mysteries I’ve seen. The way it flowed, keeping the readers on their toes constantly, leading them to one conclusion while brewing another one on the side to divert their attention from the main villain. One of my favorite things about how this book was written was how Holly Jackson put the murderer right under our nose, made him a main suspect in Pippa’s investigation, just to lead everyone into believing he was genuinely innocent. I’ve seen this happen in books before, but never once have I fallen for it. There isn’t much else to say about it, or rather, there isn’t much else I have to say about it. Just, wow.
3: Overall Review
I’ve said this so many times that I must sound like a broken record at this point, but I truly did love this book. It is most definitely my favorite series as of yet, (however that could very well change come October, Mrs. Stephanie Garber), and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an enthralling, stay-up-until-3am read, or someone who simply just wants to sit in the corner booth of Andros Diner with pancakes and a hot chocolate while attempting to look aesthetically academic and acting like you totally didn’t just have your fifth mental breakdown this week five minutes ago in the small, crammed public bathroom (and no, I’m not projecting.)