Estelle: Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw WolfDead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf ( website | twitter )
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Pages: 352
Target audience:  Young adult / thriller
Keywords: murder investigation, friendship, gangs
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Other books reviewed by Jennifer Shaw Wolf: Breaking Beautiful

Summary: After not speaking for six months, Jaycee is shocked to see a foreboding text from her ex-best friend, Rachel, on her phone. In the company of a new boy, Jaycee decides to ignore the texts. The next morning Jaycee gets the terrible news that Rachel is dead. Could she have stopped it from happening?

You know that feeling when you are reading a book and you keep giving yourself a cut off to go to sleep but then you just keep flipping the pages and it’s suddenly past midnight?

This is exactly what happened while I was reading Dead Girls Don’t Lie.

Rachel and Jaycee were inseparable friends growing up (they even did a blood oath) but scary circumstances shake up their friendship and nothing is the same after that. When Jaycee surprisingly receives text messages from Rachel, she opts to ignore them and spend time with Skyler instead. A few hours later, Jaycee’s dad delivers the bad news: Rachel has been killed. Obvious guilt plagues Jaycee. She’s always the good girl, always the rule follower, and the one night, the one night, she decides not to do the right thing, her friend dies.

Jaycee has a lot going on. Not only is she mourning her friendship (again), combating pressure from her overprotective dad to be squeakly clean, and feeling out her first relationship, but she feels obligated to find out why Rachel was killed and who did it. This is the second time their small town has been hit with such a horrendous crime, and most are quick to blame it on gangs and Mexican migrant workers. But that last text, in addition to a dreaded secret the two share, Jaycee is just not so sure what to think anymore.

She was not the only one. Wolf has created such an intriciate story, peppering the plot with quite a few characters who could be to blame for Rachel’s death. I had no idea how all the loose ends would tie up, how Jaycee would come to her final conclusions, and, most importantly, who she would choose to trust. Law enforcement? Her father? Skyler? Though the writing could be a little choppy and I wasn’t in love with Jaycee’s “friends”, I was definitely hooked to the max once the pacing picked up a few chapters in.

I was a huge fan of Wolf’s debut Breaking Beautiful last year, and I read a review last week that wondered how readers who experienced both would compare the two. While my emotional connection to the characters in Breaking Beautiful was definitely stronger (maybe because it had an emphasis on romance), Wolf proves she can create just as riveting a story when the focus is on friendship and the intricacies of a small town. As far as YA thrillers go, I’m still partial to Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, which was more well-rounded from all aspects, but Dead Girls Don’t Lie certainly threw me for many scary scary loops.

Wolf is definitely an author who keeps me coming back for more.

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8 thoughts on “Estelle: Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

  1. Bookworm1858 says:

    I wasn’t completely engaged by the characters either but found this difficult to put down as well-I just had to know how it panned out. I’m still debating if I want to give Breaking Beautiful a try-I really want to connect more with the characters in that one.

  2. Rachel says:

    Yesyesyesyes. I have this one out from the library and I haven’t read any reviews about it yet, so I am SO HAPPY you enjoyed this one. I obviously trust your taste in thrillers because you were the one who introduced me to Dangerous Girls. Everything about this story sounds really interesting, and I’m glad to hear it’s addicting!

  3. April Books & Wine says:

    This seems like it would be a good fall/Halloween sort of book – in that there is a mystery set in a small town and those are always reserved for fall for me. The whole can’t put down thing appeals to me too. Also, I know my coblogger was a fan of her debut. I think I will wait on picking up a copy of this to see what Allison thinks of it in comparison.

  4. Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby says:

    YES E!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I read it over the summer and couldn’t stop gushing over it. The best part was my youngest sister (15 & SO not a reader) devoured it in a single night and couldn’t stop texting me about it. 🙂 How awesome.
    I loved both this one & FIND ME and I think it was for FM that you rec’d DANGEROUS GIRLS – definitely reading that one soon!

  5. Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages says:

    I love Jennifer Shaw Wolf’s writing, but I always have some issue with her books that stop me from really, really liking them. I think I’m more partial to Dead Girls Don’t Lie over Breaking Beautiful. I loved the twist in Dead Girls Don’t Lie and all the social commentary stuff. Great review!

  6. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle says:

    The fact that this one kept you turning the pages quickly is a big plus for it! I definitely freaked myself out reading your review though. Not only is this story scary, but I’m having trouble with the name Jaycee, since the only reference I have to it is that girl that was kidnapped and in-prisoned in someone’s backyard for like 19 years. Now I’m really freaking myself out. Not sure this one is for me, but I didn’t know a lot about it previously, and I appreciate the review.

  7. Alexa Y. says:

    A good thriller/mystery is always a fun read, particularly when it draws you in to the point where you just MUST know what happens and how it all gets tied up in the end. There’s seriously something intriguing about this book, though the gang aspect brings to mind the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. I’m glad that this one is focused heavily on friendship though, because that certainly makes it different.

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