Good Girls Lie – J T Ellison

An all female boarding school with a strict honour code. A murder. A well kept secret.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodness, I was so excited to read this, but I was really let down.

The premise was fantastic, I loved the setting of a boarding school (who doesn’t?) and an almost entirely female cast, BUT (spoilers ahead):

I couldn’t for the life of me work out the MC’s motivation for the majority of her choices, why she came off as headstrong initially but then cowered under the slightest bit of authority. Why she was so hell-bent on honouring the code of the school about never telling a lie. How everyone instantly loved or hated her with no in between.

This also went for other characters. Why on earth did the Headmistress not go absolutely ape shit when she found out her 20-something lover was sleeping with her underage students? Then they want to run away together, even though he called one of the students he “slept with” a slut for being sexually active? WHAT?

Not only that, but we have a seasoned detective who refers to a teenage girl’s apparent suicide as “going splat”, a detective who also was intimately involved with the school’s headmistress, apparently and who conveniently has a niece who shows up about half way through the book to help with a murder case.

The plot was incredibly convoluted, perspectives hard to follow, and it was a little too unrealistic even in the sense of a killer teen girl wreaking havoc.

All that being said, I feel like there is SO much potential for this author, you can see there are strong bones here, but they would have benefited greatly from a very strict editor who could have carved this out into something truly phenomenal.

Looking at the reviews on GoodReads, the book has plenty of great reviews which definitely has me scratching my head and wondering, “Did we read the same thing?!”. I thought perhaps this was a debut novel, given the loose writing and poor structure but the author has plenty of other published works. Perhaps this one was just a thorn among roses. I doubt I will pick up any other works, though, so someone else will have to let me know!

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