5 star, YA

Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Series: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Timesbestseller, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder! More dark secrets are exposed in this addictive, true-crime fueled mystery. 

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?

When the first book blew you out of the water, it’s probably a smart idea to tamp down expectations for book 2 in case it just disappoints you altogether. I have too often felt that way about first books of series I loved.

But I can’t lie. Good Girl, Bad Blood equally astounded me with its plot line, compelling characters and writing style.

After solving a formally closed case in her small town, Pip is done with solving crimes. She has witnessed how the aftermath has impacted those around her, including people she is close to. Even with the success of her podcast about her crime solving, there seems to be equal parts love and hate for her in the comments. I felt SO bad for her at times because the cost of fame is allowing people everywhere to judge you in ways they have no understanding of.

When her friend Connor’s brother goes missing at the memorial for Andie and Sal, it takes a lot of begging from her friend to dive into crime solving again. Pip lost more than people could understand in book 1 to solve the mystery, and I was even more infuriated when others, including friends, accused her of faking a crime to further the success of her podcast.

Nonetheless, this sequel is just as gritty as we follow Pip down a criminal’s mind. The pacing was excellent, albeit in a different way. Since this is a potential kidnapping crime, every moment counts and you can feel it in the chapter headings as the days go by. I couldn’t put it down as clue after clue was investigated.

I enjoyed the way old characters from book 1 were still very much present. They weren’t just throwaway people who didn’t ever matter but individuals who became more focused in this book based on this crime. I loved that this included Connor, someone we only met briefly in between major scenes in book 1, and now is a major part of the investigation with Pip for his brother.

In the sphere of romance, I enjoyed that this takes a slight backseat to the crime at hand (I mean, you would think romance shouldn’t be the highest priority when someone’s missing), but I did miss more Ravi-Pip interactions that we got in book 1 when he was more involved.

Likewise, the continuity of crimes that TV shows don’t always portray is the fact that criminals don’t always face justice. Without giving anything away, an arrest from book 1 is now moving into the courtroom and the reality is, the jury doesn’t always get it right if they aren’t presented with all the facts in an emotionally wrapped story. While it makes me indignant there’s always the possibility that catching the bad guy doesn’t equate to justice served, I’m glad Holly Jackson addresses that in some aspect here.

And as always, Pip was an amazing protagonist to follow. She’s inquisitive, empathetic and smart (both street smart and intellectually). I couldn’t have asked for a better MC’s POV.

I can go on about this book and its series but needless to say, the hype is well deserved and I cannot wait for the conclusion. Good Girl, Bad Blood is an exemplar mystery piece that balances the heavy topics and realistic characterization.

Overall Recommendation:

Good Girl, Bad Blood proves a second book in a series doesn’t have to be dull or overhyped. With yet another potential crime occurring in their small town, Pip comes out of her self-imposed crime solving retirement to help her friend Connor find his missing brother. Faced with online scrutiny and a criminal who seems to know exactly who she is, Pip, her boyfriend Ravi and Connor set out to investigate before it is too late. Every moment counts when it comes to a missing persons case, and the suspense is ramped up in typical Holly Jackson style. I couldn’t put this book down, even late into the early hours of the morning! The characterizations were absolutely excellent and I wouldn’t change a thing about this book.

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