Published by Razorbill on August 4, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, Romance, mystery
Source: eARC from Publisher
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.
They Wish They Were Us is a young adult mystery thriller by Jessica Goodman. I thought this book was a good read, but it wasn’t my favorite mystery ever. I think this book would be perfect for readers that are new to young adult murder mysteries, because the plot and characters are fun. But I think for readers who have read many mysteries, They Wish They Were Us was really easy to figure out. It was still an enjoyable read set in a prep school setting, with a secret society element added in.
They Wish They Were Us alternates between present day, where our main characters are seniors in high school and three years prior, to their freshman year, when one of their best friends was murdered. The main character in They Wish They Were Us is Jill, who attends the prestigious Cold Coats Prep on a scholarship. Along with her best friends Nikki and Shaila, were recruited into the school’s secret society- The Players. The Players affords its’ members with endless advantages, in school and in life through answer keys and valuable connections. But when Shaila is murdered during the final phase of hazing, everything changes. Her boyfriend confesses to her murder and the story fast forwards three years to their senior year, where her boyfriend is now rescinding his confession, claiming innocence.
As Jill tries to figure out if he is really innocent or not, she is also juggling her senior year, college admissions and struggling with the reality of her younger brother becoming a player. In addition to the murder mystery that is the primary plotline, secondary plots of hazing hazards and friendships are also present and they were my favorite part of the story. I figured out the murder pretty early on, but I enjoyed the journey the characters went on enough to keep reading. Overall, They wish they were us was a decent read, but it didn’t blow my socks off. If you are new to young adult mysteries, I think you will really enjoy this book. If you are a true crime aficionado or a mystery buff, then this might be too easy for you to figure out- but it is still a fun read.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 New Release Challenge
- ARC August 2020