This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
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 vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.
Title: They Wish They Were Us (The Player’s Table #1)
Author: Jessica Goodman
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
I initially read a snippet of this book on BookishFirst and loved it! It was advertised as Gossip Girl meets One of Us is Lying and I totally agree. I would even add Pretty Little Liars to the mix. The partying, drama, murder, and overall darkness of this book made it a must-read for me.
This has a very interesting writing style that I wasn’t sure I liked at first but ended up loving. It walks through the events that are happening in present time, but the main character often has flashbacks to freshmen year, when everything went wrong. These flashbacks are crucial to understanding the present and putting together the past. As well, they really show just how messed up everything was and is.
The main character, Jill, is an interesting character as she struggles with who she is, who she wants to become, and who she believes everyone else to be. I like that we see Jill at the beginning of the book as she was and then towards the middle, we start to see the evolution. Part of me wanted this change to happen sooner in the book, but the other part of me really enjoyed how dark and dramatic the book was with an emotionless Jill.
I kinda wish we could have seen a bit more of character development with some of Jill’s friends. I partially understand why we didn’t, why Jill had to be the front-runner on this, but I still would have liked it.
I also wish the book could have focused more on the murder-mystery aspect of things. Since this book had a bigger purpose than just “finding the killer”, I wasn’t too put out by the slight lack of murder-mystery.
Overall, it was a great book that gave a gritty and harsh look at how things are and how important it is to pave a new path. Just because things are a certain way doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t be changed.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.