If you know me, then you know that I firmly believe that A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is one of the best mysteries in the YA genre. This trilogy has far and away been one of my favorites…but I was not expecting the absolute shock that is the final book in the series.
🗡 very dark
📚 conclusion to a trilogy
TL;DR: Pip is dealing with the trauma from the past books, and also, a stalker. This is not for the faint of heart, or for those who prefer mysteries to thrillers.
I’m going to try my absolute best to dance around spoilers here, but if you want to go in totally blind, I’d say it’s best to read the book before my review. Just be warned: people were not joking when they said that As Good As Dead is rough. The first book felt like a “good time”, a relatively light-hearted mystery story with incredibly clear moral lines. This book? Mhm, not so much.
I think that this book is simultaneously Holly Jackson’s best and worst book of the three. It is her best because it leaves behind the familiar mystery aspect, and dives into thriller territory. This story is about Pip, and Pip’s trauma from the events of the prior books. Jackson has somehow managed to have both the plot and character arcs of this book come full-circle in a way that I rarely see, let alone from a YA mystery series. On the other hand, since As Good As Dead isn’t about a mystery anymore, it loses a lot of its original appeal.
When I say this book got dark, I mean it got dark. It starts out with Pip dealing with a stalker, plus her trauma, and that combination leads to a series of events I never saw coming. If you’ve ever listened to a true-crime podcast, you know how messed-up they can get. AND FOR SOME REASON THIS BOOK DID THE EXACT SAME THING??? There were literally moments where I had to stop listening because it was too heavy and I was just too shocked. Schitt’s Creek rewatch, anyone?
Okay, so, I really missed the mystery element. I missed Pip’s sole focus of investigation and the constant twists and turns of the plot. I missed the sweet moments between Ravi and Pip that weren’t darkened by anything else. However…this book is technically genius. Pip can’t just move on from the events of the past. And so, at its very core, this story is about Pippa Fitz-Amoebi. Her world has been tainted by injustice, murder, and morally grey scenarios. Things are not as they were before. Even the plot goes back to the very start, but with a much darker undertone. And that’s why I have to applaud Jackson: she achieves a level of perfect, consistent development that is disturbing, yet understandable.
Also, we do get some sweet Pip and Ravi moments!! Those two have firmly cemented themselves as being one of my all-time favorite couples. There’s no stupid meaningless teenage drama, no disgusting obsessions. Just Pip and Ravi, ready to take on the world together. If more YA books had romances like theirs, maybe I’d actually appreciate romance in YA. Just saying.
Notice how I haven’t said anything about the ending? That’s super like me, right? I’m being very grammatically correct and using very few question marks and this review is relatively normal…right? So I must have no thoughts on the ending! None! Zero! Zilch! Deprived of things taking up space in the old central thought factory*! It certainly didn’t make me cry, gasp, freak out, or almost throw my phone across the room. I will admit…it’s an ending that fits the series.
*the spiral is real what the heck is a central thought factory and why couldn’t i just say “my brain”
At its core, As Good As Dead is a conclusion to a morbid, horrifying string of events that have deeply affected countless characters. It veers away from the format of the previous two books, but I can’t imagine how else Holly Jackson would have ended it. This book is dark. It has to be, or else it wouldn’t be realistic, but just know that. Anyways, my overall rating is 4/5 stars! Tell me: have you read this book? Do you enjoy this series?