Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Guest List by Lucy Foley


My advice to you is to go into this book with absolutely zero expectations. I mean it. Don't look at the hyped-up reviews for it, or you're going to be disappointed. Because they're all saying THIS IS THE BEST MYSTERY EVER!!!! And... guys. Y'all. A lot of books have the prestigious and desirable acclaim of being "the best mystery ever" to someone, but this just wasn't it for me. Is it fun? Oh yes. Trash as all get out? Yes. Fascinatingly complex? In a way. It's a breezy beach read about a wedding gone terribly wrong, kind of like if CRAZY RICH ASIANS were about a bunch of horridly posh British people who decide to play the IRL version of Clue (replete with the "gotcha" ending of the movie).

It's difficult to sum up THE GUEST LIST because until the murder actually happens, it's largely character driven. Basically, you have Will, the husband-to-be, star of a hit reality TV show and a total heartthrob. There's Jules, the rich and posh wife-to-be, who used to be an ugly duckling and sees Will as affirmation that she has finally found her place in the universe. There's Olivia, Jules's incredibly damaged and beautiful half-sister, who seems like she might be a typical girl with undiagnosed mental health problems who's acting out in a desperate attempt to self-medicate, but she has secrets of her own... And then there's Hannah, the "plus-one" who's married to Jules's childhood friend and crush, Charlie. And Johnno, the best man, who went to the same prestigious school as Will and has seen him at his best-- and at his worst.

Because everyone on the guest list has secrets. And all of them have a motive.

But, as the synopsis of the book gleefully informed me from the book jacket, only one is a killer.

I was hoping to get an ARC of this back when ARCs were making rounds (but I'm not cool enough to get one, apparently, which is FINE), but I didn't swing a copy, so I put it on my "WANT" shelf and promptly forgot about it until my mother was like, "Oh, hey, didn't you want this book? I bought it after you talked about it and now here, you give it a read-- and then give it to your sister when you're done." So, I finally got around to reading it and I finished it in less than 24 hours because it was SO READABLE. I thought the author did a really good job at pacing, holding back just enough to keep me wanting more. Sometimes it felt a little cheap but did I care? NOOOOOOOO.

I don't want to say too much because part of the fun in this book is seeing the surprising way in which people are connected as the plot starts to stitch together like a quilt, and less is definitely more. I loved the Gothic island setting (set in a gorgeously remote manor off the coast of Ireland) and even though I don't normally like multi-POV narration styles (by which I mean, more than two), I thought each character was distinct enough that it wasn't hard to tell the characters apart. Is this the best mystery I've ever read? No. But it was SUPER fun and it's 100% the type of book your mom buys to read and then tells you to read and then give it to your sister after so you can all talk about it during quarantine.

By which I mean, it is f u n.

I will definitely be reading more from this author.

4 out of 5 stars

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