How far would you go to be perfect? Would you face your deepest fears? Stab others in the back? Would you even commit murder?
Synopsis: In this unputdownable debut novel by Jessica Goodman, a murder plagues the prestigious Gold Coast Prep in Long Island during Jill Newman and her friends' freshman year. Shaila Arnold was the diamond of Gold Coast, and she was also Jill's best friend. During their initiation into Gold Coast's exclusive club - The Players, Shaila disappears and is later found dead with her boyfriend, Graham, covered in her blood right next to her. He confessed so the case was closed...until more things are uncovered during their senior year.
Jill is destined for Brown University's Women in STEM scholarship. She has the grades, she has the volunteer hours, she has the determination, and she even has access to the Players super secret files so she can exceed all expectations. Until it all comes crashing down with one text message from Graham's older sister proclaiming his innocence with evidence to back it up. Jill is then sent on a quest to find out the truth putting everything she has ever known including the coveted "Player" title. Will she discover the truth?
My Thoughts: I have been really into some private school/education related thrillers and storylines lately! When I saw this stunning cover with the private school plaid and best friend themed necklaces that I used to give friends for birthdays...I was immediately hooked without even reading the back.
As a private school girl myself, I completely related to the pressures Jill faced in order to remain perfect and without flaw. Private schools place very high expectations on students, While I LOVED my private all-girls high school experience, the lessons I learned and even work there now, I totally saw parallels that reflect private school culture. This made me connect with Jill more as a character because I saw so much of myself in her when it came to making your parents, teachers and community proud.
The entire crux of this book to me was the question, "how far would you go to be perfect?" For some that means would you cheat? Others would you lie? And even for others, would you put someone down to make yourself look better than others? That was the message in this book, and if I take anything from this...no it is not worth it to cheat, lose yourself, hurt others or lie to make yourself look better in any avenue of your life. That is why I loved this book so much. It made me recognize my values, appreciate my inner conscience and realize that loyalty and truth mean more to me than anything.
They Wish They Were Us is perfect for any YA thriller lover, and if you went to a private school...you'll enjoy it even more. Want to read other books like this one? Try Admission by Julie Buxbaum, The Other's Gold by Elizabeth Ames or A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson.