One of my book club’s very first books was A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder last spring and we absolutely loved it and couldn’t put it down! So needles to say this book was our pick for March. While we all range in age from late forties to early thirties, the first YA mystery novel in this series kept us all inthralled!
We all had high expectations for this one too. I will say though, we do have people in the book club who haven’t read the first book so we were a little nervous picking this one. But most of the early reviews that I read noted that this was a separate mystery and having not read the first book wouldn’t ruin it for new readers. I beg to differ on that front.
While it might not be necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one, there were spoilers to the first book and the trial of Max is a carry over from the first book so I would say if you haven’t read the first book, do that before reading this one! For me, this book wasn’t as good as the first one, it was still a good mystery read and here’s why…..
Pip is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.
But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh.
The police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it’s too late? (summary from Goodreads)
Having read the first book in this series and having the carry over might have been hard if you are picking up this book in the series, I really liked seeing how the trial impacted Pip as a character. Pip had this very idillic approach to crime and the justice system in both the first book and the beginning of this one. By the end of this book, she is questioning that idealism and I think this book will really appeal to young adults (as well as adults) in the current political climate in our country.
While this is a YA novel, I never felt like it was juvenile at all. But having the main character be this young teen really highlights the shift in her perspective of the police and the justice system. I loved that complexity that was subtle but also so front and center in the book. For me as a reader, when I was in high school I wanted to be a prosecutor so bad. I wanted to fight crime and bring criminals to justice because justice never fails right? Well as I got older and was in college and working in the ‘real world’ I started to become jaded and question the flawed justice system. I didn’t go on to law school as planned (though I did get in), instead I opted to study history and work in education. A novel like this reminded me why I choose that path instead.
Ok off my soap box and on to the book. So I did enjoy it but this one lacked some of the chemistry and character connections that the first book had. In this one, we barely get to see Ravi and he was my favorite character in the first book. There isn’t much going on between him and Pip and it was frustrating for me. I don’t mean romance, but I enjoyed their banter and seeing their brains work together. For me that’s what made the first book work so well and in this one, that’s missing. It was like the author tried to substitute Connor instead and it just didn’t work as well for me. Connor felt flat and bland to me and I just didn’t think him and Pip had any chemistry or connection at all.
Pip also felt flat without Ravi. It was almost like she was just going through to motions of solving the case rather than becoming personally invested in it which made the whole ‘I’m not going to go down that all consuming path again’ feel unnecessary. In the first book I could see Pip getting wrapped up and consumed by the case where as this one it was talked about but never shown.
Overall I enjoyed the case and complexities as well as the twist at the end. I had no idea how things were going to come together which was great but this one lacked some of the same charm and chemistry between the characters that left me feeling a little meah about it. But the mystery itself and the ending made up for that and I ultimately went with a 3 star rating for this one!
Book Info and Rating
Format417 pages, Paperback
PublishedApril 30, 2020 by Electric Monkey
ISBN9781405297752 (ISBN10: 1405297751)
Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: YA, mystery, detective novel