BOOK REVIEW: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

Title: Missing Clarissa
Author: Ripley Jones
Publication: March 12, 2024
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 272

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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

In August of 1999, dazzlingly popular cheerleader Clarissa Campbell disappears from a party in the woods outside the rural town of Oreville, Washington and is never seen again. The police question her friends, teachers, and the adults who knew her—who all have something to hide. And thanks to Clarissa’s beauty, the mystery captures the attention of the nation. But with no leads and no body, the case soon grows cold. Despite the efforts of internet sleuths and true-crime aficionados, Clarissa is never found—dead or alive.

Over twenty years later, Oreville high-school juniors and best friends Blair and Cameron start a true crime podcast, determined to unravel the story of what—or who—happened to this rural urban legend. In the process they uncover a nest of dirty small-town secrets, the sordid truth of Clarissa’s relationship with her charismatic boyfriend, and a high school art teacher turned small-town figurehead who had a very good reason for wanting Clarissa dead. Such a good reason, in fact, that they might have to make him the highlight of their next episode…

But does an ugly history with a missing girl make him guilty of murder? Or are two teenage girls about to destroy the life of an innocent man—and help the true killer walk free?


**A Copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

This book sounded so good when I first read the description. I was extremely excited to read it because it reminded me of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I really enjoyed! I love a good teenager-going detective theme. While the story was definitely this… and the theme was spot on, the delivery could have used a little work.

The story follows Blair and Cameron, best friends who try and start a true crime podcast as an assignment and decide to solve a decades-old case of a girl from their high school. Right off, I did not love both of these characters. I don’t think we were supposed to though. One was extremely pushy, bossy, and almost unhinged at times with how she would let her mouth run and what rules she was willing to break for some listener numbers. Her inability to listen to those around her or even take any form of critique was a turn-off, and I found myself annoyed with her regularly. Even with that said though, I loved the general story, I just found some of the characters to be bothersome.

The story itself was interesting. It did remind me quite a bit of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I noticed it compared to a lot. It had the same premise and same general idea of teenagers trying to solve an old crime. I did really enjoy the flow of the crime solving and I was thoroughly confused for a long time. I don’t feel like the story-telling was flawless, but overall it told a great story.

I wish I liked the one main character more than I did, but generally speaking, the book was good and definitely will appeal to the target audience. If you love books like A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, then this book is for you!

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