Nice Girls
August 1, 2021

Book Review

Nice Girls

reviewed by Chelsea Hofmann

Is anyone really a nice girl?

Mary doesn’t think so. After years of being the fat, awkward, forgettable girl from Liberty Lake Minnesota, she wants to change her town’s perspective of her.

She worked hard and now she’s known as “Ivy League Mary”—the girl who got out and attended the prestigious Cornell University. Now she’s back in Liberty Lake after being kicked out her senior year. No one knows why she’s back, but she is almost unrecognizable.

Soon after Mary’s return, the beautiful and popular Olivia Willand goes missing from Liberty Lake. Mary was childhood friends with Olivia, but after a falling out Mary knows Olivia’s dark side. She can’t help but obsess about the case, and starts looking into her disappearance along with another girl who also went missing from Liberty Lake. As she starts to dig in to Olivia’s life, Mary begins to bring up the past and everything that comes with it.

Nice Girls talks about the pressure girls have to be the best version of themselves. High school can be a hard time for girls specifically, and this book showed how that pressure is not always a good thing. The book also pointed out how friendships are not always born of connection, but sometimes of convenience.

The story slowly builds tension and I think Catherine Dang is an asset to the woman’s suspense genre. She layers the story so it builds and slowly lets the reader in. I felt for Mary without completely trusting her, always wondering if there was something going on beneath the surface. It was hard to put down and easy to imagine myself in the dark and gritty setting, with two specific parts of town.

Nice Girls talks about anxiety, depression, and the importance of mental health. It points out racism in the police force and the media, and inequality in the way crimes are investigated. It brought up many important points while also being an exciting and mysterious read. I recommend this debut to lovers of All The Missing Girls and Luckiest Girl Alive.

Thank you to William Morrow and Catherine Dang for my ARC of this book. Opinions are my own. Nice Girls comes out on September 7, 2021

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