Book Review: They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman (ARC)

They Wish They Were Us

Author: Jessica Goodman

Publication Date: 04 August 2020

Genre: YA – Thriller/Mystery

Pages: 336

Publisher: Penguin Teen

Gossip Girl meets One of Us Is Lying with a dash of The Secret History in this slick, taut murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

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 is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

Was anyone else completely obsessed when the television series Gossip Girls aired?! It came out my senior year of college, and my friends and I were absolute trash for it. They Wish They Were Us brings back all of the feels plus adds a murder mystery to boot.

Gold Coast Prep is one of the most prestigious schools in the country where trust funds and privilege are commonplace. During their freshman year, Jill Newman and her friends were selected to join the Players, an exclusive society at Gold Coast that opens doors to the unimaginable. But first, they have to prove themselves worthy by taking part in hazing rituals called ‘pops’. On the last night, Jill’s best friend Shaila Arnold was found murdered at the hands of her boyfriend Graham Calloway. After his confession, he was locked up and everyone tried to move past this tragic event.

Now it’s senior year, which means Jill and her friends are now the leaders of the Players. It’s their time to host the best parties, choose the next freshmen Players, and get into their dream colleges. Everything is exactly as it should be until Graham Calloway withdraws his confession and claims he didn’t kill Shaila. Could Graham be telling the truth? What actually happened that night?

I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. This gripping, fast-paced story is packed with lies, secrets, and betrayal, which made for an utterly addictive and unputdownable book. As we learn more about the Players and the expectations of being a Player, we see just how far people are willing to go to belong as well as to maintain a certain image.

Overall, if you’re looking for an obsessive thriller/murder mystery laced with twists and turns then definitely pick this one up!

Thank you to Penguin Teen for my review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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