Also by this author: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Series: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #2
Published by Delacorte Press on March 2, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 416 •Format: E-Book •Source: Overdrive
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?
I absolutely adored A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. It was a YA thriller that fully leaned into the popularity of the true crime genre but didn’t sacrifice character building or writing quality for the sake of a shocking plot. The pacing was phenomenal, the mystery was brilliant, and I was honestly a little wary when I found out it was going to be a whole series because why mess with perfection? However, I can safely say that Good Girl, Bad Blood surprised me in a wonderful way and that Holly Jackson’s writing seems to be just improving with time.
Good Girl, Bad Blood picks up not too long after the first book, with the town coming to terms with the truth about Sal and Andie’s murder, thanks to Pip’s investigation work. She’s definitely seen as a local hero by most (and a meddling teen by some) and has translated the events of the previous book into a podcast with the same name. However, underneath the praise and admiration Pip receives from many for cracking the cold case, Pip is spiraling. Hard. She is having trouble coping with the trauma she endured during the investigation. Though she’s not confided in anyone, her own relentless behavior in solving the case deeply scared her, and she’s promised herself that she is D-O-N-E with crime solving.
Of course, Pip is asked to break her ban on solving crime when the older brother of one of her classmates goes missing, and is pressured into reporting on the disappearance on her podcast. Of course, this leads Pip down an inevitable (and dangerous) path of investigation and obsession. Though the mystery itself is compelling, what I found even more fascinating was the author’s exploration of the deterioration of Pip’s mental health the closer she got to the truth. It takes an excruciating toll on her, a toll almost no one notices or sees (that last paragraph of the book is truly, truly one of the most haunting I’ve read). I really applaud the author for taking this approach because it’s not one I’ve seen before- usually in these YA novels where teens solve mysteries/save the world/etc it seems that all’s well that ends well, and the ramifications that the protagonist would likely and realistically confront from their experiences is non-existent.
In terms of the mystery itself, the novel does a good job at introducing a new mystery but still tying in elements from the first book (such as returning suspects, familiar locations that were tied to Andie’s disappearance, etc). Parallelling the new mystery is also Pip and Ravi reporting on the trial of Max, a character who was largely complicit in the previous book’s happenings and who’s presence in town is still deeply unsettling to Pip. I appreciate that the fallout from the mystery being solved in the last book is still ongoing in the community, and the emotional toll of that is still weighing on Pip, adding to the anxiety of the new case- she doesn’t just cleanly wash her hands of it and move onto the next, like a modern day Nancy Drew.
Overall: Good Girl, Bad Blood takes the fantastic mystery/thriller elements of the first book but sets a darker, more realistic tone in exploring the ramifications on both the protagonist and the community of the events of book one. It has a grit to it that you don’t often find in YA thrillers and I was stunned by the ending (and not from a plot point, but from a character development standpoint). If you’re someone who even remotely enjoys thrillers I cannot recommend this series enough.