…insert witty introduction here.
No spoilers for the first book. TW/CW: abuse, missing persons, violence, murder, mentions of rape/sexual assault, trauma
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?
apparently, lightning can strike twice.
Holly Jackson wrote an absolutely addicting, brilliant mystery when she wrote A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. Somehow, she managed to do the same thing with the sequel. I know this for a fact because it took me literally two days to listen to the entire audiobook. So, let’s talk about what exactly made this book so incredible!
Pip is one of my all-time favorite leads. Not only is she clever, but she’s empathetic and doesn’t get caught up in meaningless teenage drama like so many other YA mystery-thriller characters. Good Girl, Bad Blood sees her dealing with the trauma of the events of the last book. When she takes on Jamie’s missing person case, she finds herself actively trying to avoid the dangerous obsession she had fallen into last time. That evidence of character development? Perfection.
Also! Pip’s and Ravi’s relationship needs a shoutout here because oh my gosh! I feel like it’s so rare to get healthy relationships devoid of drama, but that still deals with issues because relationships are hard. But Pip and Ravi’s was so, so pure. It was never the focus of the story, but watching the way they quietly supported each other, worked with each other, and dealt with stress in their relationship made me so very happy. It’s such a small part of the book but still such a perfect part.
I know all of you are probably waiting impatiently for me to talk about the actual mystery but I want to get something out of the way first. While A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was sad, I never felt overly emotional with it. But this one? I found myself in tears multiple times throughout the book, for so many reasons. As a sequel, Good Girl, Bad Blood has the advantage of working with a foundation of already planted characters and plotlines. The book starts off with Andie and Sal’s memorial service, and yeah, it took a while for my goldfish memory to recall the details of the first book. After that initial hurdle though, I found myself so incredibly heartbroken. And there are multiple moments throughout the book that is really just a testament to Holly Jackson’s prowess at writing both the characters and the storylines. The ending, a trial, the backlash from the last book, and the mystery of this book all played their parts into turning me into a sobbing squash at the end*. And that’s what truly made this sequel stand out to me: the emotional impact upon me, the reader, and the characters themselves.
*or should i say murder squash. ronan lynch gang rise up
Anyways, speaking of the ending, let’s finally talk about the mystery! It takes a long time for the mystery to get rolling. I think it was around the 50% mark when I finally thought that things were starting to happen. Still, I was so invested in the story that I just kept listening and listening. Unfortunately, the pacing simply isn’t as fantastic as the last book. The plot twists aren’t as great either. However, the ending? GOODBYE. I’m literally about to cry thinking about it. This one definitely felt a little less like a local mystery and more like a true crime episode. It’s also worth mentioning that Pip’s goal in this book isn’t finding a killer, but a missing person. That definitely changes the clues and twists. So overall, I didn’t think that the path on the way to the resolution was as good as the first. However, the resolution of the second one itself…that one is haunting.
Alright. I gotta say it. If you know me, then you know that I don’t always enjoy audiobooks*. But the audiobooks for this series are perfection. When Pip interviews someone, the book transitions seamlessly into a true crime podcast format. As much as I want to know how this trilogy ends, I didn’t request the final book on NetGalley just because I love the audiobooks that much. 10/10 would recommend listening to the audiobooks if you get the chance!
*that’s a nice way of me saying that sometimes listening to them literally gives me a headache of boredom. i don’t understand either.
Finally, I want to talk about how well this works as a sequel. I know I loosely mentioned this already, but Good Girl, Bad Blood does an absolutely fantastic job of continuing from the first. This isn’t just a story of Pip suddenly trying to find Jamie, but a story of a town dealing with the repercussions of the first book. I’m not going to spoil anything here but a certain trial in particular made me feel so incredibly connected to the characters and their struggles, wishes, dreams, and hopes, rather than static suspects.
To be perfectly honest, I’m so incredibly excited for Holly Jackson’s career as a writer. I think that the YA genre of mystery-thrillers desperately needed her as a new voice, because her talent is so incredible. Overall, I’d give Good Girl, Bad Blood 4.75/5 stars! Have you read this series?