G. Bianco, 2019
Looking for your next summer binge read? How about a YA thriller with secrets galore? Jessica Goodman’s debut mystery/thriller, They Wish They Were Us, focuses on a Long Island prep school and a three year old murder case that could destroy everything. This August 4th release includes swirling secrets in an Anna K meets One of Us Is Lying-esque plot.
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 vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.
I absolutely adored the setting of a prep school on Long Island (since that’s where I grew up) and how opulent and perfect everything seems from the outside but the demons and secrets that lurk underneath. The seemingly pristine reputation of the school and the students in it slowly cracks as more rumors swirl and skeletons come out of closets (but not literally!).
This book strays more on the YA side of thriller/mystery. The novel focuses more on the inner workings of Gold Coast Prep and the people who go there rather than follow the twisty path to discovering the truth behind Shaila’s murder. Goodman really dives deep into teen culture and how popularity and status can bring people together or drive them apart. The peek into the teenage mind is fascinating and makes for a fabulous YA read! However, as the mystery of whodunnit gets tossed around, Goodman will have you second guessing the things that Jill thought to be true and will have you reading until the very last line.
They Wish They Were Us is dark, twisty, and just as enjoyable as any other YA thrillers! With a second book and TV show adaptation in the works, you’ll definitely want to jump on the bandwagon and take a peek at the lives of Gold Coast Prep’s finest.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!