Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Audiobook Review: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
By Holly Jackson; Read by Bailey Carr and full cast
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this audiobook for me to review.

Senior Pip (Pippa) has decided to do her Capstone Project on the media's portrayal of a murder that happened in her Connecticut hometown five years earlier. Interested in investigative journalism, Pip sets out to prove that Sal did not murder Andie Bell, that he was falsely accused and convicted by the media and the community. What happens is more than she expects as she is drawn into the murders--yes more than one--at the risk of her, her family, and friends with the help of Sal's brother Ravi. Throughout her investigation, she learns perception is everything and you never know what is lurking behind someone's exterior.

This is a mix media book with snippets of transcripts, agenda entries and more sprinkled throughout the book. While I listened to this book, I did flip to the pages in the book that these items were on. Where this audiobook stands out is during these epistolary pages as the production has added a different narrator for each voice, sound effects such as the echo-y sounds of a tape recording, cars, etc. The prose narrative is performed by Bailey Carr (Anderson's Fever, 1793 and McLemore's When the Moon Was Ours) and her performance gets stronger as the production proceeds through the book, balancing the heightened emotions at the end with poise and grace, without giving into hysterics as would be easy to do. I feel the pacing is spot on in this book, both with the writing and with the narration. As an avid audiobook listener, this is a great one.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a great young adult mystery, but the obvious recommendation goes to fans of Sadie by Courtney Summers. If you are intrigued with the journalism, the podcast Serial, or even documentaries such as Making of a Murder I would not hesitate to put this in your hands. Other readers I will be giving this to include fans of mysteries as well as those traditionally deemed reluctant readers because this moves at a fast enough clip and sprinkles enough real teen life to be real enough for them. I would caution readers there is talks about teens doing drugs, discussions of sex, and date rape. Overall, this is an excellent debut and I will be sure to check out Holly Jackson's sophomore title as this was only her debut.

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