This review is spoiler free.
“Can you keep a secret?” he whispered inside her head. “Will you be the One?”
Published: 2020, by Scholastic.
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal
Contains: Death, Murder, Blood/Gore, Violence, Anger, Sexual Assault, Rape, Mental Illness, Eating Disorders, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Drugs/Alcohol, Suicide.
‘Good Girls Die FIrst’ follows sixteen-year-old Ava as blackmail lures her to the derelict carnival on Portgrave Pier. She is one of ten teenagers, all with secrets they intend to protect whatever the cost. When fog and magic swallow the pier, the group find themselves cut off from the real world and from their morals. As the teenagers turn on each other, Ava will have to face up to the secret that brought her to the pier and decide how far she’s willing to go to survive.
I’ve been thinking about this book since I first picked it up in a Waterstones store some time ago, wanting to purchase it for ages and finally took the plunge this year for my birthday. I was drawn to the idea of something along side the lines of One Of Us Is Lying or And Then There Were None, and overall, I think it somewhat fitted the bill.
Ava was an interesting character, but there lacked a lot of substance to her development, along with the other characters in this novel. She was determined, argumentative, and occasionally stand-offish. This caused quite a lot of conflict in the novel, which at times was draining and dull to read. When you’re submitted to so many arguments and rude behaviour, you become immune to its affects, which is what I think happened in this book. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters involved, there being quite a few to keep a track of and at times it was difficult to tell the difference between them. There was no unique characteristics to cling to; all the characters did was argue or drink – which led to more arguments. I understand that the characters were intentionally cruel to highlight the fact that they had something to hide, however, it gets to the stage where it’s overdone.
The antagonist, however, was a pleasant surprise from where I originally thought the story was leading. I personally am a huge fan of the Paranormal, and the idea of there being some force keeping these teenagers in place was fascinating to read about. I wanted to learn more and more of the history behind Portgrave Pier, The Magnificent Baldo, and the carnival itself.
The writing itself was concise and gripping, each chapter being action packed and lasting only a handful of pages before moving onto the next event, making it a very quick and interesting read.
Overall, this novel was okay. There were a few personal preferences with the interactions between the characters, and I feel as if there should be a content warning with this release. However, overall, I enjoyed it.