counter create hit They Wish They Were Us - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

They Wish They Were Us

Availability: Ready to download

A 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 A 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 is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.


Compare
Ads Banner

A 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 A 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 is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

30 review for They Wish They Were Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dita

    The problem with this book is that it is terrible. *Thank you to Penguin Teen and BookishFirst for gifting me a copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I can feel it unpopular review coming in the air tonight.No, I haven’t been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord! I didn’t want to tribute my one of the boo worthy review to dear Phil Collins and retro travel of 80’s but this is what is. I feel like Bradley Cooper’s character on Hangover who has been punched in the face by Mike Tyson who was punishing him for stealing his tiger as In the Air tonight blasted out as background music. I feel frustrated, dizzy, angry and I’m about to pas I can feel it unpopular review coming in the air tonight.No, I haven’t been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord! I didn’t want to tribute my one of the boo worthy review to dear Phil Collins and retro travel of 80’s but this is what is. I feel like Bradley Cooper’s character on Hangover who has been punched in the face by Mike Tyson who was punishing him for stealing his tiger as In the Air tonight blasted out as background music. I feel frustrated, dizzy, angry and I’m about to pass out! After seeing so many great reviews and comparisons with Gossip Girl, One of Us is lying and Pretty Little Liars, I looked at the pages and read a few chapters again to make sure I was reading the right book. Then I rubbed my eyes and read it again and as soon as Choo Choo sounds of frustration train and retro dance images of Kylie Minogue singing Loco Motion, I realized this must be right book but it’s not the right book for me! Well, I tell you why this is not my cup of vanilla latte: I hate the guts of the characters. I couldn’t connect any of them including MC Jill Newman . When I cannot relate with the character, reading about her inner monologues, her actions, motives, choices turned into a torturous reading session. I wanted to focus on murder mystery but unfortunately the killer was so predictable from the beginning ,wearing a shiny t-shirt with the words; “ I killed her” emblazoned on it. But all those silly characters were too blind or too dumb to see it. It seems like Player drama took too much place. I kept asking myself why they didn’t cut the crap and focus on murder mystery! Unfortunately pace was so slow, flat , boring and the chapters were too wordy. It should have been more intriguing, mysterious and gripping with better characterization and slow building high tension to keep attention alert! Well, as a result: this one failed me. Maybe I’m the wrong reader for the wrong book at the wrong time. Anyways, I’m so happy to see at least there are still positive reviews out there. Nobody has to be grumpy and unsatisfied reviewer who is sulking nervously like me. I accept my throne in the minority place and I deserved a lot rotten tomatoes so as a precaution I am wearing my helmet. I hope I learn to sleep with it. Still crossing my fingers. I hope I feel happier after my next reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    karen

