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Pretty Dead Girls

5 stars
323 (20%)
4 stars
593 (37%)
3 stars
479 (29%)
2 stars
155 (9%)
1 star
47 (2%)
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Profile Image for Debra .
2,422 reviews35.2k followers
December 18, 2017
3.5 stars

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.
***They forgot to add MEAN...Beautiful. Perfect. Mean. Dead

"A secret is not a secret if you tell someone..."

In the seaside town of Cape Bonita, popular "mean" girls are being murdered. They were members of the "Larks", an exclusive club of seniors and juniors who are cheerleaders, team captains, man stealers, rude chicks, etc... you get the picture. They are the pretty, popular mean girls who rule the school. But then one day one of them if found dead. Their little universe gets turned upside down. Soon there is another dead Lark and every girl in town in town is worried and fearful that she may be next.

Penelope, a Lark member, is trying to stay alive while trying to figure out who the killer may be and more importantly, could she be the next victim? After all the murdered girls were her "friends' and fellow Lark members. There is only one other person in town who has a connection to all the dead girls and that is Cass. The strange teen who lives with his grandmother. He has an interesting and sad past and until recently, Penny really didn't notice him. But now she does, and she begins to wonder, why now is he on her radar?

This is a very past faced YA thriller which does not disappoint. I devoured it in one sitting. It's fun, entertaining, and hard to put down. This book is like a guilty pleasure. It's fun, it's light and it isn't much work. It's perfect for that day when you want to read something fun that doesn’t take much brain power. I'm not putting this book - it's perfect for what it is. It's a fun thriller. Perfect for teens and adults who want a quick entertaining book.

I also liked the writing and the characters. They were not the nicest of people but they were drawn very well and although predictable, they did not disappoint.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley who provide me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,464 reviews2,358 followers
December 15, 2017


descriptionThis book was highly entertaining. Part PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, part MEAN GIRLS, part SCREAM QUEENS, I couldn't put it down and ended up reading it from cover to cover. I had to go back to check if I had read anything from this author before but I have not. An oversight I will be correcting soon.


I found this one to be well written and well paced. The plot was engaging and kept me turning the pages. The murder mystery kept me guessing right until the end. Although because the gender of the killer is given away early in the book, I was sure I had it figured out, alas imagine my surprise when I had it wrong. I am usually fantastic at Sherlocking the baddie(s) out in these type of books so extra brownie points go to the author for catching me off guard. There is a romance that takes place through the entire book, but since all the main characters are high school age, it's pretty much kept PG. There is a lot of characters in this one and none of them are particularly likable. But that was the entire point. Some remained unlikable while others matured and grew. Last, and this is where the book lost a star for me, the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked to have seen it drawn out more. All in all, this one was a very enjoyable read for yours truly and therefore it is getting two thumbs up.description




Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,565 followers
December 6, 2017
As a senior at her high school in the seaside town of Cape Bonita Penelope Malone has worked her way up to becoming the leader of the Larks, an exclusive school club that only accepts five senior and five junior girls each year. The Larks consist of the popular girls at the school, the cheerleaders and team captains, and focus upon volunteering and giving back to their community which looks great on college applications.

One morning after school begins there's an emergency meeting where it's announced that one of the Larks own has been found murdered. Students are questioned and rumors begin to fly. Penelope and the other Larks don't know how to feel, is it merely coincidence or are the Larks being specifically targeted?

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy is a young adult thriller read. This is one that while the characters are generally unlikable the writing and ease of flow of the story made it still an enjoyable read. Most of the story is told from Penelope's point of view but there are random chapters from the voice of the killer to build the clues as to who is behind the murders.

I think the biggest downside to this book will come in the fact that it's really nothing new to make it jump out on it's own. The killer seemed a little on the obvious side to me but even if not guessing early I'm sure by the reveal most will be able to think of something this book will remind them of. I still found that while one could call it predictable it was interesting enough to keep my attention and an likable enough read overall so in the end I'd rate this one at 3.5 stars.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,225 reviews8,036 followers
December 18, 2017
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PRETTY DEAD GIRLS: Is a Young Adult standalone novel by Monica Murphy, spoken in ‘Dual Perspectives’ ( Penelope & brief glimpses of what goes through a killers mind)

Pretty dead girls is set in a quaint small influential town called ‘Cape Bonita,’ along the northern California coast.

This is a perfect case of ‘who did it?’ ‘Pretty Dead Girls’ kick starts off with one of the popular girls being found murdered who was one of the Larks, an exclusive school club that only accepts five seniors and five junior girls each year. They are the most respected, the smartest and the most popular girls in high school.

All through out it’s a game of cat and mouse, a guessing game, speculation of who it could be, lies and secrets are revealed, a quiet town rocked to it’s core when more than one girl is brutally murdered, a serial killer is on the loose targeting the popular Lark girls.

Who can you trust?

Slowly a friendship blossoms between Penelope and Cass, a boy who she’s not really noticed until now, the quiet bad boy with a dark past, they say opposites attract and clearly this is the case when these two start getting closer.
They feel like the detectives aren’t doing their jobs properly so take it on themselves to gather as much information as they can about who they think it is.

This kept me guessing throughout, my mind would flip flop like our two main characters trying to guess who the slasher is amongst them. Is it a stranger like the media are painting it out to be or is something more sinister going on?

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Profile Image for Megan✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
293 reviews470 followers
December 26, 2017

“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
-Edgar Allan Poe.

I haven’t read a Monica Murphy book in such a long time and I can’t even explain as to why that is, but all I do know is that I will have to go back and read other stories that I have missed throughout the years, especially if she has written captivating novels as good as Pretty Dead Girls. This was such a great read for me and I literally couldn’t put down. I love a great murder mystery, where you keep guessing “who did it,” and one of the things I loved most about this intriguing and emotional read was the brief insights we got into the killers psyche, with the killers POV thrown into the mix it kept my interests peaked.

Pretty Dead Girls centres around Penelope, who is the president of the Larks and her gang of elite self-entitled followers. The Larks own the school and have been formed as a way to give something back to the community in the way of fundraising and volunteering. When tragedy strikes and one of the members of the Larks is found dead at a nearby church, it is the beginning of a lot more tragedy to come for these pretty Lark girls and this quiet, seaside town, Cape Bonita.

“She was a fierce competitor. She was also a friend – and sometimes an enemy, if I’m being completely honest.
And now…she’s dead.”

Soon many secrets, lies and betrayals come to the surface and they all start to question who can they really trust, and whether they’re next on the killers list. The backstabbing lies and betrayal between these so called friends really captivated me and to be honest I loved all the drama it caused. Although a lot of the characters were extremely unlikeable, that was indeed the whole point. As a reader I was meant to not like them; I mean who needs enemies when you have friends like these.

I glare at him, insulted by his assumption. “You don’t know me.”
“Ah, but I do.” His smile fades. “You just don’t realize it yet.”

Penelope starts to notice the quiet, strange, outcast “bad boy” Cass and she can’t help but ponder why she has never noticed him before. Soon a friendship starts blossoming between the two and as they grow closer, they decide to go on the hunt for the killer of the pretty, popular Lark girls. They feel the police aren’t doing a good enough job so they will take it upon themselves to solve this mystery.

Pretty Dead Girls is a fast-paced YA murder mystery that kept me guessing throughout and really intrigued me until the very end. If you’re a fan of Pretty Little Liars mixed with Mean Girls, then you will be sure to love this one. I love delving into a really good YA book every now and then and this one did not disappoint. I really enjoyed it and couldn’t recommend it enough.

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Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,597 reviews773 followers
December 12, 2017
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Murder Mystery (Thriller. Suspense)

When I first started reading this book I immediately thought it was going to be a replication of a movie from the early 90's called Death of a Cheerleader . I thought this because the opening scene is a popular high school girl being murdered in a church parking lot by an unknown person who just wanted to be her friend (which is exactly like that movie). Additionally, one of the groups in this book- the Larks- is the exact same group (with the same name) in the movie. So i'll admit, I got a little nervous. However, I kept reading because I have really enjoyed Monica Murphy's books in the past and I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. THANKFULLY, my preconceived notions were quickly demolished. Monica Murphy writes the PERFECT book for those who like TEEN SCREAMS . It's a little Scream mixed with Scream Queens (one of my FAVORITE shows), and has enough mystery and suspense to keep any reader hanging by the edge of their seats. If you enjoy young adult horror, thrillers, and mysteries you don't want to miss this one. I read it (devoured it actually) in 2 sittings (only because I had to sleep).

Someone is murdering off pretty girls from the Larks- a high school community service that is run by the popular girls in school (mainly the beautiful cheerleaders who aren't always that nice)- and it's up to Penelope to figure out who this killer is before it gets her.

Penelope, the main character of the story, is the president of the Larks. She was put in this position by her predecessors and enjoys all that comes with it (the minions, the popularity, etc.) But when one her her friends and fellow member of the group gets violently murdered her life begins to change.

Cass is the bad boy of the school with a sketchy past. He keeps to himself, doesn't get in the way of others, and tries to live as low key as possible. Does this make him a little weird? Sure. Especially considering this is High School and his peers aren't the most open minded. But when a murder occurs and shocks his little community, he can't help but become more involved. And with the help of the uber popular, Penelope, they may be able to figure out the killer before someone else dies...


What we have here my friends is your classic teenage slasher book that is filled with characters you can't trust, and a killer that you won't figure out until the very end. Monica does a great job at racking up the tension and making it so that you can't trust anyone. I really enjoyed the novel, the action packed and chilling plot, and the characters who quickly become a part of your life. If you're looking for a book with all this, then try PRETTY DEAD GIRLS.


➜ My inability to figure out the killer: I had my suspicions and I was pretty close to figuring out "who-dun-it", but I was really never able to figure out the exact person.

➜ The added romance: Cass and Penelope are as different as they come. She is the popular high school cheerleader with an elite position in the Lark and he is the quiet, shy, and withdrawn loner with a sketchy past. But their romance? So cute! Sure, they had your typical high school romance vibes, but it totally worked for the story.

➜ The classic slasher feels: I love me some slasher flicks so knowing I can read books with this type of theme in it really gets me excited. This book quenched that thirst.


➜ The ending was too quick: I have noticed this in MANY murder mystery books- the ending is not drawn out enough. On one page we are doing average things without the tension (in this case, attending a vigil for the dead girls) and then BAM, the killer is unmasked. Had their been a bit more buildup before the unveiling I would have liked it more.

➜ The beginning: As I mentioned above, I got really nervous that this book would be an exact replica of a movie I watched and loved in the past. So much in fact that I ALMOST put the book down. I'm glad I didn't though.


Actual Rating: 4.5 stars
Would I recommend it? YES!!!


➜ Amazon Kindle:
➜ Amazon Print:
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,332 reviews358 followers
December 23, 2017
An ARC has been kindly given by Entangled Teen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion

4 stars

A bad deed will always come bite you back or when revenge is savage.

Welcome in the world of high school snotty girls. The Larks are already raising funds and investing their times in charities but backstabbing their friends all with a big Pepsodent smile.


“The Larks is a small group of ten girls who are the smartest, the most respected, the most athletic, the most popular in our school. We all try to make the top grades so we can get into the best colleges and make our school and our families proud. And the Larks isn’t just about community service—it’s the ultimate overachievers group. “

Penelope is the Larks president and believe me when I tell you it was like managing a pack of hyena just more beautiful.

“Not that I was the nicest person, I realize this. I had a reputation as a snob, yet it never bothered me. I was just following in my sister’s footsteps, who also ruled the school back in the day. Most of the time, I secretly liked it when people would scurry away when they saw me coming. That crowds would part to allow me to walk through and people called my name because they were desperate to be my friend. It made me feel powerful.”

I struggled with the story in the beginning. Condescending Queen Bees plural don't make for easy heroines to like. Maybe sweet Mandy was the kindest and most redeemable of the bunch.
I just wanted to give Corey, Gretchen and the likes a good spanking!
Insufferable. Penelope was somewhat less snob but it was not your usual perfect and relatable heroine that you love to like!

When a killer strikes the Larks one by one Penelope is frightened. She may be the next. The murders unearth some ugly secrets. The girls were popular and part of a community but they were far from good friends! It was like Gossip Girls and all the mean girls trying to overpower the others. A real competition!

Enter Cass. Cass is the loner student. Mysterious and possessing a bad rep. He has baggage. Penelope never noticed him before but since Gretchen’s murder she crosses his path all the time. Is it random? Does he have ulterior motive? Unnerving he seems to know a lot more about the dead girls than what could be expected of an outcast. His mother was unhinged so maybe Cass should not be trusted?

Swinging between suspicion and attraction Penelope is taken by Cass's good looks but she does not trust him. This is the heart of the story: who can you trust? Who is killing the girls? Why?

I never guessed the murderer's identity. Monica Murphy leaves some clues just to send us on a goose chase and a dead end.

Now let’s have a look at the characters.

I told you that Penelope was not easy to like but I loved Penelope's character development. From entitled rich girl she became more compassionate and humble. The murders, the secrets made her realize that being at the top by crushing others was not admirable. Friendship and support was what mattered.
Cass hotness and aloofness helped make this story even more attractive. Especially when you learn his secrets. Put a handsome guy hiding a troubled past and I will follow his every move with the utmost attention!

Monica Murphy made the uneasy choice to go for flawed characters. The girls, Cass feel real. They made and still make mistakes but it shapes their personality. They change. This is real life: no black or white characters but rather various shades of grey.

So what is missing to give a higher rating?

The murderer is impossible to guess based on the clues. The tension is ever present and it keeps us reading because of course we want to know who is next and who did it. This is all good but when the killer's identity was revealed it was like producing a white rabbit out of a hat. Totally unexpected.

I want to thank Entangled Publishing for its trust as I had a great time reading this mystery. Recommend it? Yes especially if you are a fan of Monica Murphy and if you don’t know her yet this would be a perfect first read.
Profile Image for chloe ♡.
394 reviews269 followers
January 26, 2018
I received an e-ARC of this book from Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Well, well, well. I enjoyed reading this, but I'm not sure what to say about it, so this is going to be a short review!

I don't really like the cover. The "S" in "GIRLS" looks so weird. I think there's some meaning behind the word's special position on the cover but I'm not sure what it is. The colors are so pretty though!

I almost NEVER read thrillers - I get scared easily hahahaha. I've read another Monica Murphy book before, and it's a sweet, fluffy contemporary. I wasn't sure what this book was about before reading it, but I love Murphy's writing and I knew I would love Pretty Dead Girls.

THIS WAS PRETTY DARK. I kind of got scared when reading the first few chapters? For some reason I thought that the culprit was a boy who is obsessed with the girls, but I WAS SO WRONG HAHAHA. At some point I even blamed the murders on Cass...

CASS IS A SUPER DREAMY GUY OMG. Another character to add to my ever-growing book boyfriend list 😍 He is such a nice person and treats Penelope like a gentleman.

The Larks (the popular girls in Penelope's school) are so annoying. Among all of the girls, I only liked Penelope and Dani. They are described as the girls with the best grades, but that is so hard to believe because they act so stupid! + There's a lot of hate among them and they fight over boys all the time.

The end is also kind of rushed. We were given no clues, so it's hard for us to try to solve the crime by ourselves. The story would have been better if the author left more hints and elaborated more.

Overall rating
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
2,140 reviews580 followers
December 11, 2017
Somebody is killing off the mean girls at school....and Penelope might be next.

This was a quick and easy read.. I read half of it at the hairdressers! I could easily see this as a teen movie. Thanks to Entangled Publishing via Netgalley for a copy of this book to read and review
Profile Image for Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.).
401 reviews431 followers
January 2, 2018
3/5 Stars

I liked it although I expected more, it's a very entertaining book if you like the mystery genre, but I would recommend it for those who are just beginning with it, since it has been quite predictable for me. Maybe I' have great expectations with this one, but the characters seemed really flat and if you already know me, you know I can't let that happen. Even so, it's entertaining and the writing style is quite good. But even so I expected something more complex here and instead I found a quite simple mystery book, nothing that I haven't read before to be honest, but it can be entertaining if you're looking for a light reading and don't want to read a simple contemporaneous, you know?
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,949 reviews306 followers
December 13, 2017
I had read several romance books during the past week and felt it was time for something different and wanted a mystery novel and some murder. I picked up one before this and couldn't get into it and then I remembered that I had Monica Murphy's new one - Pretty Dead Girls. I had been looking forward to this book. Pretty Dead Girls starts off with one of the popular girls Gretchen meeting someone in secret and the encounter ends up with Gretchen dead. The next day, the school are alerted, and Penny who is the President of a society called The Larks made of the school's popular girls is questioned as Gretchen was one of the Larks. One down and four more to go as someone is killing off the Seniors in the group The Larks. At first, I thought that the killer was a guy and had one in mind, but then we have a chapter in the killer's perspective where she compared herself to Dexter by being a Female Dexter- bringing justice to all those who were ever bullied in school. Pretty Dead Girls is set in High School and is a YA novel. I have to admit when the killer was revealed, I had a little feeling of who it was, but Pretty Dead Girls is filled with twists and turns that keep you on your toes trying to decipher who is innocent and who is not. If you love mysteries and YA novels, then check out Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy coming soon to a Kindle near you in January 2018.
Profile Image for Richelle Robinson.
1,199 reviews35 followers
December 30, 2017
Reading this story reminded me of “Pretty Little Liars”, “Mean Girls” and “Scream Queens” all into one and I was not disappointed at all.This was the first book that I’ve read by Monica Murphy and I really enjoyed this story. It was well written, fast paced and kept me on my toes. I have to give the author points for catching me off guard with the killer. Murphy did a good job painting others as the potential suspects but as a horror movie fan, I had a feeling they were innocent. When the killer is revealed and the reasoning I wasn’t expecting that at all. I had one small issue with the story and that’s the way it ended. I would have liked to see what happened a few months down the road with the surviving characters. Overall, I was very impressed with this new to me author that is Monica Murphy. I will be sure to check out more books by this author.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley*

For more reviews check me out at:

Profile Image for Jenn.
1,764 reviews303 followers
February 1, 2019
Life is short. I need to make the most of it. And being a total bitch is not the way to go.

Well, that pretty much sums up the entire book and I hate to say that I was extremely disappointed in it. I love me some good slasher/thriller type books so I was super excited to read this one. However, it just had so many issues that it was hard to enjoy.

So the main gist of the story: popular girls who are all part of the same sorority type club are getting murdered. Our MC, Penelope, starts to believe she's next and tries to solve the murders herself - by suspecting everyone around her. Along the way she teams up with the resident outcast bad boy who, as it turns out, has a history with every single girl that was killed. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn

So characters. Let's start with Penelope:
And if one calls the other a whore, then they're all whores together. You know what I mean? But I'm not one to slut shame so...
How many guys is Court trying to go through by the time we graduate?
And this was the girl we were supposed to root for.
Yeah...she slut shamed every girl she came into contact with. She was spoiled and conceited and obsessed with being the perfect girl but then liked to pretend she didn't understand why guys liked her. I kind of wished the killer had killed her. That would have been the perfect plot twist.

Then there's resident bad boy Cass. Seemed like someone wanted a Dean Winchester type for high school but instead we just got moody and dysfunctional Cass. I know he said he was in therapy, but maybe he should up the sessions.

All of the other girls. Yes, I'm lumping them together because you literally couldn't tell any of them apart. They were all the same vapid, shallow mean girls who "ruled the school". I didn't care when any of them died.

The cops.
Oh I'm sorry, were we supposed to take them seriously? Because they seemed like high school boys who got picked last for dodgeball. They were childish, inappropriate and unprofessional.

Then there was the writing. This wasn't my first book from Murphy and I remember liking her work. So I was super excited to pick this one up. But I felt that the writing just wasn't there. Maybe because I'm obsessed with true crime and watch all of the tv shows and listen to podcasts, etc. But I figured out the murderer very early on and was just wondering how this was going to play out. And I was underwhelmed.
Profile Image for mith.
758 reviews265 followers
December 23, 2017
yeah, hey guys i wrote my review of this book which you can also read here if you'd like.
Spoilers ahead because I just don't give a fuck about this book.

Pretty Dead Girls is a Pretty Bad Book. One I don't even want to waste any more time talking or thinking about because it was wrong in all sorts of ways. Was it intentional? I don't know. Does it matter? Not really.

But what is it even about? Well. It's about the prettiest and the smartest girls in Penelope's graduating class, girls all part of some high maintenence group that basically reiterates that they are the Best and the Prettiest. It's about them being murdered because why? Essentially, because they're all just terrible people.

Guys. Look. I really wanted to try and like this one. But seriously. Everyone in the book was just plain old terrible. I can't think of a single redeeming characteristic for any of them. You know those mean girl turnaround stories? I was kind of hoping this book would be one of those but nooooo.

Because I don't really know where to start, expect this review to be sort of everywhere and messy. And in list form!

First up: the main character

I think her name is Penelope and I think she hates being called Penny but who cares. She's a hypocritical character who is The Worst. She slut shames people who she refers to as friends. She constantly belittles them behind their back, criticising them because of either who they hook up with or whatever action they do. Lemme tell you, that shit gets tiring quick. I have no patience for characters like these--who think, unwittingly or not, that they're above others because of their (the "friends", in this case) actions.

Not only that, but jesus, Penny here was so incredibly nosy. From wanting to see how a party that shouldn't have happened play out, to the life of her love interest. She wanted to know everything about him, including his hookups and whatnot, which just? You have to understand that they're just getting to know each other in this book. And, okay yeah, the circumstances are incredibly weird (I guess I'm using that word to define murdered students! but whatever), but seriously. She couldn't let anything rest.

Two: literally nothing about handling grief

I get that this is a mystery, whodunnit, kind of novel. I get it! But it also takes place in high school, and the girls murdered are also girls Penelope considered friends. (Friends, being, "oh we knew each other for so long but god, she could be so horrible!) In any case, it wasn't really handled well. There are a few of those school gatherings for the girls, but there's also a fucking party being thrown? You do you, though. If that's going to help you feel a bit better, that's fine, I'm in no position to judge. But none of the characters are really shown as upset by these deaths as they say.

Everyone is a garbage person

There's probably one or two characters in this entire book that are decent and they get a total of one-fourth of a page of action. Everyone else? Absolutely horrible. The girls are all epitomes of mean girls. There's constant talk of how one girl stole this other girl's man, hooking up and the occasional cheating, snarky remarks behind each other's backs, and moooooore. It sounds like a bad infomercial when you think about it. (I don't want to buy what you're selling). Most of them end up dead, of course, and as the reader, trust me, you'll literally feel nothing. Everyone says they're friends with each other but you hardly: a) see Penelope even being a best friend to hers, and b) say a nice thing to each other. Everything is so catty and horrible.

The love interest??? Why.

I didn't get it. If you ask me, this book might have been better without the introduction of one. The guy, whose name I have conveniently forgotten, is the boy that sits next to Pen in some science class. They've literally never talked but after the murder, suddenly they do. Their eyes meet across the room where the principal is talking about a dead student and grief counsellors. He sends her texts and snapchats from an unknown number, saying he has info on a girl who may or may not be a suspect--because of course! Go to some girl you like instead of the police! Anyway, he even decides to threaten her if she talks about their meeting--which, by the way, he called for, so okay!! Whatever. Just... here, take a look for yourself.

[here is the link to the image because who the fuck knows how to put a tweet on here.] (just right click to see it in a new window) (if that's your thing)

I'm tired.

But wait! There's more.

(I told you this was like a bad infomercial.)

Okay, no but seriously. This guy is incredibly suspicious and yet Penelope still follows him around. Because he's cute? Because he gets her? I don't know. He has a strange background that both involves the dead girls and the girl that's alive that Penelope suspects. That background involves some kind of addiction and rehabilitation thing and yes, it is messy, and yes Penelope is incredibly nosy about it, and yes, he 100% tries to hide it from her and acts even more shady about it. Yes, yes, yes, whatever you're thinking, it probably happens because DRAMA! Girls are dead, and that is what's important!

Anyway. There's this one scene where they're headed to a party (that, a) should not be happening; b) said they weren't going to but now are and also lying about not going; and c) they're both idiots) where he's all like "LET ME DRIVE" and she's like "Why?" and he's like "BECAUSE I WANT TO BE IN CONTROL TONIGHT" and instead of running for the fucking hills, she's like "But why me?" and, he, being the dreamy, swoony, oh-so-beautiful-and-tortured-bad-boy in high school, goes "Because I've liked you for so long now!"

What the fuck does that have to do with anything though? I don't know!! I really have no answer. I hate this book.

The mystery

I wanted to add AKA the thing that's supposed to be the plot but somehow got buried underneath all of that mess.

I'm bad at guessing who did the killings, so to be honest, I read the ending before I really got into the book. Sue me. When I went back to the beginning, I guess?? the author didn't do the worst job at letting readers know who, especially since for most of the fucking book, the main character is suspicious of another girl. In any case, it's not even about who killed the girls. The mystery itself is just... poorly done. It fell flat and you're never going to feel in suspense.

The murderer actually has their own POV, much like Jennifer Lynn Barnes' murders in her Naturals series. Unlike those books, however, this murderer is horrible (and not just because she's killing people. But that is bad so don't get me wrong or anything), and shames the girls they've killed because of those reasons I mentioned before.

The ending

Horrible. Cut and dry. Easily wrapped up. The murderer even has that whole cliché evil speech at the end. Not a fan and 0/10 would not read again.

As I understand it, this book was inspired by Scream Queens, a show that I have never scene. So if it has parallels? I wouldn't know.

TL;DR: Not a fan and 0/10 would not read again.
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,263 followers
January 4, 2018
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review


Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy is a scintillating addictive young adult suspense mystery. In this case of whodunit, Murphy engages her readers to be swept away in a story line where young girls from an affluent town are murdered. Throughout the story, characters are introduced and let me just say these characters are the very quintessential stereotype of mean girls. In this book, everyone is pretty much a suspect. Since this is pretty much a fast read that was high with drama, I won’t reveal too much but what I will say this book is definitely a hybrid of Mean Girls meets Pretty Little Liars!!!


So if you are looking for engaging and slightly obsessive read, then I highly suggest you to read this book as it was well written and will keep you guessing as to who is the killer.

 photo MICHELLE1_zps3515xymk.jpg Monica Murphy

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Profile Image for Danielle's.
Author 1 book142 followers
January 2, 2018
Pretty Dead Girls

I'm a huge fan of Monica Murphy and would happily read anything she writes. Pretty Dead Girls is a little different to her usual books, but I still loved every minute of it. This book is perfect for the Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars fans. It has typical teen drama, but with the twist of murder. Some characters you will love, some you will hate and others take a little time to workout.

Penelope is our leading lady. She's popular, a cheerleader and president of the Larks. She's a walking legacy.

Danielle is Penelope's best friend. She's in love with a boy who doesn't appreciate her. Brogan everyone's bro and no ones Beau. Dani's obviously popular and our second Lark member.

Third up is Courtney. She wants to be queen bee and in the process has lost control of her life. She's the lose cannon.

Alexis a fellow cheerleader and Penelope's biggest rival. They are always competing for the top spot.

Gretchen is our murder victim. A troubled teen with a lot of secrets. Who did she meet that night? Why was she at that location?

The five of them make up the senior Lark team. A group of high school students who help out in the community. They volunteer and raise money for charity. They are also the school mean girls and beautiful as sin.

Then we have the junior Larks. The future generations Alyssa, Kayla, Maggie, Jessica and Grace. They are desperate to impress and fill their predecessors shoes.

Cass is our lonely boy. Strange, mysterious and brooding. Somehow he's linked to the Lark girls and now he's in Penelope's peripheral vision. Is he looking to make a new friend or is he looking for more?

Detectives Hughes and Spalding are on the case, but the cops are always one step behind.

The scene is set and the Lark team are in the killers playground. They better watch their step or they may be the next victim. Can Penelope solve the mystery before it's too late? Some will die, some will go crazy and some may even find something that wasn't there before.

I'm trying not to give too much away as you can probably tell. This book is wrapped in secrets and bad behaviour. I loved Penelope's character and she has so much personal growth within this book. I liked the town and all the snobbery. Courtney plays the perfect crazy bitch and the story falls into place perfectly.

5 stars out of 5. Totally hooked!

Profile Image for Dísir.
1,674 reviews174 followers
November 30, 2017
Imagine a group of privileged girls—all of whom sort of conform to the rich, aloof, snooty and somewhat mean stereotype—suddenly being swamped by a mysterious but vengeful serial killer who throws their ordered but small world into chaos. In the midst of them is the head cheerleader and a quiet, mysterious boy who find themselves in the centre of the maelstrom as the noose tightens around them while they play amateur detectives.

There aren’t too many of these sort of YA-thriller, high-school-centric books that I’ve read (or the kind of movies that I’ve watched) and it takes an adjustment every time I read a book like ‘Pretty Dead Girls’. Jumping into a YA book can be hard at times, not least because it’s a throwback into the mean, teenage girl mindset—where everything is exaggerated, pulled apart and then reacted to in an over-the-top fashion—but also because it’s one which I have the hardest time connecting with as well.

This is sort of a step outside my usual reading habits, but I still did have a good time in a way as a distant spectator would with teenage shenanigans, alternating between cringing at the sensibilities of the self-absorbed and petty girls (and wondering if I was as bad as them or worse?) and trying to do the whodunnit game that I normally do with the adult mystery-thrillers I sometimes read. If anything, Monica Murphy gets those behavioural traits pat down and pitches the story perfectly for teens, though it’s honestly difficult to like the characters you want to yell at to grow up before you realise they’re acting exactly their ages…and can’t be expected to do anything differently.

However, there are some questions that don't seem to be satisfactorily answered, where secrets that you think are soul-destroying turn up to be mere storms in tea cups. Still, it was kind of a fun ride, given the unholy glee I felt when these girls had their comeuppance and almost wished the body count got higher just to up the thrill factor for my bloodthirsty and mean soul.

*ARC by the publisher via Netgalley
Profile Image for Bookgasms Book Blog.
2,794 reviews1,380 followers
December 18, 2017
I have loved Monica Murphy's books for a long time and could not jump on this book fast enough. It reminded me so much of Pretty Little Liars, Scream Queens and my close personal favorite - Mean Girls. There is something about High School and the social hierarchy that does it for me. Add to that the glorious idea of a killer targeting the popular girls - and I.Was.Hooked!!

Penelope Malone is the head of the popular girls, also known as the "Larks". They are the best athletes, smartest students and the crém de la crém of their elite high school. But they are also the Mean Girls of the school. The girls who run the social hierarchy and the clique that can determine your whole high school existence. But now someone is out for revenge and the Larks are being killed off as fair game. The likely suspect? The mysterious loner Cass who lives with his grandmother. Can Pen figure out who has a target on her back before it's too late?

I really liked this thriller. It was fun and addicting and a definite page turner. An amazing read you could get lost in as you become consumed with the characters, snappy banter and the whodunit mystery. I did not want to put this down the minute I started it!

All in all this was fantastic and I look forward to reading more books like this from this author in the future. I would like to thank Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review. Bravo! 4 stars! ~Ratula
Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews67 followers
December 19, 2017
~~Thanks so much to Entangled Teen for sending me over an early copy!!~~

This wasn’t my cup of mystery tea despite my shared love of Scream Queens and thinking the name is super intriguing. I went into this desperate for a good mystery read, and this one just fell so flat. It had a lot of things that just really irked me, and truth be told, I skimmed a good part of this, skipped around, and when I did come to another part, I felt like I literally missed nothing because I had called everything and knew what was coming. It wasn't all terrible, though, and it a quick and easy book to read.

One of the biggest issues I had was with the main character and her priorities. The girl had some issues. When she finds out one of her old best friends and fellow club members has died, she's super focused on the new shady guy, who really isn't all that new but somehow she has just realized now is entirely attractive and ~mysterious~ So, of course, MANDY IS SO DOWN FOR THIS BECAUSE SHADY MYSTERIOUS MEN IN MYSTERY NOVELS ARE HER FAVORITE. But this one just let me down so much and the main character did, too. Shall we count the ways?

1) So, here we are, in the assembly room for when they announce the person that has died. And everyone is in shock and awe and the main character is sad for literally like a second and having approriate thoughts about it AND MANDY WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE ACTUAL GRIEF AND CONFLICTING FEELINGS ARE SHOWN and then it all goes out the window. ~Mysterious man~ is off to the side and our MC connects eyes across the room and they stare and stare and then the best friend of our MC is like, omg, girl do you think he likes you?? How epic!! He ~~totalllly~~ likes you. BUT DOES NO ONE FOCUS ON HOW THE PRINCIPAL IS DRONING ON ABOUT GRIEF COUNSELORS IN THE BACKGROUND BECAUSE A GIRL IS DEAD AND IT WAS SUPPOSEDLY A FRENEMY OF THE MC AND GOOD FRIEND OF THE FRIEND TALKING ABOUT MYSTERIOUS MAN?

