Say hello to the worst book I have read this year—-and frankly, the last decade. I have had books that I did not finish and books that just left me feeling lukewarm or even disappointed but none have left me feeling absolute shock and frustration. The second book in the series had me feeling a little bland about Pip as a main character so when this one came out, I wasn’t really chomping at the bit to read it but a friend of mine read it and basically said it was awful but she wanted to discuss with someone—-so here we are, thank you peer pressure.
As you move into reading my review of this one, know that I normally don’t post spoilers but frankly there is no way around that for this review. If you haven’t read the other books or you are planning on reading this one you might want to skip my review all together as there WILL be spoilers. So consider yourself warned.
Normally, if I am not feeling a book, I usually set it down and shelf it as DNF, but in this case there was just so much wrong with this book that I felt obligated to read until the end with the hope that it would improve but sadly it did not. I also try to refrain from fully ripping a book as I try to be respectful of authors and their creative license, and that still remains true in this case, there are good points but they did not balance out enough for me to even remotely enjoy this final installment.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES
The highly-anticipated finale to the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, the instant bestsellers that read like your favorite true crime podcast or show. By the end of this mystery series, you’ll never think of good girls the same way again…
Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?
Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.
Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself—or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . .and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears. . . (summary from Goodreads)
SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW
Consider your self warned again…..spoilers are coming!
This book picks up after the events of book 2, Pip is struggling to come to terms with the death of Stanley Forbes and all the fall out of events with Max Hastings. We find Pip has turned to drugs to cope with the PTSD and rather than reaching out to someone, she uses pills to self medicate and I felt like this was so absolutely out of character for her that I couldn’t even begin to accept it. I tried and tried but I kept coming back to the fact that this just was so out of left field. She’s basically fully on her way to becoming a pill popper on a regular basis and I just couldn’t stand that about her. It just did NOT fit for me. I could buy the PTSD and the teenager approach, but with all the resources and conversations around substance abuse and mental health, especially for teens, this just felt really off to me. Then the murder at the end of book 2 who escaped (literally don’t remember his name) I felt like this book would really focus on resolving that but instead we move to this random serial killer that had no real connection to the other cases in the series. The murder from book 2 just randomly gets arrested and that’s the end of it. So many questions here but the first one would be PARENTS!! Parents you don’t see that your child is struggling? Why not get her into counseling? SOMETHING! ANYTHING! This has been a major problem for me in the entire series like where are the parents!?
The serial killer angle could have saved this book for me—-could have. The book itself started slow but I was really intrigued to have a stalker/serial killer come into play that I was willing to overlook the weird PTSD and self medication in favor of a new case. There wasn’t a lot of build up though. It felt rushed and thrown together with the ‘mystery’ being resolved way too quickly. By the time we get to part 2, essentially half way through the book, Pip is kidnapped by the killer and his identity revealed. The identity was NOT shocking either. But what was shocking was that Pip murders him herself and the second half of the book is basically an instruction manual on how to get away with murder. This felt so absolutely out of character for Pip and it was entirely unnecessary. I cannot even explain how unnecessary it was. Then she proceeds to frame Max Hastings for murder. I cannot stress how wrong this felt to me.
Pip was such a champion of justice and I know ended up being jaded by the criminal justice system throughout the books and I understand with a teenager mind that framing Max Hastings would have seemed like it would be fitting but for me the punishment did not fit the crime for which Max was initially accused. Yes the criminal justice system failed Pip on a number of situations but to frame someone for murder—-a murder she willfully committed—felt so incredibly wrong to me as a reader. Especially considering that in the first book Sal Singh Wass wrongfully accused and even in this book there was an innocent man already behind bars for the serial killer murders—-it just felt so so so wrong to have her frame someone else even if Max Hastings was an absolute POS. I was genuinely shocked by her choices and I just couldn’t even fathom how or why her character went from good girl to stone cold murderer.
I was so sad. that I hated this book as much as I did. There were moments when I felt like ‘hey this could be a good story’ or ‘hey this is starting to get good’ and then of course a few ‘ohhhhh there is the Pip I loved in book 1’ but sadly those moments were few and fleeting. I disliked more of this book than I actually liked. I have never been so let down in a book before. I have read some disappointing books but this one takes the cake. I loved the first book so so so much and had such high hopes for this series and it just crumbled with each book. Do yourself a favor and stop at book 1, it’s truly the best one in the series.
Book Info and Rating
Format: 459 pages audio book
Published: September 28 2021 by Delacorte Press
Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 1 star
Genre: YA, mystery