Monday 6 July 2015


Book review: The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

My edition: Paperback, published on 2 July 2015 by Hot Key Books, 288 pages.

Description: Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things.

Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right?

Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed.

Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?


I have a love/hate relationship with Sara Shepard's incredibly popular Pretty Little Liars novels. While I started out absolutely loving them, the series has long run its course yet every time a new one is released I clamber to read it like a book-junkie, even though I know the the story will become more absurd and unrealistic with each new instalment. The final novel (supposedly) was published at the end of last year and while I've told myself I wouldn't read it, who am I kidding? I totally will.

And say what you will about Shepard's formulaic writing, which she also adapted for other novels such as The Lying Game series and the more adult-focused The Heiress, she knows how to write a gripping story that will not let its readers go until the final page, and with The Perfectionists she has done it again.

When I read the first book in her latest series I thought that while it followed a similar set-up to her other novels, a group of teenage girls are thrown together in a murder mystery set-up, I actually felt that the characters were more interesting and diverse than anything I'd previously read by her hand. In other words, I was hooked. Again. So when I saw the beautiful second novel in the series, The Good Girls, at Hot Key Book's blogger event in April, it was practically screaming my name (it really was) and at the end of the day I was in proud possession of my very own copy to stroke and read.

In trademark Sara Shepard style the story threw a lot of red herrings making the reader suspect someone to be the murderer, when of course that isn't the case at all - or plot would be finished far too quickly. In contrary to the previous novel however, this one started to drive towards crazy town with a major twist towards the end; Shepard has such an innovative imagination and that makes for a very exciting reading experience.

Opposed to her previous series I did find that it took me a little while to remember what had happened before, and what the stories of each of the five girls central within the novel was, but that is a good thing. It means that she didn't just rehash it for the majority of The Good Girls, but instead the reader gets to dive straight back into the action. And I found The Perfectionists series to be more daring and bizarre than the other YA mystery novels by Shepard's hands. The last few chapters from The Good Girls were particularly crazy but they were also insanely gripping.

I knocked off one star because for once I saw the BIG twist coming quite a while before its revelation (which puts not only this novel but also the previous one in an entirely new perspective), which hampered my enjoyment of the intriguing aspects of the book somewhat. Nonetheless this was still an excellent YA mystery read and Sara Shepard has shown once more that she is the absolute best that this sub genre has to offer.

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:


Twitter: @sarabooks

Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Anonymous6/7/15 22:45

    I am glad that you enjoyed this. I haven't had a lot of luck with Sara Shephard's books. She is the rare author who I like the movies (television series) better than the books.

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