Title: I’m The Girl
Author: Courtney Summers
Release date: 13th September 2022
Age-range/genre: Young Adult / Thriller, Mystery
Trigger warnings: murder, sexual assault, adult/minor relationship, child abuse, drug use, references to death of a parent
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]
When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty—but who is guiltiest.
recommended for: fans of uneasy thriller novels, Megan Abbott books, and small-town crime stories.
Courtney Summers does it again in artfully creating a gripping and discomforting thriller novel that had me reeling while reading. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride from the beginning to the end.
thank you to Netgalley to providing me an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
• overall thoughts •
A basic summary: I’m the Girl is about Georgia Avis, a 16-year-old girl who discovers the dead body of 13-year-old Ashley James. While shaken by the death, Georgia has other things on her mind too. She desperately wants to work at Aspera, a fancy resort in town, to be known and appreciated and loved. Between working there and working to find the killer with Ashley’s sister Nora, Georgia begins to discover that Aspera and the world in general is a cruel place.
The novel is a mix of mystery about the murder of 13-year-old Ashley James, and a thriller as the protagonist Georgia starts working at Aspera, a fancy place which is not as pristine as it seems. There is also a dash of romance thrown in between Georgia and Nora, two characters I was rooting for the entire way. Altogether, the whole story was gripping and fast-paced, one I just could not put down.
• atmosphere and suspense •
I’ve enjoyed Courtney Summer’s previous novels, so I was so excited to jump into another book of hers’. Going into one of her novels, I knew better than to expect an easy read with a happy ending.
I’m The Girl takes the cake in how uneasy of a novel it was. The entire novel had an incredibly eerie atmosphere that had me suspicious of almost everyone, other than Tyler (George’s brother) and Nora (the late Ashley’s sister). Majority of these other characters were older and rich white men, powerful enough to make their problems disappear, so you can understand my suspicion.
Ashley James’ death occurs early on in the novel, and it cements the tone for the story. A young teenage girl’s rape and murder is not something to take lightly, and it sets the uneasy atmosphere as both the readers and Georgia try to uncover clues about the killer — and it makes us as readers worry so much for the female characters in the novel and what might befall them.
• characters and themes •
One of the first things that struck me about the novel is how vaguely reminiscent it is of Megan Abott’s works (e.g Dare Me and her other novels). This is rooted in their similar themes about the danger of teenage girls — the power they have, and the power they lack but don’t always realise.
Georgia does begin to realise the power she welds by being herself, but is still naïve how the world can take advantage of teenage girls. It made me terrified as well, because as a reader you know that Georgia is in danger by being around all these powerful men, but she herself is yet to realise it.
Corruption and power are themes the novel deeply delves into. Georgia knows what it’s like to have little in life — with her mother gone, her older brother has to provide for her and spends most of his life working — and wants so much more. She wants to be appreciated, and the place she thinks she can achieve that goal is working at Aspera.
I will admit, I did not understand at first why this place was so enticing to Georgia. After all, isn’t it just some resort for rich people to get their kicks off? But it’s so much more than that; Aspera represents all that Georgia and essentially the working-class don’t have. They don’t have the freedom to disappear for days and do nothing, or make outlandish requests. They don’t have the luxury of that. Instead, they can ignore all these issues, hardly shaken up by Ashley’s death, and so alluring enough that even Georgia begins to pay less focus to the murder. It’s both infuriating and chilling to read.
Overall, while not my favourite Courtney Summers novel, I’m The Girl was an uneasy and disturbing read. It was chilling and had me dreading the fate of our main character Georgia, but was so enticing and hard to put down. With a haunting ending, it’s not a book to miss if you’re a fan of realistic thrillers.
Thanks for reading!
links for I’m The Girl: