A Long Stretch of Bad Days by Mindy McGinnis #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Lydia Chass doesn’t mind living in a small town; she just doesn’t want to die in one. A lifetime of hard work has put her on track to attend a prestigious journalism program and leave Henley behind—until a school error leaves her a credit short of graduating. Undeterred, Lydia has a plan to earn that credit: transform her listener-friendly local history podcast into a truth-telling exposé. She’ll investigate the Long Stretch of Bad Days: a week when Henley was hit by a tornado and a flash flood as well as its first—and only—murder, which remains unsolved.

But Lydia needs help to bring grit to the show. Bristal Jamison has a bad reputation and a foul mouth, but she also needs a credit to graduate. The unexpected partnership brings together the Chass family—a pillar of the community—and the rough-and-tumble Jamisons, with Bristal hoping to be the first in her family to graduate. Together, they dig into the town’s worst week, determined to solve the murder.

Their investigation unearths buried secrets: a hidden town brothel, lost family treasure, and a teen girl who disappeared. But the past is never far, and some don’t want it to see the light. As threats escalate, the girls have to uncover the truth before the dark history of Henley catches up with them.

This gripping mystery from award-winning author Mindy McGinnis shows the power of a name and one lie and how two girls can use their voices to change a town forever.

Another win for McGinnis. I’m convinced she’s incapable of writing a bad book.

From childhood, Lydia had her life planned – a prestigious journalism program, preferably at an Ivy League school – and she’s been building her application for years. After learning she’s a credit short of graduating (drunken school counselor error), she’s allowed to use her local history podcast to fill the requirement. Bristal Jamison, from the other side of the tracks, is also short a credit, and Lydia invites Bristal to join her in the podcast. Lydia leads a privileged life and is profoundly unaware not everyone’s consists of sunshine and roses. Bristal’s family reputation is less than stellar, and she’s used to people assuming the worst about her (okay, some things might be true, but no, she’s not pregnant). Lydia’s blinders falling off makes for a fantastic character arc.

As the girls research and investigate the week their town was hit by a tornado, flash flood, and the discovery of the first ever murder victim, inconsistencies are uncovered. Then the threats begin – comments on their podcast, a brick thrown through a window, and a fire on the front lawn. Small towns always seem to have deeply buried secrets – and the surprising twist at the end confirms it.

This is a compelling mystery, but it’s also filled with humor and snark. Bristal steals every scene she’s in, and her podcasts are hilarious. As the story unfolds, Lydia’s layers are revealed – and she may not be the perfect student everyone believes.

If you enjoy cold cases, small town secrets, and mysteries combined with snark and humor, add this one to your list.

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

31 thoughts on “A Long Stretch of Bad Days by Mindy McGinnis #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. Well, I do love snark, Teri. I saw another review of this one that was also very positive. Hilarious podcasts and small-town secrets sound like a good mix of fun and conflict. Thanks for the review and recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Teri, the dynamics between these two girls interests me. Your comment that Lydia’s blinkers fall off is interesting. There seem to be big barriers in social interaction between youngsters in the USA based on money and privilege which we don’t have here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to be becoming a more common theme in YA books I’ve read, Robbie. Lydia has been so focused on her own goals that she’s never stopped to look at the world around her. Not everyone is as fortunate as she is. It was nice to see her step outside her bubble.

      Liked by 1 person

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