They Really Were Murderers

Book: They Wish They Were Us

Genre: Thriller (YA)

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Okay, WOW. This book was just fantastic. I went into it knowing only the bare details of the book and not having seen the summary and I am so glad I did. I had zero expectations and this book would have exceeded any I had. If you are a fan of Karen McManus’s books this one is one to check out! It is fast paced and keeps you on your toes.

Before I break it down a bit more, here is the Goodreads summary:

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. 


Okay, so, there are a few things that I adored in this book and those include characters, the setting and the suspense of the book. I honestly had no issues with it and loved how the plot was brought to life by Jessica Goodman.

First off, the characters. These were some dynamic and complex characters. They endure hazing, school pressures and are in the beginning stages of figuring out college as seniors in high school. Each character added to the plot in a unique and important way. Sometimes I read a book like this and feel like there are just “throw away characters” but in this novel each character contributed to the story of this murder and how it happened. I LOVED that.

So, the setting. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I have always been fascinated with these elite private schools where the reach send their children to get ahead in life. Having gone to a regular public school and worked incredibly hard to pay for my own college, reading about this other way of life fascinates me. Not that these kids have it made in the shade, they have there own issues and problems in life that usually still involve money (just too much money…). I loved the look into this school and how the elite (The Players) think they run everything. It was a great setting for the murder and made for an interesting read as they uncovered how much money played a roll in the murder and their lives.

Last but certainly not least, the suspense. There is just enough suspense in this book to keep the reader going but not too much to scare you away. I am such a scaredy cat, so when I read books like this I need that balance. The whole book builds on the mystery of Shaila’s death, but there is enough going on in addition to this that it creates a great blend, until you get to the end and can’t help but wonder at who the killer is. That final reveal of the killer will knock you off your feet and leave you wanting another book like this or a sequel to this!

Overall this was just a really solid read. I was able to listen on audiobook through my library and would highly recommend the audiobook as well. It is a great narration and one you won’t want to turn off!

Happy reading!

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