Book Club Pick Review | They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

They Wish They Were Us

Title: They Wish They Were Us
Jessica Goodman
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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.


The novel follows Jill Newman during her senior year of high school at Gold Coast Prep. Three years ago, her best friend Shaila Arnold was killed by her boyfriend, Graham, three years ago; Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill and her friends tried to move on.

After reading so many great reviews and comparisons to Gossip Girl, One of Us Lying, and Pretty Little Liars, I flipped the pages and reread a few chapters to make sure I was reading the right book. After reading so many murder mysteries, it’s become quite easy for me to pick up on clues and hints left by the author in the text. Or just when the character is being particularly suspicious.

Personally, I think the mystery in this book was pretty easy to solve. [Character] was avoiding confrontation during central chapters of the novel and was leaving too many inklings that lead to their inevitable capture. Throughout the novel I was left wondering whether the author took long periods of breaks when writing this novel because of how the writing style changed as I read on.

Overall, I think this is a good read for beginners to the the Murder Mystery/Thriller genre as it was quick and easy to follow. I read this book along with the members of the Unfolded Pages Bookclub. This was the September Club Pick for 2021. For more information about the club and how to join, click here.

About the Author



Jessica Goodman is the New York Times bestselling author of young adult thrillers THEY WISH THEY WERE US, THEY’LL NEVER CATCH US, and THE COUNSELORS (out in 2022) from Razorbill/ Penguin Teen.

She is the former op-ed editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and was part of the 2017 team that won a National Magazine Award in personal service. She has also held editorial positions at Entertainment Weekly and HuffPost, and her work has been published in outlets like Glamour, Condé Nast Traveler, Elle, and Marie Claire.

You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Sign up for her newsletter Word Count here. Download her media kit here.

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