Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Release Date: August 4, 2020
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 vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.
Jill Newman and her friends attend Gold Coast Prep in Long Island, where she’s part of the elite Players group. The Players are an exclusive group of students who have power in the school. This power includes having access to all the tests and assignments in the school, so they can keep their grades up while they’re partying in their free time. Three years ago, Jill’s best friend Shaila was killed during their initiation into the Players. Now, Shaila’s boyfriend, who was convicted in her murder, is claiming he’s innocent. Jill can’t help but question if he’s telling the truth, so she digs into past, while jeopardizing her future.
This was a creepy and authentic view of the power hierarchy in high school. All schools may not have a group like the Players, but there are always popular kids who have power over the other students and who get away with a lot more. The senior members of the Players would force the younger members to do horrible things, including drinking excessively, taking drugs, and taking part in sexual assaults and harassment. These were humiliating things, that the younger kids thought they had to do to impress the older ones, but it, unfortunately, felt like realistic bullying.
There was one character that I thought was suspicious right from the beginning. I was correct in suspecting that character, because they had done something horrible that was revealed at the end. Even though I was right, I still got chills reading the ending.
They Wish They Were Us is an intense young adult thriller!
What to read next:
These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Have you read They Wish They Were Us? What did you think of it?