Well… that did not go as expected. 😂 Which… in itself is always kind of cool, right? It’s fun to go into unexpected territory… but I don’t feel like As Good As Dead quite pulled it off.
I will do my very best not to give away any spoilers… however it may come off like Joey Tribbiani talking in “code” about The Shining. You have been warned.
So at the start of Book 3, Pip is reeling from the events of Book 2 and is NOT in a good place. She falls into another investigation, intricately connected with the last two… and you will probably be able to guess the murderer almost immediately. She and Ravi are still going strong, but… their relationship still feels lukewarm/platonic to me (which is consistent from book 1 & 2), but I felt like it affected this book more.
Up until the 50% mark, this book is a perfect continuation of book 2, and I absolutely devoured it, sitting on my couch just reading the day away. And then… we hit 50%, and we pretty much went off the rails into the deep end. I probably would’ve been okay with the events, if I didn’t feel like they were just two extreme to be plausible for the two MCs. I understand that this had been heavily foreshadowed for Pip, so I’ll give her a maybe, but Ravi?! No. Way. Not buying it. And I honestly can’t believe Pip called him in the first place.
And all I can say is that if Pip was messed up after the events of Book 2, she will be ROYALLY messed up after Book 3 (as will Ravi, thanks for that, Pip), and I felt like the conclusion tried to gloss over that. Like everything has been righted in the world… and it just felt rather weird and off to me. Even the day after, I’m still wondering: Um… what exactly is the morale of this story again? 😂
So… while an interesting and unexpected conclusion to the awesomeness of Books 1 and 2, based on the darkness level, I’m not sure I would recommend this to younger YA readers. Honestly, it’s definitely worth reading just to discuss, but your satisfaction will 100% depend on if you buy that mid-book plot twist. Still, Holly Jackson’s ability to weave an engrossing story is undeniable, and I’ll definitely still read more from her in the future.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the free ARC! As Good as Dead launches on 28 Sep!
Loved the first book, and the second did NOT disappoint. Once again, I listened to the audiobook, and for the most point (with the exception of Ravi’s voice which was a bit annoying) I thought the cast did a wonderful job bringing the story to life.
The story follows Pip as she falls into another investigation, and also as she deals with the fallout of the last book. This book definitely takes Pip down into darker territory, and the storyline felt so relevant and true-to-life, while maintain the tension of the first book. While I had the suspects narrowed down, the climactic reveal definitely still surprised me! The only thing that felt a little flat for me was Ravi and Pip’s interactions. I wish there was more depth to their relationship, and as much as I *love* a good romantic subplot, this one felt like it was missing something. Maybe it’s because they almost feel platonic? But that could just be me.
While this book is very similar to the first in its podcast-like narrative, it builds on and evolves from the first book, really showing the ripples effects of these intense events. This is definitely Not a stand-alone, and while it technically wraps up this mystery, it will leave you clawing for the next one. Highly, highly recommend to all fans of YA or mystery.
This is a sequel, so I’ll keep this review short, but while a pleasant enough YA suspense, I didn’t think this one was as good as One of Us is Lying.
One of Us Is Next follows three kids from Bayview high that are loosely related to the kids from the first book. Basically, someone starts mass texting the whole school in a weird truth or dare game that gets out of hand, and the three POVs are scrambling to find out who.
This book hits all the usual notes of a YA mystery, but it felt a little slower paced than McManus’ other books I’ve read. Maybe I came into this book with expectations high after the first one, but the suspense wasn’t as intense as the first book, the reveal seemed a bit expected, and the characters/romances fell a little flat for me. I got the audiobook from the library, and I thought the male voice was a little annoying, which might have contributed to the problem.
I’d probably still recommend this one if you’re a McManus fan, but if there’s a third entry in the series, I’m not sure I’d read it.
Two Can Keep a Secret follows Ellery and her twin brother as they move in with their grandma in the small town their mother grew up in. Death threats start popping up at their school, which has Ellery, a true crime addict, digging into past murders in the town and trying to fit the pieces together.
This is really just a solid YA mystery. Not as clever or as neat as “One of Us is Lying” perhaps, but still filled with plenty of false leads and lots of intertwining threads. I did not guess who the murderer was, but they were in my top two, so I wasn’t completely surprised. Ellery and Malcolm are both likeable, and I enjoyed their little side romance. The writing is snappy, and the ending is satisfying. I would totally recommend to all looking for a clean YA mystery, and I will definitely be reading more from McManus in the future.
My only minor issue is that I listened to the audiobook (courtesy of the library), and I found the male narrator for Malcolm to be slightly annoying/grating. It’s probably just a personal preference though!