    great title, great cover, okay book. i’m always down to read about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, so i’d been looking forward to this one for a while. however, i’m ALWAYS down for books about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, which means i have read A LOT of books about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, and when you read A LOT of the same kinda thing, the lit-version of the law of diminishing return great title, great cover, okay book. i’m always down to read about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, so i’d been looking forward to this one for a while. however, i’m ALWAYS down for books about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, which means i have read A LOT of books about insular cliques in academic settings that end in murrrrrrderrrrr, and when you read A LOT of the same kinda thing, the lit-version of the law of diminishing returns kicks in and unless there’s some next-level game-changing subgenre-transcendence going on between the covers, these same bones/different skin books become less and less likely to surprise or impress. so, YMMV, depending on how many of these kinds of books you’ve consumed. me, i thought it was fine. it takes place at a long island prep school three years after a freshman girl was murdered during one of the elaborate hazing rituals that have long been part of the school’s social fabric, designed to separate the golden from the platinum. eight pledges are nominated from each incoming class, and must endure tests of physical and psychological fortitude before they can become one of The Players—envied for their status, earning them the best table in the cafeteria, the answers to all the tests, as well as favoritism perks extending beyond high school’s small stakes, since players alum go on to become the 1% of…everything? college admissions, internships, business opportunities, etc—all roads paved by people who were once part of an elite group within an elite private school still bound by codes of loyalty and secrecy. it’s YA so i’ll overlook the statistical improbability of all of that. anyway, back to murrrrrrderrrrr: players prospect shaila died in the evening’s chaos, her boyfriend graham confessed and was sent to richboy juvie, and life went on for her pals, who are now seniors in charge of selecting the next batch of players. but what if graham didn’t kill shaila? the character types are pretty standard: sporty spice and bitchy spice and dauntless spice and scholarship spice etc along with a bunch of blandly interchangeable boys, except one is gay. for diversity. plus a young hot teacher, a bad boy playwright, and a lesbian. for diversity. secrets, amateur sleuthing, and (mostly) white privilege ensues. and i know I’M coming across a little bitchy spice about this, but just think of me as a big dumb puppy nipping playfully at a book that wasn’t all i’d hoped, but is perfectly fine. having been spoiled by some of YA’s edgier offerings, i found this one a little more Y than i typically dig. the whodunnit is pretty predictable, the fact that so many adults are invested in the game and complicit in the whole system is a little goofy—when a player is shunned, word spreads, and they are scorned not just by current high-schoolers but also grown folks who should have matured out of such pettiness, and surely some college deans would value actual academic merit over cheating cliques, regardless of what they themselves did in high school. at the same time, where it could have been cool and original—the ruthlessness of teenhazing conducted by the scions of people whose tax brackets typically protect them from consequences—it went a little soft. the “pops,” which are basically dares that the ’undies’ have to perform to become a player are…pretty tame, yet they cause disproportionate emotional distress in the prospective initiates. having to read aloud dialogue from a porno—not being filmed re-enacting, just reading the words while fully clothed, or having to make out with someone of the same sex, these lightweight challenges are pretty standard slumber party fare that shouldn’t cause tears or inspire feelings of scorching humiliation, and yet they do. and yes—some of the pops are more intense than these, including the one that led to shaila’s death, but for the most part it's silly stuff the achievement of which doesn’t seem commensurate with the supposed rewards of being a player. there was a second opportunity to add some fresh spark here, but for all the emphasis and fuss made by the MC about how much harder the pops always are for girls than boys, and how even after they become players, the girls defer to their male counterparts, this supposedly big sexist misogyny conspiracy doesn’t amount to much—no girls are being made to pull any trains or sext politicians—except for the final, personalized challenge, everygender’s tasked with doing the same vanilla stuff. the one time something SVU-worthy could have occurred, the perpetrator was so quickly and easily diverted that the whole scene was like three sentences. still, it was a good sickbed book, and now i'm recovered, and there's no proof this book didn't cure me. BUT MY MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION ABOUT THIS BOOK: where are these schools whose lunchrooms feature giant bowls of raw cookie dough?? and do they need substitute teachers? because—although presumably these students are plucking off pieces with their fingies, so if this is a thing that exists, they all have covid now—but if you're serving raw cookie dough at lunch, i'm first in line, before it gets tainted. and i’m not pinching off some ladylike portion—that cookie dough is my lunch, period. references available on request. *********************************************** perfect for those 'have a fever? read a book!' times. review to come when i recover from koffing and moaning. come to my blog!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I enjoyed this but didn't love it. It did remind me of Gossip Girl because all of our characters go to a private school and are super rich. We follow Jill who is apart of 'the players' aka the elite group. Each grade has one and every year the senior class picks 8 freshmen to become 'players' and go through grueling tests to prove their worth. Jill and 7 others were picked freshman year and now they are seniors and it's their year. Jill's best friend, Shailia died on initiation night freshman ye I enjoyed this but didn't love it. It did remind me of Gossip Girl because all of our characters go to a private school and are super rich. We follow Jill who is apart of 'the players' aka the elite group. Each grade has one and every year the senior class picks 8 freshmen to become 'players' and go through grueling tests to prove their worth. Jill and 7 others were picked freshman year and now they are seniors and it's their year. Jill's best friend, Shailia died on initiation night freshman year and her boyfriend, Graham was arrested for her murder and now 3 years later...questions are emerging, did he really do it? We basically learn all about these tests and how hard all of their lives are and I just loathed all of these characters so much. I'm sorry but I did, and I found the hazing was horrible and yet year after year it gets worse. Overall it was ok...just didn't love it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    High school melodrama, intrigue, and secrets? Sign me up every time. That's why I was excited for Jessica Goodman's new book, They Wish They Were Us . It’s senior year of high school for Jill Newman and her best friends at Gold Coast Prep on Long Island. Freshman year was awful when her best friend, Shaila, was murdered, and Shaila’s boyfriend Graham confessed, but Jill and her friends have all (mostly) moved on from that tragedy. Now they’re ready to rule the school. Jill and her friends are Pl High school melodrama, intrigue, and secrets? Sign me up every time. That's why I was excited for Jessica Goodman's new book, They Wish They Were Us . It’s senior year of high school for Jill Newman and her best friends at Gold Coast Prep on Long Island. Freshman year was awful when her best friend, Shaila, was murdered, and Shaila’s boyfriend Graham confessed, but Jill and her friends have all (mostly) moved on from that tragedy. Now they’re ready to rule the school. Jill and her friends are Players, part of the exclusive, not-quite-secret society at school. There’s some serious hazing involved as a freshman, but when you’re a Player, your life—and in many ways, your future—are set. When Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, she doesn’t know what to do. Her friends, who along with her were there the night Shaila was killed, tell her to leave it alone, let the past stay in the past. But if Graham really is innocent, that means someone else killed Shaila. Is it worth risking her friendships, her future, maybe even her life, to know the truth? I don’t know why, but I really enjoy this type of book, with secret societies or cliques, the secrets and lies, one person searching for the truth. My high school experience couldn’t have been further from this, so I guess I’m just a sucker for melodrama. But this is a well-written book; it's not fluff. This was a really good story that totally hooked me. Even though I figured out what happened early on, there still were a few twists, so I couldn’t stop reading. There were a lot of familiar elements but Goodman added her own spin to them. I definitely think this could be a good movie! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    Thank you Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. “They say only the good die young, but that’s just a stupid line in a song we used to sing. It isn’t real. It isn’t true. I know that because Shaila Arnold was so many things – brilliant and funny, confident and wild. But honestly? She wasn’t all that good.” Rich kids, preppy private school, and murder. They Wish They Were Us was one of those books that I automatically like because it has some of my favorite things. I swear I wil Thank you Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. “They say only the good die young, but that’s just a stupid line in a song we used to sing. It isn’t real. It isn’t true. I know that because Shaila Arnold was so many things – brilliant and funny, confident and wild. But honestly? She wasn’t all that good.” Rich kids, preppy private school, and murder. They Wish They Were Us was one of those books that I automatically like because it has some of my favorite things. I swear I will never get tired of rich people drama and a murder mystery. I went into this thinking it was going to be a dark and disturbing mystery, but it was more about the drama of high school with a background for the murder that took place. I mean I’m not complaining because it was a compelling book, but I wish going into it I would have known the murder is not the main plot. Jill Newman is honestly why I enjoyed this book so much; she is a protagonist that I think everyone cheers for. She knows that what she and her group of friends is doing to the underclassmen is wrong, but she doesn’t want to go against the popular crowd and call them out. Jill and her friends seem to have it all their senior year, but how far did they go to make it to the top? I seriously got angry reading about the characters because they were spoiled rich kids who thought the world revolved around them. Slowly though, the author uncovers hints here and there about what happened leading up to their senior year and it made me hate them a little less. Onto the murder aspect, I was pleasantly surprised at the twist that happens and looking back if I was reading more carefully the author did put in little hints about who did it. I really give props to the author for making it a believable murder, sometimes twists in books are so far fetched that I end up hating the entire book. I want plot twist that shocks me, but is realistic which was definitely done in this book. I wish this book would have been focused a little more of the mystery part and I wanted it to be darker, but it was still a very good book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (mells_view)