2) I kind of picked out a better killer? Literally, the main character focuses on the most completely obvious choice and then a predictable person comes out to be the real killer and I was like eh, I liked this other person as the real killer and thought it quite clever. But alas, no, and then the ending was just so easily fixed up nicely. Wayyyyy too nicely.

3) Okay, later on, there is a makeout session that had me concerned and also mystified BECAUSE PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES. No spoilers, but I was concerned.

I will say that it really is a super easy read and Murphy does have a nice writing style. It is quite a bit of telling instead of showing which did irk me a bit, but if you're looking for a mystery that is easy to read, this is it. And I did like some of the turns it took. I really don't have too much more to say about it sadly. Two crowns and a Cinderella rating!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,893 reviews
December 28, 2017
3.5/5 stars

Pretty Dead Girls is a Young Adult mystery.

The narrator is 17 year old Penelope (1st person POV). The story takes place in Cape Bonita, a small wealthy town along the northern California coast.

I love mysteries so I was hopeful that this would be a good one. The beginning unfortunately did not pull me in. This book is set in high school. And Penelope is the head of a group called the Larks. Unfortunately most of the girls in this group were unappealing. So it made it hard for me to feel connected to the story.

The main narrator as mentioned is Penelope. But this book is a murder mystery (a bunch of girls at her school are murdered). And some of the chapters are narrated by the killer.

Penelope is a cheerleader. But basically she isn't the nicest girl. And most of her "friends" are mean girls. I didn't really love that about this book.

The second half of this book was stronger for me than the first. The romance was decent. The mystery was decent, although it was not overly difficult to guess the killer's identity. The chapters from the killers POV were interesting. But it made it easier IMO to figure out who the killer was.

Overall, I definitely became more invested in the story by the halfway point. This book is a quick fun read for those who like a good YA mystery.

Thanks to netgalley and Entangled: Teen for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for Miranda.
740 reviews111 followers
January 1, 2018
Pretty Dead Girls was a wicked and alluring novel. This book took the mystery and suspense from Pretty Little Liars and the drama and high school atmosphere from Mean Girls to make for one fascinating novel.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book! I always enjoy a good mystery novel, and this book definitely had the twists to keep me on the edge of my seat. There were plenty of reveals that really surprised me and had me begging for more. The plot of this book was fast-paced, which definitely kept me entertained throughout the entire novel. The ending of the book felt a bit rushed, but that was my only complaint in regards to the pacing of the novel. There was some romance in this book, which was full of swoons and heart-stopping moments. Some people might feel like the romance took away from the mystery plot, but as a romance lover, I was a huge fan of the romance! This author knows how to write a romance that makes you feel all the feels!

I will say that I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the book initially. I am not a huge fan of reading books about cliquey popular girls, so it was a bit of a rough start when the characters were introduced. A lot of the characters were snobby, entitled, narcissistic, and just mean. I was happy that a lot of the characters, especially Penelope had positive growth throughout the novel. Penelope turned into a character that actually cared for other and realized how important it is to be kind to others. I ended the book liking the characters a lot more than I did in the beginning.

Overall, this was definitely a page-turning adventure! If you looking for a new suspenseful YA novel, then I would recommend checking this book out!

3 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. *

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It
Profile Image for Joves.
243 reviews14 followers
January 26, 2018
Most YA mystery novels are quite predictable and Pretty Dead Girls was no exception. Now don't get me wrong, although this book is your quintessential YA fiction, it was really hard to put it down. I think I started reading this book about four hours ago and here I am now writing its review.

I feel like the main reason I couldn't put this book down was because I was trying to find a show on Netflix that portrayed something similar (just wanted a somewhat mindless show where the characters wore cute clothes and lived along the beautiful west coast). Obviously, I couldn't find what I was looking for on Netflix and in lieu of that I read Pretty Dead Girls and used my imagination.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews84 followers
December 13, 2017
Aaaand queue the awkward feeling of hating a book you were granted from Netgalley. Sorry guys, but thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. And what opinions!

Firstly, obvious mystery is obvious. Maybe years of mystery books has jaded me, but I picked this one so early on it's not funny, and even said it out loud to my partner as a test. Yep, I was right. There was no finesse, no real questions of anyone asked, and most of the characters behaved in such a weird, robotic way that nothing could be gained from it. Like the best friend, Dani. She didn't really DO or behave like a best friend should? and Penny. Dear Penny, coming out with her hates and selfies and completely just urgh. I knwo we weren't meant to LIKE any of the mean girls, but they all had absolutely nothing going for them. Nothing.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind reading about sex, and I know teenagers are doing it and I did at that age, so did most of my peers. No one I know was that well, experienced though? Prepare for the entire cast to have been with each other at some point. As I said, not weirded out, but it's hard to establish who relates to who in what way when well, they've ALL had relations. It doesn't make for much of a throw away motive.

I hated all the characters and I requested this thinking I'd get a high adrenalin rush, and instead I get a poorly put together mystery, and honestly, some of the worst writing I've come across since I was in high school myself. I figure the author is trying to appeal to the young, dumb, masses, but even they willcall out some of it. Oh well.

Hn. Going to read something else to wash out the bad flavour. This wasn't for me, but it might appeal to others. Hate one star reads!
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,561 reviews153 followers
January 1, 2018
While writing up this post…I realized I had to lower my rating because it just didn't deserve what I originally gave it…this happens to me quite often.


⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 2/5
Main Characters: 2/5
Secondary Characters: 2/5
The Feels: 1/5
Pacing: 2/5
Addictiveness: 2/5
Theme or Tone: 2.5/5
Flow (Writing Style): 3/5
Backdrop (World Building): 2.5/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Ending: 2.5/5 Cliffhanger: Nope.
Steam Factor 0-5: 2.5
Setting: Cape Bonita
Source: I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Total: 2/5 STARS - GRADE=D

⇝My Thoughts⇜

This might appeal to a younger audience, especially if they like to read about sexually promiscuous teenagers being total bitches. Right from the beginning, I was skeptical of the mystery, the pacing felt off. The characters are completely unlikable, basically, all of them. The conversations between them are just over-the-top bizarre and contradictory. These girls are just so flipping mean and I kind feel like they got what they deserved, well sort of...

I was compelled to read this until the end, although I'm not sure why, just to see who it was, maybe. Which I more or less guessed.

Will I read more from this Author?⇜ No, I will not. Her writing is just not for me.


Profile Image for Melissa.
766 reviews135 followers
December 13, 2017
Wow! Haven't been reading much lately, but now that I have finished this book, I'm super impressed. This story keeps you on your toes, and I loved seeing the back and forth from both Penelope's eyes (most of the time) and occasionally the killer's eyes. It kind of reminded me of Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes, except that the killer's voice is limited to the points around a killing or when they are thinking about who they plan to kill next. We don't get their back story and motivation until the reveal, and for me, it worked.

While I had an idea of who the killer might be, I kept bouncing back and forth between a couple of people toward the end, not quite sure of who it might be. I also liked that there was real danger for the protagonist, which doesn't always happen in these kinds of books.

If you're a fan of Riverdale, I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
Profile Image for Siobhan Davis.
Author 105 books8,408 followers
January 18, 2018
Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy combines highschool drama with twisty suspense and swoony romance to deliver a superb read and one that had me second guessing myself all over the place!

I was a bit iffy on Penelope at the start but I warmed to her, and I loved how she wasn't afraid to stand up to her friends, even where she was in the minority. She had a good sense of right from wrong and while she may have been following the wrong path, she corrected that in this book. Cass was a fabulous love interest and I loved that he was a little different that the run-of-the-mill book boyfriend. I seriously loved him and I was rooting for them in a big way.

I loved the mystery element and I kept changing my mind over the guilty party, although I did correctly guess one aspect of it, but I still couldn't narrow it down to one individual. What I particularly enjoyed was how real the sense of danger felt, and that Monica didn't shy away from the brutal reality of what happened to those girls. It made for some intense reading.

All in all, this was a really great read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to fans of well-written YA romantic suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via Chapter by Chapter blog tours and I am voluntarily reviewing same. This review will appear on my blog in due course:
Profile Image for *Ritzrenee*.
470 reviews59 followers
January 4, 2018
'Twas thrilling read!
Unexpected murderer

The plot was really gripping with all the girls dying and everyone second guessing each other. I swear the author did a pretty good job at leading us to the murderer because that revelation twist caught me off guard!

But it was also precisely this twist that felt a bit off in terms of murder motive. Come on, how is that so much of a hatred for someone to murder so many girls. For that, I didn't want to give it 5 stars.

Overall, I truly enjoyed the suspense and the internal monologue of the killer (that was really creepy). I'm glad I read this :)
Profile Image for Natalie  ~ The Biblioholic.
2,565 reviews1,249 followers
November 26, 2022
The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next.

You know I hate you when I hope you are.

Penelope (don't call her Penny) was a mean girl who didn't think she was a mean girl.
And I'm not saying that anyone should have been killed, however...
When the killer was revealed, I was like "Hmmm... you crazy, but I don't really blame you."

Not kidding. I'm just joking.

I just didn't like anyone in this book. The one character I did think I could like, Cass, came off as too soft. I already knew from the beginning that he was gonna get cast in a certain light. And for Penny (bitch, I'll call you what I want) to actually believe rumors and doubt him... spoke more to her lack of character than anything else.

In the end, I was kinda rooting for the killer and wanted Cass to find a new girl.
Profile Image for Joy Novel Thoughts.
573 reviews64 followers
December 19, 2017
"She was also a friend - and sometimes an enemy, if I'm being completely honest. And now... she's dead."

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy was an outstanding emotionally charged read fueled by the need to discover who is killing all of these girls, the girls that run this school. It was agonizing to try to discover who the killer was, especially because we did read some of the killers point of view. Honestly the killers point of view was the most intriguing for me to read.

"It's much easier to put this on a complete stranger who wandered into town and killed without thought. Cape Bonita is a small wealthy town along the northern coast of California coast. We don't do murder."

Pretty Dead Girls follows along with Penelope, the President of the Larks an elite group of juniors and seniors who volunteer and are mostly cheerleaders, and the outcast, Cass as they try to track down who the true murder is before it's too late for them. They each have a connection to all of the girls who have been killed.

"I'm practically a dead girl walking."

Pretty Dead Girls is like a more intense version of Mean Girls, where the mean girls are end up dead and no one knows why. These girls are held to a higher standard than the others in the school and I had so much fun traveling along with Pen and Cass as we try to track down the killer.

Pretty Dead Girls is also high on the drama and you won't know who you can trust and who you can't and you will be screaming 'don't go upstairs alone!' or any where by yourself.

Monica Murphy's writing was exceptional and I devoured this story at a fervent intensity and I couldn't put it down!
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