Review Blog

Sep 01 2015

The good girls by Sara Shepard

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404320
(Age: 16+) Themes: Murder-mystery genre; Relationships; Trust; Teen-age drama; Bullying. A coterie of 'perfect girls', while in a Film Studies class in a Washington suburban High School, create a list of a number of people who they believe deserve to die. When these same people begin to be killed in exactly the circumstances described in the 'wish list' the 'good girls' are thrust into a psychological thriller and become afraid that they are responsible. Trust and relationships are stretched and tortured as more of their complex lives and affiliations are revealed to the world. With interesting twists and boyfriend/girlfriend and other teenage issues coming to the fore, this book feels like a novelisation of a Teenage Chick-flick Murder-Drama or Soap Opera. The family lives of the main characters cover an array of 21st Century dramas - loss of a sibling, loss of a parent; same sex parents, step-parent dilemmas, parent in jail, hoarding; and amongst the teenagers and their classmates - suicide, bullying, sexual exploitation, psychological abuse, competitiveness, under-age drinking and partying are also part of the dramatic background within the narrative. When these are listed, it becomes obvious that perhaps the author has tried too hard to weave all of these personal trials into the one murder-mystery. The solution to the mystery is worth waiting for!
Not great literature and not unreservedly recommended, but it will be read by the television generation (Sara Shepard is the author of Pretty Little Liars) and those who like the Teen 'Chick-flick-style' Murder-mystery genre - Aged 16+ .
Carolyn Hull

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