    They Wish They Were Us is the absolute perfect title for a YA mystery thriller that will leave you thinking, “thank god I’m not them.” Jessica Goodman seamlessly introduces us to a cast of characters that you will instantly feel a little unsure about. It’s impressive how she made me understand them despite their morally gray personas, all while building up a mystery “whoactuallydunit?” plot in the background. Our main character Jill is dealing with the pressures that someone feels to fit in, beca They Wish They Were Us is the absolute perfect title for a YA mystery thriller that will leave you thinking, “thank god I’m not them.” Jessica Goodman seamlessly introduces us to a cast of characters that you will instantly feel a little unsure about. It’s impressive how she made me understand them despite their morally gray personas, all while building up a mystery “whoactuallydunit?” plot in the background. Our main character Jill is dealing with the pressures that someone feels to fit in, because it seems better than the alternative of being left out. The pressures of any high schooler to do well, because someone is depending on them to do so. Add on to that the fact that the boy who admitted to murdering her best friend 3 years ago, is suddenly claiming he’s innocent. Yeah. This one is a ride. I honestly enjoyed that it took time to understand Jill’s motivations in this story. This book doesn’t move at a quick pace by any means. It takes time to explore the prep school experience from the perspective of someone who knows the cost of fitting in and introduces you to The Players and other morally gray characters in Gold Coast. Jumping from the past and present POV of Jill, subtle clues to the mystery are dropped and layers are built up to show us who Jill truly is. I will say that some of the transitions between past and present were rocky to navigate, but by the end I sort of adjusted to them. All that being said, I thought that this was an entertaining read. I do feel that it focuses more on Jill and her friends involvement with The Players, and in the Gold Coast community in general. How they navigate and the choices they’ve had to make along the way. The mystery is important, obviously, but the stakes feel pretty mild considering the crime has already been committed. That’s all I really want to say without spoiling, but I highly recommend for anyone who thinks they would enjoy a mash up of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. I know that many people hate when books are compared to other series, but I honestly feel like that combination perfectly describes the overall vibe and bones of this story. Available NOW! *ARC provided by PenguinTeen through NetGalley!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I AM OBSESSED! Jessica Goodman wrote one of the summer’s most anticipated books and I am all here for it. They Wish They Were Us is an addictive YA murder mystery set in the backdrop of one of Long Island’s most exclusive and prestigious school for the most privileged, Gold Coast Prep. This is a book that you will devour for its secret society, hazing rituals, exclusivity, popularity and power of the privileged few. Jill Newman and her best friend Shaila Arnold were selected to join an exclusive I AM OBSESSED! Jessica Goodman wrote one of the summer’s most anticipated books and I am all here for it. They Wish They Were Us is an addictive YA murder mystery set in the backdrop of one of Long Island’s most exclusive and prestigious school for the most privileged, Gold Coast Prep. This is a book that you will devour for its secret society, hazing rituals, exclusivity, popularity and power of the privileged few. Jill Newman and her best friend Shaila Arnold were selected to join an exclusive secret society called “The Players” with an incredibly vicious hazing ritual that one would die for, to achieve status and the opportunity to access information that would ensure an Ivy League standing. Well, that is exactly what happened three years ago when Jill’s best friend was murdered at the hands of her boyfriend Graham Calloway, who confessed to the murder. Now it’s senior year and Jill is determined to make this year the best ever! She is now one of the leaders of “The Players” and enjoying the privilege status everyone is coveting for. Everything is going well until she receives a text message from Rachel, Graham’s older sister that claims his innocence. At this point, through Jill’s POV and flashbacks to what really happened leading up to the murder had my fingers flipping unable to put this book down. Amazing! I loved that the writing delved deeper beyond the prep-school murder-mystery trope and explores female friendships, loyalty and grief. Goodman explores the harrowing consequences of belonging and keeping up the façade. Don’t miss this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Toya

    Was anyone else completely obsessed when the television series Gossip Girls aired?! It came out my senior year of college, and my friends and I were absolute trash for it. They Wish They Were Us brings back all of the feels plus adds a murder mystery to boot. Gold Coast Prep is one of the most prestigious schools in the country where trust funds and privilege are commonplace. During their freshman year, Jill Newman and her friends were selected to join the Players, an exclusive society at Gold C Was anyone else completely obsessed when the television series Gossip Girls aired?! It came out my senior year of college, and my friends and I were absolute trash for it. They Wish They Were Us brings back all of the feels plus adds a murder mystery to boot. Gold Coast Prep is one of the most prestigious schools in the country where trust funds and privilege are commonplace. During their freshman year, Jill Newman and her friends were selected to join the Players, an exclusive society at Gold Coast that opens doors to the unimaginable. But first, they have to prove themselves worthy by taking part in hazing rituals called ‘pops’. On the last night, Jill’s best friend Shaila Arnold was found murdered at the hands of her boyfriend Graham Calloway. After his confession, he was locked up and everyone tried to move past this tragic event. Now it’s senior year, which means Jill and her friends are now the leaders of the Players. It’s their time to host the best parties, choose the next freshmen Players, and get into their dream colleges. Everything is exactly as it should be until Graham Calloway withdraws his confession and claims he didn’t kill Shaila. Could Graham be telling the truth? What actually happened that night? I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. This gripping, fast-paced story is packed with lies, secrets, and betrayal, which made for an utterly addictive and unputdownable book. As we learn more about the Players and the expectations of being a Player, we see just how far people are willing to go to belong as well as to maintain a certain image. Overall, if you’re looking for an obsessive thriller/murder mystery laced with twists and turns then definitely pick this one up! Thank you to Penguin Teen for my review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Monte Price

    It's been a minute since I've been so invested in a book that I managed to finish it in a matter of hours. From the first page I was invested in the narrative even if it wasn't immediately apparent where the story was going to go. Jill Newman was the kind of protagonist that I love to follow; straddling the line between reluctant hero and wanting to sick to the status quo that was engaging without ever teetering over into annoying territory. The only real qualm I had with the narrative is one th It's been a minute since I've been so invested in a book that I managed to finish it in a matter of hours. From the first page I was invested in the narrative even if it wasn't immediately apparent where the story was going to go. Jill Newman was the kind of protagonist that I love to follow; straddling the line between reluctant hero and wanting to sick to the status quo that was engaging without ever teetering over into annoying territory. The only real qualm I had with the narrative is one that is unique to me I'd say, and that's how time is handled. While I appreciated the flashbacks, I wasn't so much a fan o the way days would pass by or that we somehow managed to spend an entire school year with these characters given how long the book was. Not that the book ever felt rushed, because it definitely didn't and I do think that even a lot of the side characters got enough time for them to never feel two dimensional, but they definitely didn't feel as important as I might have wanted. I will say that this is one of the times that I think the ending was good and the twist was believable with the proper hints there for a smarter reader than I to pick up on. I am definitely looking forward to more from this author and would wholeheartedly recommend this book to people looking for a good time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    2.5⭐ They Wish They Were Us sounded like something I would love, but I struggled to get into this story. It kept me just interested enough to see if it got better. It was a little too predictable, and the alternating timelines were unclear and confusing at times. This wasn't really a bad book, but it doesn't stand out from any other YA thriller. CW - sexual harassment, misogyny, bullying / hazing

