Suspense YA Young Adult

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman Review

It’s Gossip Girl meets Dead Girl’s Society in this addictive YA thriller.

It’s good to be a senior at Gold Coast Prep, an elite private school that’s basically a straight shot to the Ivies. It’s even better to be a Player — one of a select few students with access to the best parties and everything from test answers to college-essay guides that guarantee a perfect GPA life. Not that being a Player is all perfect grades and parties. To become Players, students must first complete a list of challenges set by upper classmates. Challenges ranging from drunken disorderly. . . to deadly. At least that’s how the final initiation challenge ended for Jill’s best friend, Shaila, who was killed by her boyfriend Graham freshman year. At least that’s what everyone believed. Now Graham’s sister is stirring up the past and proclaiming his innocence, and the Players have to ask themselves, is a killer hiding among their number?

Main character Jill is likable and flawed, and it’s easy to fall into step with her as she breaks with the status quo and embarks on a crusade to uncover the truth behind her best friend’s death. Gold Coast is a whole lot of white privilege, and class struggles are explored. Jill is a scholarship student while her Player boyfriend lives in a McMansion. The Players operate in a morally ambiguous gray area, which isn’t really gray at all — from cheating on tests to challenges that include breaking and entering. No one here is a straight-up good person, and it makes for a deliciously addictive read. Jill is forced to make hard decisions that come at a great personal cost as she uncovers who she is beneath her Player persona — and what happened to Sheila.


Book: They Wish They Were Us
Published: Razorbill
Pages: 336
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020
Age Range: 14 – 18
Stars: 4/5

Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

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