The Girl Who Wasn’t Dead by Samantha Boyette

My Rating: 1 very sad and lonely star

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Publish Date: September 12th, 2017

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review


Prom was supposed to be the biggest night of senior year, but for Jenny Lewis it was the night she almost died. The night someone drugged her, loaded her in a car, and dumped her body in the river.

The next morning, her soaked prom dress was found on the riverbank. Her body was never found. People whispered that she’d killed herself or gotten drunk and stupid. People moved on, went to college, and stopped thinking about her. Months later, her ex-girlfriend and three other classmates received a text from an unknown number accusing them of her murder and claiming to have proof.

The text? It came from Jenny, not dead and ready to figure out who tried to kill her. There’s going to be an impromptu reunion and no one is leaving until the would-be murderer steps forward.

Opening Sentence: “One moment Jenny was gazing at the stars.”


I’ve never read a book that I honestly hated, but I stuck it out with this book because I kept hoping that it would get better and that if the end was ok I could at least give this 2 stars and call it a day, but this book never got any better and I am here to tell you why.

Different POV’s but same exact story:

There was so many pov’s in this story and they all recalled the exact same night and most of the time in the exact same way with a lot of the exact same word for word conversations. By the time you get to the end you want to scream enough already because you’ve heard the same thing too many times to count just from a slightly different perspective.

Every character is toxic:

There is not one good character in this novel and no one had any redeeming qualities and while it’s ok to have all characters be imperfect there has to be something there to make the reader care about who they are reading about and in this book there was nothing good about anyone.

The narrative itself and the way characters see certain things is toxic:

The whole time I was reading it there were so many instances where I was dumbfounded by how weird/backwards the logic was. Some of the things characters say and think in this book just made me cringe and I truly believe that this is a bad representation of not just lesbians, but people in general.

The diversity in this book was severally negatively represented:

At one point one of the characters says that they could frame one of the other characters who is African American because they would be “Just another Black who went crazy and shot people.” Then the way they kept talking about lesbians being butch and the way the lesbian relationship was portrayed was awful. There were so many red flags in this department and it just made me feel completely uncomfortable.

The outlook on cheating:

The characters cheated in this book an cheated proudly. It was actually shocking how much everyone was always using each other with no repercussions for anyone at any point. All of the going behind each other’s backs was left to be a’okay in the end and I was not ok with that.

The biggest red flag of them all:

*trigger for sexual assault*

At one point there was a girl was drunk and asleep in the bathroom and part of her dress was down and one of the characters molests her and takes pictures all while she is sleeping. While the characters at the end do say this was not ok, the fact that there was no repercussions for that either in the end made me so angry. The characters all stay friends and are all forgiving about everything when something like that should have been handled very differently.

Overall this was an interesting premise with a really bad execution and this book is definitely one I would not recommend in the future. This book is extremely problematic and I am sad that a book I had such high hopes for ended up being as bad as it was.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

-Till next time!

18 thoughts on “The Girl Who Wasn’t Dead: A Review

  1. Oh wow, this sounds terrible. Just…very bad. Repetition and various POVs contemplating or experiencing the same situation is a very hard thing to write as an author and a very frustrating thing to endure as a reader. If done right (i.e. Before I Fall or Legend), it might just work. But it sounds like this book failed, big time. Also, it’s always disappointing when the characters are near impossible to like or connect with. And I can’t believe the author would misrepresent so many diverse groups in such a way and involuntarily condone both cheating and sexual assault by not outlining any consequences. I’ve heard of this book, and the premise sounds so promising, but I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up if other reviewers repeat your concerns. Great review, Tiana!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It was a very difficult read for me and I hated that I had so many concerns about it. After reading I took a look on Goodreads and found that the book has a 2.23 average rating and it made a lot of sense to me with how negative the representation was and how there were so many instances of thinking that was just plan wrong that I couldn’t give this book a better rating. I always say that it’s best to see for yourself what you think about a book like this, but with this one I definitely feel like it wasn’t at all worth the read.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no, well since the rating is SOOOO low, I think this is one I’ll definitely need to skip. I’m the same in that I like to form my own opinion, but it seems that might not work with this book. Thanks for the heads up! I’m sorry it was such a poor experience. Hopefully your next reads for this month will be much, much better 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry that you have found it to be awful as well. It is definitely not the best start to my October, but I’m now reading a book called Berserker that is a horror novel that is a million times better then this book. The Girl Who Wasn’t Dead was a really painful read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What the heck is this??? Wow, lol. It reminds me of a story idea I got after getting in a really bad argument with my mom. The main character (aka a fictional me) would act like she killed herself so for most of the book, the MC appears to be a ghost. She watches her family suffer at her death and then in the end it turns out that she isn’t dead, she just was mad at the fam and did the worst. I cringe just thinking about it…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Because I’m new to the whole blogging and reviewing business, I’ve found this review really helpful. There’s a part of me that feels really guilty about giving a negative review. This review has given me more confidence to say what I really feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never feel like you have to give a good review when you didn’t like the book. This is actually my first 1 star review on my blog and I almost didn’t post it, but I felt like I needed to. Some books are not going to be up your alley and no one should ever feel like they can’t give their full and honest opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You saved me there! I read the synopsis and thought this books sounded really interesting! …and then I read what you had to say about it and I couldn’t picture myself evening buying the book, not wanting to give the author money for something that was better off not existing. Thank you for the honest review. Indy xx

    Liked by 1 person

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