The Wicked Girls: A Novel
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
This book is causing a stir in the UK, and i have been seeing it mentioned by many people on Twitter. Intrigued, i checked the amazon.co.uk site and read very positive reviews there. Fortunately the kindle version is available here for download, as i live outside the UK. I have never written a review about a book before but feel compelled to do so.
It's brilliant! And I'm so glad i had plenty of quiet time to sit and read, because this is not the kind of book that is easy to leave. Very gripping and well written, it kept me totally absorbed. The characters are well observed and complete. The story itself is exciting and tense, but i was also captivated by the feeling of being torn in turn between disgust and sympathy for the main characters. This is just the kind of novel I love, where i will probably be thinking about it and my response to it for a while.
I highly recommend it, and i hope i dont have to wait too long to for this authors next offering.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2013
After reading "The Wicked Girls," I'm reminded of the one thing I've always believed in: No one knows what really goes on behind every closed door. Rich or poor; girl or boy; where you live - it doesn't matter.

This is definitely a novel that will keep me deep in thoughts for many days to come. Without a doubt a dark and disturbing tale about two women found guilty of a heinous crime committed twenty-five years earlier, and the roles they play in the normal, everyday world. No matter how many years pass, wherever they live, whoever they've become, try as they might, that day is forever etched in their mind. The author does the story justice as it moves between past and present throughout, capturing and engaging the reader's attention from the beginning and right up to the end. Even better, the author skillfully encompasses secondary tales that make this novel much more intriguing keeping you on the edge of your seat as it all comes to a head at the end. A well-written and compelling story that flows at a good pace, that includes a cast of in-depth characters that'll sure to arouse various different feelings from within. The role of the media and its influence on the public, believing in every word written whether it be true or not; the rumors and gossip that freely flows; and the true nature of each and every person that comes to light - together gives the story a sense of realism. "The Wicked Girls," a novel worth reading. Evil comes in many forms.
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47 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in the British press for many years. Wicked Girls was her debut novel and I was looking forward to reading it. If I am totally honest the synopsis seemed pretty dark but I still eagerly started it on my way into work. Two young girls at the age of 11 were imprisoned for the murder of a four year old girl. They weren't even friends, having met that very day. Once inside prison they both have separate experiences and eventually get released and move on with their lives.

In the present time we meet Kirsty Lindsay, a journalist who is reporting on a number of attacks on young women in the seaside town of Whitmouth. We also meet Amber Gordon who is a cleaner at a funfair and is introduced to us when she is unfortunate enough to come across a dead body. Sadly when the two women meet they realise that this is just the beginning of their living nightmare

The story was really well constructed and I liked the way the story jumped between the present day and the past. The story of the two women as young girls and how the events unfold that terrible day are done slowly. The layers are peeled back as at the same time the reader sees what is happening in their lives currently. It seems like these two women have no chance to redeem themselves as once again their lives clash in the worst possible way. The thing that I did enjoy was the writing style, it was easy to get into and the story was well paced. I did however have that uncomfortable feeling while reading this book, which was more to do with the subject matter than the author's talent!

This particular book certainly has lots going on, and it certainly doesn't shy away from dealing with the difficult subject of child killers. I think although the book kept me interested and I certainly didn't take long to finish it, I just didn't feel all that comfortable reading it. I failed to empathise with the characters even though I think this is just another viewpoint about the ifs, buts and maybes in cases like these. I will certainly look forward to reading what Marwood produces next but just felt that this book wasn't for me. Having said that it certainly shows the authors talent and I think many people have and will love this type of book. Overall a good read but just not for me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
We've read the stories in the papers - children killing children. We're horrified, wondering how it could happen, what is wrong with them, where were their parents and more.

Alex Marwood has taken that premise and penned a riveting debut novel.

In 1986 England, eleven year old Bel and Jade meet for the first time. At the end of that one day of friendship, a four year old will be dead. And they will be convicted of murder. " I don't understand why they hate me so much. We didn't mean it. We never meant it to happen.'

Twenty five years later, each has been released and made a life for themselves. But the paths they've taken are very different from each other. It is another set of murders in a seaside resort town that sets the stage for their paths crossing again. 'Kirsty' is a reporter covering the murders and 'Amber' is a cleaner at the carnival where the latest victim was found.

Ohh, what a page turner!! The present day search for the murderer is alternated with chapters from the past that detail bit by bit what led up to that fateful day in 1986. The present day story is no less riveting, full of tension and questions. Each woman has so much to lose if anyone discovers who they really are. What lengths will they go to, to keep their identities hidden? Who is murdering young women?

Each woman was well drawn - I felt like they were 'real'. Their home lives and thoughts were compelling. I did find myself drawn to one more than the other. The supporting characters were just as fleshed out and had their own secrets. Especially creepy were the thought processes of Martin - a man who doesn't see his behaviour as stalking.

This was an excellent thriller, complete with a 'didn't see that coming' ending. Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a London journalist - the crimes and the prose have a gritty, authentic feel to them.

Marwood is working on a second novel - one I'll be watching for.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
You can also read my review on my blog, tomesdevotee.blogspot.com

Wowzers! Phew, JUST finished it and wanted to get my review done. This book was excellent! I totally enjoyed it.

Jade and Bel are two misfits, one from the wrong side of the tracks, the other an unwanted inconvenience in her mother's new well to do life and family. The two connect on one fateful day and nothing is ever the same for either.

Fast forward to present time and these girls have been given new lives where no one knows their true identity. They are ironically thrown together at a tourist beachside town where someone is killing young girls. Amber works at the amusement park and Kirsty is a reporter. Both are stunned to see each other for the first time since they'd been in court.

How will they handle this? What really happened that fateful day? Were they really Wicked Girls? Well, you'll just have to read it for yourself ;)

I loved it! This book had me angry, nervous, sympathetic, and sad. My emotions ran the gamut and that is absolute aces in my book :) I felt for each girl willing everything to be perfect for them somehow. Great characters. Some that you just wanted to smash. When a book gets your dander up you're going to enjoy the ride. Highly recommend The Wicked Girls, you will NOT be disappointed!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2013
Just finished reading The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood. It bills itself as a psychological thriller and it definitely delivers. Probably one of the most riveting books I've read all year.

At the age of 11, Jade Walker and Annabel Oldacre are convicted as juvenile offenders and co-conspirators in the brutal murder of a 4 year old girl (Chloe) in their community. Because of Walker's dysfunctional upbringing, no one is surprised at her involvement in this kind of trouble but Oldacre comes from a proper well respected family and so she is viewed with more derision as "she should have known better". Likewise, Jade's rehabilitation is more generous and forgiving allowing for her poor upbringing while Annabel is dealt with by the court system more harshly. Annabel has her own family troubles as well - just deeply hidden from the public spotlight- making the way she was singled out for stiffer punishment seem especially cruel. Years later, aged out of the juvenile prison system and released, Jade and Annabel live with the secret of their shared past. Each of them has been shielded by the state with a new identity and sent into adulthood with a fresh start and gainful employment and they both believe that no one is the wiser to their secrets. A condition of their parole is that they must not have any contact with one another and while both adhere to this without issue for years, a brewing news story in Annabel's community brings Jade (now Kirsty Lindsay) face to face with Annabel (now Amber Gordon) and opens up a new chapter in their lives that threatens to unravel everything good they've managed to establish after their release. Woven into this thrilling central plot are two compelling side stories involving disturbed men in Annabel's community, a great deal of secondary character development for Jade and Annabel's friends and coworkers, and a well paced flashback story that slowly teases out the details of the day Chloe died.

At the end of the book I found myself questioning the perception of Annabel and Jade as cold blooded childhood killers. Did each get what they truly deserved in the prison system? And as adults did they prove that wickedness is something you're born with or something you grow into with a habit of bad choices and lies? Perhaps even evil can be something we are desperately and helplessly pushed into by external factors?

The great strength of Marwood's writing is that she has drawn me into a genre I rarely enjoy. I prefer happy endings and I don't do well with graphic violence but Marwood tells her tale so well that I can't help but recommend it anyway.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2013
I purchased this book on CD-MP3. It was fantastic, in my opinion, as it held my interest through quite a few car trips. The reader did a great job with the voices, conveying both the differences in the characters and the emotional aspects of each character. Frankly this was one of my favorite books of all time.

I'm not a good reviewer of books as I don't always read for the hidden meanings and the more technical aspects of writing. This was a great novel that was, to me, believable with sympathetic characters each of whom I liked.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2013
For the first time I am sort of confused about my feelings for a book. I enjoyed reading this but somewhere in the back of mind I keep thinking it could have been just a little better. I guess it has to do with the ending. The ending left me saying "well yeah okay but I was expecting just a little more". In other words, for me, the ending did not live up to the expectations that the suspense in the book led up to.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
This book is almost two in one, a murder mystery and a story about the lives of two girls/women. As a murder mystery it works well with the murder solved at the end of the story. The lead characters are a type of person generally shunned by society yet I found myself liking them and even understanding their position. Well worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2014
Despite being the most screwed up story filled with utterly disagreeable characters that I have read lately I have to admit that I was glued to this book from the very first to the very last page.

The story was interesting and the mystery surrounding the women's earlier doings combined with their present day reunion kept me flipping the pages as fast as I could read them. I wasn't overly fond of Amber, and Kirsty frankly nauseated me. I felt absolutely no sympathy for either woman, and after reading the final page I was just flabbergasted by their behavior and just how incredibly, well, crazy they were.

Despite my deep dislike for the characters I quite enjoyed this emotional rollercoaster of a novel. The author did a masterful job of keeping the tension level incredibly high throughout. I don't think I blinked for large portions of the book!

This incredibly well written thriller is guaranteed to leave you speechless. I definitely highly recommend it.
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