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I'm Kellie, an avid reader and school librarian who loves sharing and talking about books.As a middle school librarian I get to spend my days doing just that, while also enjoy discovering the perfect books to share with my friends. Ms. Burke's Books is a continuation of that, a place where I can offer my honest opinions on the books I read and hopefully help match you to your new favorite book!

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Girl Forgotten by April Henry


Escaping into her favorite true crime podcast is the only way Piper Gray can handle her move to a new town and a new family; she's never been close to her dad but is now living with him, her stepmother, and two stepsiblings that she barely knows. While wandering her new town she finds a gravestone of a girl her age and she is intrigued, especially when it turns out that Layla Trello was murdered before she could graduate high school seventeen years ago. And while there are plenty of rumors her murder is still unsolved. Deciding to create her own podcast to solve the case is a no-brainer and with the help of new friend Jonas she sets out on her investigation. But there are secrets that were meant to be buried; will Piper put herself in the line of sight of the killer before she can solve Layla's case?

My Thoughts

Girl Forgotten is a twisty thriller that will be appealing to YA readers. I appreciated that Piper investigated like a 17 year old would and has to grapple with ethical dilemmas like repeating unfounded rumors publicly and the ramifications of things like slander. Those are situations that are important to talk about when it comes to true crime podcasts and making Piper unaware felt realistic. Her relationship with Jonas was neccessary for the plot, though underwhelming as far as romance. 

This is now one of many books released in the last year or so I have read where there is an unsolved murder and someone starts a podcast about it. It is going to quickly become a tired plotline, though I understand with the popularity of true crime podcasts why it's become a thing. It also has a lot of ethical dilemmas and the question of where the line is between helping a case and exploiting it is important. Henry's examination of the legal aspects of defamation was impactful without being preachy and Jonas often serves as the devil's advocate for when Piper is crossing a line. Henry handled these issues well without  taking away from the pace and suspense of the novel.

Book Information

Author: April Henry
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Christy Ottaviano Books
Publish Date: March 28, 2023

Genre(s): YA mystery/thriller
Recommended for: teens
Diversity: most characters presumed white
Trigger Warnings: violence, murder (though not graphic in description)

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book for free from NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Christy Ottaviano Books. This is my honest review and all opinions are my own

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