Dead in Her Tracks

By Keira De Vita

One random day, an overwhelming sense took over every inch of my body. It encapsulated me as I grabbed my keys, opened my car door, and drove over to the nearest bookstore; I wanted to read. I am not a reader by any means, but for the next three days of my life I was. I would go on to read all four books from the most interesting series to exist. Although reading never interested me as much as my fellow humanities peers, this book series caught my attention. Walking into the Barnes & Noble on that night in June, carefully navigating the inner workings of a bookstore, I was clueless. I shuffled over to the Young Adult section and speedily scanned the overflowing shelves. There at the bottom was a white book with illustrated red yarn strung across pieces of paper akin to the boards detectives in movies gather evidence on. I scanned the title, “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,” and instantly knew that book would come back to my house. That very night I got home and read until the early hours of the morning. Momentarily falling asleep, I woke up and finished the book at 3 p.m. that day. I was soon back at the bookstore and grabbed the second book, “Good Girl, Bad Blood,” and finished that at 4 a.m. the same day. Predictably, I took one last trip to my now beloved Barnes & Noble to grab the last two books in the series: “As Good as Dead,” and the novella “KillJoy.” Both of those books were finished promptly the next day, marking 435,198 words read in the span of three days. To say I recommend this series would be an understatement.

Holly Jackson’s series, “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,” begins in a small town—not too small to make the story cliche—with a rising high school senior deciding her topic for her capstone project. Left uneasy with a murder case from years prior, main character Pippa (Pip) Fitz-Amobi reopens the case determined to rule the man accused of murder to be innocent. Solving the crime, she becomes not only the number one crime solver of her city, but a large target for those who prefer their crimes to remain unsolved. 

Aside from her mastery of writing some of the most captivating and interesting mystery novels, the up-and-coming writer focuses on character details making the follow-along of the book simple all while bending the mind with her plots. For those who enjoy romance but are interested in keeping the murder mystery pace consistent, Jackson does a fabulous job of melding “minimalist” hints of romance all while blending in the foundation growth of her characters on each other. Character flaws and development come from the tensions, wrongdoings, or joy-filled moments each character has with one another. 

Never turning the page bored, Holly Jackson fostered me in her carefully curated world of mystery, horror, self -reflection, and deepened my sense of the very real presence of the unknown. The world of “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” leaves me wanting more… and reading more.