Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
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.
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,