Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones #bookreview #mystery #YA

In a gripping novel perfect for fans of Sadie and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, two best friends start a true crime podcast—only to realize they may have helped a killer in the process.

In August of 1999, dazzlingly popular cheerleader Clarissa Campbell disappears from a party in the woods outside the rural town of Oreville, Washington and is never seen again. The police question her friends, teachers, and the adults who knew her—who all have something to hide. And thanks to Clarissa’s beauty, the mystery captures the attention of the nation. But with no leads and no body, the case soon grows cold. Despite the efforts of internet sleuths and true-crime aficionados, Clarissa is never found—dead or alive.

Over twenty years later, Oreville high-school juniors and best friends Blair and Cameron start a true crime podcast, determined to unravel the story of what—or who—happened to this rural urban legend. In the process they uncover a nest of dirty small-town secrets, the sordid truth of Clarissa’s relationship with her charismatic boyfriend, and a high school art teacher turned small-town figurehead who had a very good reason for wanting Clarissa dead. Such a good reason, in fact, that they might have to make him the highlight of their next episode…

But does an ugly history with a missing girl make him guilty of murder? Or are two teenage girls about to destroy the life of an innocent man—and help the true killer walk free?

Sometimes a good whodunit novel just hits the spot. In Missing Clarissa two teens set out to solve a twenty year old cold case.

I enjoyed the true crime podcast aspect of this story. I’ve never listened to them, but I know they’re incredibly popular, and I have several friends who’ve listened to numerous ones featuring true crime. Blair and Cam decide to host a podcast of a twenty year old murder/disappearance of a teen from their high school for a journalism class assignment. Although she’s a talented writer and dreams of being an author, Blair suffers from a serious lack of self esteem. Seeing her come into her own by the end of the story is a treat. Cam is incredibly intelligent and driven, but is also headstrong and immature at times. Their friendship is strong, but it’s not without its clashes and challenges.

As Cam and Blair delve into the disappearance of Clarissa, there’s no shortage of suspects – but I guessed the culprit the second their name was mentioned. They also discover there was more to Clarissa than just the dazzlingly popular cheerleader everyone believed her to be. A bit of suspension of disbelief is required that two high school students could solve a case that perplexed authorities for two decades, but it was fun to watch.

At a little over two hundred fifty pages, this is a short read with a brisk pace and can easily be read in one to two sittings. The mystery isn’t difficult to figure out, but it’s still an entertaining read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

34 thoughts on “Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones #bookreview #mystery #YA

  1. Sounds like a YA version of Only Murders in the Building. I’m not much for YA, but I might be tempted to check out this one. (If only the murderer wasn’t so easy to guess.) Thanks for sharing this one, Teri.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never listened to one of these podcasts either, Teri, but I enjoy books that spin plots around them. Like Staci, I’m not much of a YA reader, but this one sounds entertaining.
    Even when you do guess the killer early on, it’s often fun to see yourself proved correct!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are several friends in my book club who listen to true crime podcasts, Mae. They’ve even formed a spinoff book club about true crime. If I’m not reading, I’m listening to a book. I enjoy them more anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. D.L. Finn, Author

    I never listen to the podcasts either, Teri. I haven’t figured out how that would fit into my life. This does sound like a good read, even with the killer being easy to guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Yesha! Maybe it takes a different perspective sometimes as you mentioned. In this case, some things fell between the cracks and were overlooked. Other times it’s just more fun for the younger characters to figure it out, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Examining George Washington’s False Teeth and Other Oddities to Remember by Traci Kenworth – A Dash of Words with Loleta Abi Romance Author

    1. It’s almost a case of fresh (and younger) eyes allowed a new perspective, lol. With everything that happened in town the week of the murder, things fell to the wayside, but these girls were determined.

      Liked by 1 person

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