5 stars …again !
Holly Jackson did it again : in what is a seemingly easy to read YA contemporary, she put character growth (Pip is so changed), urgency (contrary to the prequel it’s a run against the clock), secrets and twists!
I simply did not want to stop reading and I admit that, for a romance reader, I am slowly morphing into a YA mystery reader. That was such a treat to read! Addictive too as , of course, you want to know what happened to Jamie and if Pip will find him alive!
Let’s backtrack some and speak about the plot.
The book begins months after the ending of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
Max Hastings is being judged and we’ll follow his trial with quite unsavory strategy from his lawyer. I was disgusted by that aspect but unfortunately, that’s what happens in reality too!
Pip has now a podcast with hundreds of thousand followers where she explained the Andie Bell’s case. Again, as in real life, we have trolls and life threats.
Pip has promised her family that she’ll never play detective again as it had cost he so much! She is changed and we find a darker Pip here.
“There was a time, not too long ago, she would have found a practice essay about Cold War escalation enthralling. She would have cared, really cared. That was who she was before, but something must have changed.”
But when Jamie, her friend Connor’s brother is missing, it gets personal.
Pip will resist at first and go ask the police to look for him. Unfortunately for her, Jamie is an adult and he is not a priority.
What would you do in her shoes? Ignore your friend’s plea?
Or use your podcast to send messages and your past experience to find Jamie with hopefully these crucial first 72 hours?
Of course Pip will do it!
“The truth is I didn’t really have a choice, once the police said no. I didn’t want to do it. But I can’t not do it.” “It isn’t my job, but it feels like my responsibility.”
And in allowing herself to do it, her brain settles and becomes sharp again.
Because you know what? Pip is made to be a detective! Even if it’s dangerous for her and her family, she thrives for it!
And when, at some point, justice will fail her as well as others, we’ll see a darker Pip at play. One who takes matter in her own hand because she just can’t stand that an evil doer goes unpunished!
At one point, Pip will break. She has all that rage inside of her. For Max Hastings, for the people believing she has fabricated Jamie’s disappearance. For the police that does not investigate for lack of resources. For … Pip is altered by her past experience and it shows.
As you can see, the book’s undertone is darker from the start.
With an urgency, a push to find Jamie on time. And with less light family and friend’s banter than in the prequel. This is serious business from start to finish with Pip’s identity crisis.
I was riveted to that story from the first page!
I had guessed who “she” was (not telling more) but not the other big twist in the story!
And I was surprised to cry for someone who might have begun as a villain but who truly redeemed himself and deserved to find joy and peace.
I loved how Pip collected the clues thanks to her podcast and people having seen Jamie. She guessed, double checked, followed leads and used her love for true crime shows help her in her quest.
Holly Jackson also takes this opportunity to show us that law is not always working as we expected. Here again we get the trope of “you never know your loved ones as much as you thought your did”. Everyone has secrets.
To conclude I’d say that I recommend this book to everyone who loves YA mysteries and that I can’t wait to know what Holly has in store for Pip in the future!
Have you read it or the prequel?
Thanks for reading!