Book Review

ARC Book Review: Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 400 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eight hours. Six friends. Five survive. A road trip turns deadly in this addictive YA thriller from the bestselling author of the worldwide phenomenon A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER.

Red Kenny is on a road trip for spring break with five friends: Her best friend – the older brother – his perfect girlfriend – a secret crush – a classmate – and a killer.

When their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, they soon realize this is no accident. They have been trapped by someone out there in the dark, someone who clearly wants one of them dead.

With eight hours until dawn, the six friends must escape, or figure out which of them is the target. But is there a liar among them? Buried secrets will be forced to light and tensions inside the RV will reach deadly levels. Not all of them will survive the night. 

Thank you to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for an eARC.

WHOA.

Well this a riiiiide. One that I binge read in two sittings because I easily get wrapped up in thrillers. I am also easily spooked by anything remotely creepy or frightening so yes, I was reading with a light on.

For a book only covering 8 hours it was an adventure. A very interesting group of friends together just trying to get to spring break when BAM. All the things start happening. This book needed a fast paced and that pace was served. I spanned the spectrum on emotions towards all of the characters. Which to me was the kind of thing I like seeing in thrillers. I want to hug some characters and shake others. I even impressed myself with figuring out who were the five to survive.

The plot is definitely intense at times and high stakes were achieved. There were big twists that took me by surprise and I loved turning the pages on this one. I’m not really a thriller reader, but Holly Jackson is one thriller author I will keep coming back to.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent (recounted multiple times), executions (recounted), gun violence, attempted murder, murder, physical altercations, alcohol consumption, mob violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 416 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder! More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled mystery.

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?

HARD TO PUT DOWN.

Yet again, I was completely surprised by this read. It’s easily one of my favorite young adult thriller series.

I loooove Pip. She’s so clever and a pretty impressive detective. This book never feels too young, and if you find this predictable, I am seriously impressed. I am blindsided by at least half the information I find out while reading. My mouth feels like a permanent shocked face when I hit the last 50 pages.

This was an intense mystery with so many layers to it. I appreciated that it was clearly different from the first book. It was a new story with characters we hadn’t formally met yet and a plot that went outside the city limits. It mashed up some plot points from the previous book and added more that I hope to see continued in the next one.

I could have used a touch more romance. It really felt shoved aside rather than put along with the plot. I love Ravi and would have loved more of them working together overall. And it did take me a little bit to get into it (but once you’re in, you’re hooked).

The formatting is one of my favorite aspects. I love the pictures, crime notes, websites and more. It really adds depth to the true crime saga unfolding.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA thriller
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, gun violence, a previous rape case where the guilty party walks free, depictions of shock from witnessing trauma, mentions of suicide, a story told of a serial killer (he murdered children), drug use

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Book Review

Book Review: As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 464 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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. 

TEAM RAVI AND PIP FOREVER.

What a wild finale. INTENSE. ACTION-PACKED. Actually gave me heart palpitations because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Couldn’t put this down whatsoever. It pulls you in and keeps you close and Pip races to save her life.

I liked the serial killer angle here and how they fit into the entire series. It was a loose string that needed tying up. The plot felt connected to everything else and pushed the narrative further. By the halfway point I didn’t know what the second half was going to lay out. And WOW did things go in many directions I did not see coming.

I looooove Ravi and Pip. I feel the teamwork, the love, the absolute connection. I know there relationship is only a small piece, but it’s such an important one. Pip has many people in her life who love and look after her and I really liked having that as part of the story.

I was a tiny bit flustered with a piece of the ending. I didn’t think it was necessary??? Then made the last few pages feel like a too quick wrap up. There’s also some true, have to suspend reality, moments to work with the plot. Which is fine, I just noticed that things could have easily gone a different way too so it was a bit of a shrug my shoulder moment.

Anyways, I’d recommend this up and down for anyone looking for a thriller. This series was fantastic!!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, attempted murder, murder, false imprisonment, rape mentioned, drugging, blood depiction, stalking, animal death

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Book Review

Book Review: A Good Girls Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery/Thriller
Length: 400 pages
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

I LIKED THIS Y’ALL.

I’m not a thriller person. Never have been. It takes some amazing reviews and friends saying how good one is for me to pick it up. This was the case for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. After so many saying how it blew their minds, I knew I had to read it. And I loved it! I also highly recommend the audio book. It was wonderfully put together.

Oh wow, this definitely kept me guessing. I spent most of my time trying to figure out who was the actual murder, if there was an actual murder, who was good, bad, all the things! I love how difficult it was to make heads or tails of any of the suspects. The number one thing I look for in a thriller is how easy it is for me to pick out the murderer. This was NOT the case here.

The only part I found kind of laughable was Pippa. Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was a fantastic main character. It was the fact that she at 17 (maybe 18?) was acting like a well-seasoned detective agent and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes sometimes. She was clearly way in over her head and doing more than I could reasonably believe. When I could look past that, the book was solid. Well written and put together in such a a way that you never want to stop reading.

I liked the small romance plot-line (we know I’m a sucker for these). It moved well alongside the original story. My heart ached for many of these characters and the awful situations they were put through. I liked the way the side characters played into this and the genuine work I could see from the author to craft a such a intricate web of lies and deceit, with plenty of WHAT moments.

If you’re even slightly interested in thrillers (aka me) definitely check this one out!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult thriller
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder; see trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (method explained), self-harm, murder, underage drug/alcohol use, drunk driving, hit and run, animal/pet death, rape (using rohypnols)

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