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AS GOOD AS DEAD

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 3

Intricately plotted and heart-pounding.

Everything comes full circle in this trilogy closer.

It’s not easy being Pippa Fitz-Amobi: Max Hastings, a teen rapist who was found not guilty, is suing her for defamation. She blames herself for the death of local journalist Stanley Forbes, who was revealed to be the child of a serial killer, but she also feels a kinship with his killer, Charlie Green, who is on the run. To cope with her PTSD, Pip takes Xanax purchased from drug dealer Luke Eaton, who indirectly supplied the late Andie Bell, the subject of her first case. Pip is used to online threats, but one message has been appearing again and again: “Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?” Someone is leaving dead pigeons in Pip’s front yard and mysterious chalk figures in her driveway, but Detective Hawkins doesn’t believe there’s a pattern and refuses to investigate. Research into her own stalker leads to an imprisoned serial killer who supposedly confessed, but the connections are striking, and Pip fears the police may have the wrong man. This volume centers on a psychologically traumatized Pip, whose actions inhabit morally gray areas till the very end. Her romance with Ravi Singh is a much-needed balm, but their love is tragically tested. A particular strength is the way elements in this novel connect with clues from earlier entries. Pip’s mother is cued as White and her father, as Black; Ravi is of Indian descent.

Intricately plotted and heart-pounding. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37985-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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