Literature in Lockdown is a special blog series in which our students share what they’re reading whilst face-to-face teaching is suspended at YSJU. In our first post, Lucy Pettigrew recommends Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
By Lucy Pettigrew
In this current time of difficulty, it’s important to have something to fall back on. In my case I’m surrounding myself with literature, especially literature that distracts me from what’s currently happening in the world with COVID-19.
Recently, I read a novel called A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This book is a contemporary murder-mystery following a diverse cast of characters. Our protagonist, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, is doing an EPQ (extended project qualification) as part of her A-Levels. She’s intrigued by the murder of a girl called Andie Bell that happened five years prior to the start of the narrative; the killer is believed to be a boy called Sal Singh. Pippa becomes obsessed with figuring out if Sal actually murdered Andie or if it was the work of someone else and we follow her trying to piece together what happened through normal chapters of prose and sprinkles of interviews, written reports and so on.
The reason I loved this book so much was not just because of the wonderfully developed characters but because of how gripping the story was. I’m not usually one for thriller/murder mystery-style books but this one really caught my interest and I was right to trust my instinct. I felt so invested in the case Pippa constructed and couldn’t put it down – I finished this book in a night. I was shocked, surprised and caught off guard more times than I can count and it really took my mind off what’s currently going on in the real world. I was too invested in what was going to happen next in the narrative to worry about anything else. There are so many twists and turns in this book and I never correctly predicted what was to come – once I knew what was happening, everything was completely turned on its head.
All in all, if you’re looking for a book to get emotionally invested in then this is the book for you! If you’re looking for something to distract you from the current horrors of the world with other, fictional horrors then this is the book for you, too! While this novel is difficult to read at times it is absolutely astounding and I’m going to reread it when I need the distraction again. It’s an incredible and creepy debut novel; I’m so glad I read it and you should too!