The Counselors // Book Review

About The Book
“A nervy, intense, and expertly crafted thriller that kept me hooked page after page. Dark secrets? Summer camp setting? Complex teen girls? Murder? Count me in. A simply stunning book.” — Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You’d Be Home Now, and The Agathas.

My Rating

 


My Thoughts
At first, I thought that this was going to be a DNF for me, since the first few chapters were pretty boring. I have read ‘They Wish They Were Us‘ and ‘They’ll Never Catch Us‘ by Jessica Goodman, and have reviews up on both of them. If you have read those reviews, then you know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of her work. Still, I wanted to give this book a chance, because something about camp based thrillers intrigues me. Maybe, ‘Friday the 13th’ is to blame for it.

The book follows Goldie, whose life is turned upside down, and who ,has become an outcast at her high school. Her only safe place is the summer camp, Camp Alpine Lake. My opinion on Goldie changed multiple times throughout the book. Initially, I thought she was weak, since she was still pining for the guy that broke her heart, and let other people treat her like crap. She has this secret that she wants to share with her best friends, Ava and Imogen, but won’t. Yet, she whines about wanting to tell them all the time. It seemed that the author wanted us to feel bad for Goldie, but I was more annoyed at her for willingly taking shit from people for months on end. However, as the story went on, I saw her get stronger as a person – she was done keeping her mouth shut.

There were some side characters, the main ones being Ava and Imogen, who Goldie met at camp. Ava and Imogen don’t live in Goldie’s town, and have fabulous, rich lifestyles. But, Ava and Imogen like Goldie for who she is, and they don’t let money affect their friendship. I liked their friendship dynamic a lot, because they were there for each other, no matter what. There were a few other characters, such as Goldie’s ex-best friend, the owners of the camp, and a few other camp counselors. Honestly, I can’t remember anyone else’s name, and I’m pretty ashamed of that fact.

The main plot is the mystery behind who killed Goldie’s ex-boyfriend, Heller, who was found dead in the camp’s lake. It wasn’t until the halfway point, that I started to get super invested in the story, and couldn’t put it down. The characters started to grow on me, as did the writing style. There was a twist, but you could see it coming before it was revealed. Still, I thought the ending was solid, and was very fitting for the story.

“I inhale deeply and remind myself, You are home.”

The book shows that money and social status can affect people, and even drive you mad. This is something that we face in the real world, too. Some people are so focused on fitting in, having the nicest things, and making the most money, that they’ll do anything. Whatever happened to the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’? But, we should probably ignore Blair Waldorf’s take on that message.

However, the thing that bugged me the most in the book was that nobody felt bad about their hatred towards Goldie. So many of these characters could have stood by her, but were totally spineless. To me, actions speak louder than words, and feeling guilty doesn’t excuse your bad actions towards them. You would never want to intentionally hurt someone you love.

Overall, this wasn’t a horrible read, and I’ll probably keep reading Goodman’s books. Still, this is in no way a thriller, so keep that in mind before picking it up. It is truly a YA mystery, and some people might prefer that over a thriller. I am not sure which side I fall on, since I am still kind of new to the mystery/thriller genre. Also, the book does mention underage drinking and drugs, which I understand that some readers might not condone.

In the comments, tell me which of Jessica Goodman’s books have been your favorites so far. Don’t forget to share this post, and give it a like! If you want to get notifications of all my upcoming posts, follow the blog.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

They Wish They Were Us // Book Review


Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
Published: 2020
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery




Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on. Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it. But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.
Source: Goodreads



This was one of my first introductions into YA mystery. I figured since I love thriller movies, then thriller books should be right up my alley. I had been anticipating reading this book for a while, but had seen some mixed reviews on it. I’ll start off with the negative aspects of the book, so we can end on a good note. I wasn’t a fan of the slow moving plot. I felt as though nothing had happened, but I was already at the 1/3 mark.

Another problem was that I could instantly tell who the killer was going to be. I feel that a thriller is more interesting when there are a lot of suspects, and you don’t know who to trust. I found all the characters to be fairly shallow, and only cared about their social status. I never went to high-school, so I don’t have any frame of reference on how other teenagers act. But I hope they aren’t as bratty as they were portrayed in this book.

My biggest problem was the female lead’s indecisiveness. For the majority of the book, she bounced back-and-forth between helping or just staying out of it. Even though she had many doubts about her friend’s killer, she tried to talk herself out of helping an innocent person go free. There’s not wanting to get involved, and then there’s just turning a blind eye. Now, moving on to happier things! I enjoyed Goodman’s writing style tremendously. I could see her writing some amazing, lighthearted contemporaries in the future.

I thought that the killer’s motive was done very well. I didn’t expect it at all. One of the most redeeming points is that I find this to be a great first step into the YA thriller, murder mystery genre. It is on the tamer side, but has solid writing and plot. Don’t be afraid to give me some YA thriller and horror recommendations in the comments. Subscribe via email to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny