Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review: The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

From the back of the book: On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?
Gripping and fast-paced, with an ending that will stay with you long after you’ve read it, The Wicked Girls will appeal to fans of the Academy Award–nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens.

I came across The Wicked Girls as an "Amazon Recommends" suggestion, presumably because I'd recently looked up several books by Laura Lippman, whose endorsement of this book is actually featured on the cover. The plot seemed completely interesting to me, and I couldn't wait to jump in. 

Initially, I'll say that the alternating narrative style of this book was a bit hard to follow because essentially, we're actually hearing from four characters--Kristy (present), Amber (present), Bel (past), and Jade (past). The narration jumps from person to person often, and it was hard initially for me to keep track of which present-day character went with which past character. 

Overall, I thought the story was interesting, though predictable. But here's my gripe, and I'll do the best that I can to explain with as few spoilers as possible...basically, the whole premise of the book centers around the idea that Bel and Jade were The Wicked Girls. That in meeting each other for the first time, they conspired to commit murder of a four year old girl. But from my perspective, while Bel and Jade weren't particularly kind or compassionate to the four year old who unexpectedly came into their care, they were also eleven years old at the time, and it was pretty clear to me that what happened was not murder, so much as an accident. They made poor choices after the four year old died, but they weren't malicious, just flawed reasoning of YOUNG CHILDREN who were probably in SHOCK.
 Despite how the media may have portrayed them, I feel like any reasonable police officer, judge, counselor, etc, would have seen the truth of the situation readily. And it's that knowledge of their "wicked" past that seems like it is supposed to shape our perspective of Kristy and Amber in the present, but I just couldn't get there, and it drove me nuts. 

So for me, although it wasn't necessarily a bad book, I had a hard time investing in the story that Marwood was trying to tell. Overall? 


  1. This book sounds interesting...but I don't think I could read it just because it involves the death of a child, which I find myself particularly sensitive to now that I'm a mommy! I do enjoy your book reviews- I find you and I have similar taste when it comes to books, and I've enjoyed several books you've recommended!

  2. I was glued to this book. There is nothing better than finding a book that you hate to put down and this book hit the mark. A really good but sad story that kept you wondering what would happen next. I didn't want it end and will now search for other books by this author. Highly recommended.

    Highly recommended Minnesota Divorce Lawyer Attorney,TCA


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