  12. 5 out of 5

    alana ♡

    “Look around. Look at everyone else,” Shaila whispered into the huddle. “They wish they were us.” If you’re looking for a fast paced mystery/thriller to cozy up with this fall They Wish They Were Us is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I mean, an elite prep school, murder, secrets, betrayals, and the future completely at stake? Sign me up, we love some drama in this house. And even though I didn’t totally love this one I still really enjoyed my time spent r “Look around. Look at everyone else,” Shaila whispered into the huddle. “They wish they were us.” If you’re looking for a fast paced mystery/thriller to cozy up with this fall They Wish They Were Us is one that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I mean, an elite prep school, murder, secrets, betrayals, and the future completely at stake? Sign me up, we love some drama in this house. And even though I didn’t totally love this one I still really enjoyed my time spent reading it and pretty much devoured this book since it’s so hard to put it down. For a debut author I thought this was a lot of fun and I would definitely pick up more from her in the future. They Wish They Were Us is told through the past – when Jill’s best friend was still alive – and in the present where Jill is now a senior and still trying to cope with the loss of her best friend. Jill has basically everything she could ever want in a high school experience since she’s a Player which gives her extra perks to her already elite prep school – popularity, an in to the best parties, the answers to any test she’ll have to take, and adults who are basically willing to look away at any wrongdoings. But when Jill starts receiving text messages that her best friends murderer is innocent and her real murderer is still on the loose Jill can’t let it go and is willing to give up a lot more than her high school perks if it means getting the right person behind bars. It’s a story filled with twists and turns where even the most innocent characters have a few dirty secrets up their sleeve that they’d rather no one find out about. So, where did the story fall a little lack luster for me? I found this to be rather predictable. I posted a Goodreads update at 22% that I was pretty sure I already knew who the killer was and as it turns out I was right. Normally, I’m pretty good with guessing who the culprit is and I truly don’t mind because there’s always so much potential when it comes to the build up on what their motive was but unfortunately, the motive department felt a little lacking too. Other than that though I really enjoyed this one, between the characters, the pacing, and the smaller plot twists there’s a lot to keep readers their toes while flying through this! Blog | Twitter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Actual Rating: 3.5 stars They Wish They Were Us is a debut YA mystery/thriller set at an elite private school on Long Island that tackles toxic cultures of hazing, misogyny, and privilege. When Jill was a freshman, she was tapped to join the elite Players, along with her best friend and 6 others. The Players have dark secrets and a history of hazing incoming freshman, viewed as required payment for the benefits of joining, but now Jill's cohort is in charge and things are going to be different. B Actual Rating: 3.5 stars They Wish They Were Us is a debut YA mystery/thriller set at an elite private school on Long Island that tackles toxic cultures of hazing, misogyny, and privilege. When Jill was a freshman, she was tapped to join the elite Players, along with her best friend and 6 others. The Players have dark secrets and a history of hazing incoming freshman, viewed as required payment for the benefits of joining, but now Jill's cohort is in charge and things are going to be different. But is it that easy to break out of abusive cycles? And Jill may be a senior now, but her best friend is dead and she's starting to wonder if the person accused of her murder was the real culprit. This has been compared to Gossip Girl, and I can definitely see why. We have a cast of complicated characters at an elite institution, though some are more elite than others. There are parties, drinking, drugs, sex, and cheating to get ahead. None of the characters (including Jill) are exactly likeable, but I do think the author effectively unpacks how they all got to where they are. Family and social pressure, the need to succeed, growing up with privilege, the normalization of misogyny and rape culture, and more. This isn't a light read, but I think it does a good job of getting inside hazing culture and how toxic and insidious it can be, even when people think they want to change it, and how it can end up being very dangerous. The mystery element here seemed pretty obvious to me, but it was still reasonably well executed. This is the sort of book you will probably either be into or hate, depending on your taste. There are some things I didn't love, like the use of (view spoiler)[ a teacher/student sexual relationship as a plot point for shock value without doing justice to the topic, (hide spoiler)] and having a scene that basically normalizes girls faking orgasms during sex. (This really bugs me, especially in a book for teens. Sex should be about open communication and being okay with things not always working out perfectly.) She does a good job of addressing this issue of hazing, although that's usually more an issue in college than high school and you really have to suspend disbelief that young teens in a small town could really get away with all of this. I would have found it more believable at the university level. But privilege can be a hell of a drug, so maybe it's not so out there. I do think this is a pretty good debut and I was certainly engrossed in the story. Not a new favorite, but I'll keep an eye on what else we get from this author.Thanks to Penguin Teen for providing a digital copy for review. All opinions are my own. Content warnings include teen drinking and drug use, sexual assault, teens being drugged, severe hazing, misogyny, murder, violence, manipulation, cheating (in school and relationships), a possible teacher-student sexual relationship, and more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    Senior year won’t be the same without Shaila, who was murdered by her boyfriend Graham freshman year. For Jill and the other Players, members of a not-so-secret society, Shaila’s death hangs over everything. Then Jill gets a text from Graham’s sister, claiming his innocence, calling into question everything Jill believes. Jill is a great narrator. Though her moral compass is compromised by being a Player, deep down she cares about right and wrong, Shaila, her younger brother and her future. Debut Senior year won’t be the same without Shaila, who was murdered by her boyfriend Graham freshman year. For Jill and the other Players, members of a not-so-secret society, Shaila’s death hangs over everything. Then Jill gets a text from Graham’s sister, claiming his innocence, calling into question everything Jill believes. Jill is a great narrator. Though her moral compass is compromised by being a Player, deep down she cares about right and wrong, Shaila, her younger brother and her future. Debut writer Jessica Goodman created an interesting cast of characters. I expected more mystery and investigation, which only got started half way through THEY WISH THEY WERE US. I would have preferred less hazing freshmen and more murder mystery. Goodman did a great job creating several plausible culprits, including Graham. The subplot of misogyny among the Players hierarchy and hazing could have been more developed. I read story in one sitting. THEY WISH THEY WERE US appears to be book 1 of a series and I say bring it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mac (bookshelfpalace)

    Thank you Penguin Teen for providing me with an e-arc of the book! The story was immensely engaging and I couldn’t put this book down! I thought the whole secret society at the school was exceptionally interesting and surprisingly different from what I expected. Throughout the book I was meticulously evaluating anything and everything that made someone seem suspicious and potentially the killer. I thought the whole book was well thought out and I would be interested to see more from Gold Coast Pr Thank you Penguin Teen for providing me with an e-arc of the book! The story was immensely engaging and I couldn’t put this book down! I thought the whole secret society at the school was exceptionally interesting and surprisingly different from what I expected. Throughout the book I was meticulously evaluating anything and everything that made someone seem suspicious and potentially the killer. I thought the whole book was well thought out and I would be interested to see more from Gold Coast Prep!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    Well, isn’t that odd? There’s no favorite quote at the top of this review. That’s because there were too many great ones to choose from. (Do you detect the sarcasm?) Reading this book is remembering something from your childhood. We’ll use Doritos as an example here. Do you remember craving something like Doritos? Asking your Mom or Dad to pick some up at the grocery store because that’s where they are headed. You sat there and waited patiently for them to return with a bag of cheesy goodness. T Well, isn’t that odd? There’s no favorite quote at the top of this review. That’s because there were too many great ones to choose from. (Do you detect the sarcasm?) Reading this book is remembering something from your childhood. We’ll use Doritos as an example here. Do you remember craving something like Doritos? Asking your Mom or Dad to pick some up at the grocery store because that’s where they are headed. You sat there and waited patiently for them to return with a bag of cheesy goodness. They get home and hand you a bag of not what you asked for. Instead of Doritos, you get cheese triangles. Wtf is this? You try one anyone anyway because you’re told that they’re the same. But you take that first bite and it’s an utter disappointment. That is this book in a nutshell. I should have known what I was getting myself into when they compared it to One of Us is Lying. I couldn’t even finish that book and here I thought this one would be different. I’m too old to be playing these games but I gambled anyway. I’m sad at myself. The characters were nauseating and none of them had any good qualities. I wish I could have pushed them all off of a cliff and it would have been end of story. I almost gave up a few times but I persevered and pushed on through hoping it would get better. Wrong! So very wrong! They Wish They Were Us was a waste of time. The mystery was mediocre and instantly solvable. Where’s the fun in that? The only redeeming quality it has is the cover. This book should be titled, Runaway or Don’t Waste Your Time, or better yet... I Wish I’ve Never Read This.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* Jill Newman attends Gold Coast Prep, a prestigious school that seems to create brilliant graduates. In freshman year, Jill's best friend, Shaila Arnold is killed by her boyfriend, Graham. Three years later, Jill is a senior, and part of The Players, the elite of Gold Coast Prep. When Jill starts receiv Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* Jill Newman attends Gold Coast Prep, a prestigious school that seems to create brilliant graduates. In freshman year, Jill's best friend, Shaila Arnold is killed by her boyfriend, Graham. Three years later, Jill is a senior, and part of The Players, the elite of Gold Coast Prep. When Jill starts receiving texts from Rachel, Graham's older sister, claiming his innocence, everything becomes more complicated. Now, Jill needs to decide who she believes, and who she can trust in the end. I think this was more of a 2.75/5 star read for me, but I'm rounding it up for the sake of Goodreads having a crappy rating system. I was a bit disappointed in this because I was able to figure out who the killer was very early on, but I had written them off because it seemed to obvious an option... but then I ended up being correct in the end. The plot was a bit slow, spending more time on Player drama then the murder mystery. I was intrigued with the Players and what they were all about, but I wasn't all that impressed with how much they complained about EVERYTHING. It seemed a bit silly when they are handed everything on a silver platter and still have the audacity to complain about having to get donuts for a senior above them... I dunno, it just rubbed me the wrong way I guess. I did enjoy Jill and her development throughout the story. I like that she finally realized the Players didn't need to be something she put on a pedastal. I also enjoyed how the story flipped between the past and present without it being too jarring to read. Overall, a fun read, but nothing to memorable in my opinion.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lexi304

    *2.5 stars* it was good but i predicted the killer pretty early on

  19. 4 out of 5

    April

    I had such high expectations for this book. It sounded like the perfect book for me. Sadly, this book did not live up to what I thought it would be. It is advertised as a Gossip Girl MEETS One of Us is Lying, but I did not feel as if the book met those expectations. Gossip Girl is iconic and sadly I must say the book was more of a discount gossip girl than anything. The murder seemed so background and honestly, the murder was the main reason why I picked this up. This book is just high school dr I had such high expectations for this book. It sounded like the perfect book for me. Sadly, this book did not live up to what I thought it would be. It is advertised as a Gossip Girl MEETS One of Us is Lying, but I did not feel as if the book met those expectations. Gossip Girl is iconic and sadly I must say the book was more of a discount gossip girl than anything. The murder seemed so background and honestly, the murder was the main reason why I picked this up. This book is just high school drama with a dash of someone did something bad. Prep School books are normally a favorite of mine, but again this book did not meet those expatiations. Now, I must admit the book was somewhat interesting. I like the idea that the kids have all the power and when one messes up its pretty easy to clean up. I Guessed who the murderer was right away and was pretty disappointed when I learned I was right, but I did enjoy the reveal and how there were hints throughout the book that told you who it was. I received a free copy of They Wish They Were Us from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  20. 5 out of 5

    frida ♡

    i am here because i am a halsey and sydney sweeney supremacist first, and human second.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    it’s 2 in the morning and i’m living on three hours of sleep so one day when i’m cohérent i will write a proper review! full rtc! a huge thank you to penguin teen for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caden

    3/5 stars! A huge thank you to PenguinTeen and NetGalley for sending me an E-Arc for an honest review! I was really interested in this book when I heard about the premise, and I did really like the ending. However, I did find the middle of this book a little slow, and I did find the plot predictable. I also had an issue connecting with the main character. One last thing that I had trouble with while reading this book, and one thing I think that caused me to not love this book, was how I found th 3/5 stars! A huge thank you to PenguinTeen and NetGalley for sending me an E-Arc for an honest review! I was really interested in this book when I heard about the premise, and I did really like the ending. However, I did find the middle of this book a little slow, and I did find the plot predictable. I also had an issue connecting with the main character. One last thing that I had trouble with while reading this book, and one thing I think that caused me to not love this book, was how I found the switching between flashbacks and the present time very confusing. I did like the writing style and the idea. I think that if you loved Gossip Girl or Veronica Mars, or any other YA thriller/crime, then you would like this book! Thanks for reading! Caden

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ishi Time

    Thank you, Penguin Teen, for sending me an e-ARC of this book! I requested this ARC because The Secret History is one of my all-time favorite books, and They Wish They Were Us was promised to have "a dash of The Secret History." Because of this comparison, I went into this book with really high expectations, none of which were met, unfortunately. I think if this comparison to TSH wasn't made in the synopsis, I would have enjoyed this book much more than I did, mostly because I kept expecting thi Thank you, Penguin Teen, for sending me an e-ARC of this book! I requested this ARC because The Secret History is one of my all-time favorite books, and They Wish They Were Us was promised to have "a dash of The Secret History." Because of this comparison, I went into this book with really high expectations, none of which were met, unfortunately. I think if this comparison to TSH wasn't made in the synopsis, I would have enjoyed this book much more than I did, mostly because I kept expecting things that didn't happen. The prose was really simple, and not literary and sophisticated, as I expected it to be. I suppose I can see the parallels between this book and TSH if I squint. For example, Jill had this really romanticized opinion of her friends but slowly realized that they were all terrible people. But I don't think the character relationships seemed complex enough to fully convey that feeling. I was 100% sure about who the murderer was before the main character even started to investigate anything, so reading her fumble about was a bit frustrating. The trauma after everything the girls went through could have been addressed better. I also would have preferred if Jill found evidence while actively looking for it, instead of stumbling across in accidentally. The ending also tied everything up a bit too neatly for my liking. I'm definitely more of a critical reader, so despite all the critiques, it was a fun read. This book was refreshing and easy to get through; not every book has to be super complex anyways. If I read this back in high school, I would have loved it, so I'd recommend it to people in that age group!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deryk Mason II

    Very good book. Needed this to get back into the groove of reading. Typical plot in my opinion but enough twists to keep you entertained. Knew who it was pretty early on. Will say one thing, I would have been a Player For Life! No way would I have faltered.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Bartz

    A juicy, fast-paced, addictive tale that's more than a mystery—it's a timely exploration of ambition, loyalty, and how far we'll go to belong. I couldn't put it down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Mara

    It's Gossip Girl meets Dead Girl's Society in this YA thriller that had me hooked from the get-go, and nope, I did not see that twist coming. 4.5/5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Jill’s a playa’ Jill, along with five of her senior year classmates at Gold Coast Prep in Connecticut is a member of The Players, a group that taps in eight freshman each year though a long hazing process which will ultimately leave them as a part of the most prestigious clique in school, and provide access to the Players’ remarkable koofer files (this is what we called them, anyway.) There were eight in Jill’s class too, only during initiation Jill’s best friend was killed and another pledge clas Jill’s a playa’ Jill, along with five of her senior year classmates at Gold Coast Prep in Connecticut is a member of The Players, a group that taps in eight freshman each year though a long hazing process which will ultimately leave them as a part of the most prestigious clique in school, and provide access to the Players’ remarkable koofer files (this is what we called them, anyway.) There were eight in Jill’s class too, only during initiation Jill’s best friend was killed and another pledge class member admitted to her murder. Now it’s senior year and these Players promise to change things - no more sexism, no more ridiculous, humiliating or dangerous “pops” or tasks. But that doesn’t seem to be happening and since Jill’s little brother is a tap, Jill is unhappy. Plus, Jill is getting texts from Rachel, the alleged murderer’s sister saying she can prove her brother didn’t kill Shaila, and asking for Jill’s help. Who isn’t a sucker for a good prep school murder? Jill’s a scholarship student, but has never admitted as much to any of her friends, so some of the most harrowing passages, for me, involve Jill’s fight to keep grades high, get scholarships, etc. The students felt very real and my only complaint is there wasn’t too much mystery to the mystery. Tweens will enjoy a lot, I think.

  28. 5 out of 5

    trufflebooks

    4.5/5 ⭐ Full review to come on AUS publishing date (Oct 20) So keen for the show, this was like gossip girl and pretty little liars combined with such a great concept of light academia/murder mystery 👌

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tia

    Final Rating: 3 Stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    “They say only the good die young, but that’s just a stupid line in a song we used to sing. It isn’t real. It isn’t true. I know this because Shaila Arnold was so many things – brilliant and funny, confident and wild. But honestly? She wasn’t all that good." THEY WISH THEY WERE US by Jessica Goodman is a well-crafted mystery/thriller about 8 freshman students at Gold Coast Prep, each looking forward to their senior year where they’ll rule as Players. The Players are the most elite students and an “They say only the good die young, but that’s just a stupid line in a song we used to sing. It isn’t real. It isn’t true. I know this because Shaila Arnold was so many things – brilliant and funny, confident and wild. But honestly? She wasn’t all that good." THEY WISH THEY WERE US by Jessica Goodman is a well-crafted mystery/thriller about 8 freshman students at Gold Coast Prep, each looking forward to their senior year where they’ll rule as Players. The Players are the most elite students and an exclusive group, which comes with the privilege of a handy app that provides access to everything they need to guarantee college admission, along with a whole slew of other benefits. When Graham kills his girlfriend Shaila at the end of freshman year, they’re down to six Players. The Players all believe that Graham killed Shaila but when Jill, a Player and Shaila’s bestie receives a strange text from Grahams sister, stating he’s innocent and she needs Jill’s help in proving it, the mystery and thrills kick in high gear! Jill is the narrator and is the best protagonist, she showed so much growth throughout the book, going from a fairly shallow mean girl to having actual depth; questioning herself and others around her. Nikki, another character shows growth, too, and that’s always a great thing in a book that I hope there will be a sequel to. The plot takes off right from the start, it had me guessing and then guessing again. There are some great twists and red herrings, making me suspicious of more than one of the characters. Jill reflects back on freshman year quite a bit so we get to know Shaila through Jill’s eyes and the rest of the supporting characters, who aren’t always very likeable but Ms. Goodman does this seamlessly and its information that is relevant to the story. They Wish They Were Us is an engaging mystery/thriller and I’ll be looking forward to the next in the series. Thank you to Penguin Teen and Jessica Goodman for providing me with a DRC of They Wish They Were Us in exchange for my honest review.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.