The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow – Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch

I KNOW WHO KILLED LOLA … AND ONE OF YOU IS NEXT

Audrey is the new girl at Illumen Hall, a prestigious boarding school a world away from her old life and the memories that haunt her. She’s sharing a room with Ivy, who doesn’t seem to want anything to do with her. It isn’t long before Audrey learns that Lola, one of Illumen Hall’s most popular girls, died recently.

The police have closed their case but there may be more to the story than meets the eye. While the students and staff are still coming to terms with their loss, a new podcast raises the question of whether Lola’s death was an accident, suicide, or something more sinister. It turns out that Audrey isn’t the only one at Illumen Hall that’s keeping a secret.

I probably would have been slightly obsessed with this book if I’d read it when I was 13. I’ve always loved stories set in boarding schools and the mystery of the death of a student, combined with a school that has such a rich history and a potential secret society, would have been all I needed. Even as an adult I found this book easy to get into, but I found myself questioning things that wouldn’t have even registered on my radar as a kid.

The podcast transcripts were an interesting way of building the mystery and introducing theories, although none of them had enough content to last more than a couple of minutes. I had a lot of trouble believing a Detective would discuss any details of a case, no matter how briefly, with an anonymous caller.

A time stamp on a photo is believed to be accurate by the people who see it, with no questions raised about its authenticity. Although there’s nothing in this book to indicate that the time stamp had been fudged, it seemed strange that it wasn’t even a consideration. The resolution in this book that related to the person concerned was too easy for me.

I liked the idea of Ivy and Audrey’s points of view being written by different authors but if I didn’t already know this book was written by two people I never would have picked it. Usually I would think that this was a good thing, as the transitions between chapters felt fairly seamless. However, in this instance, I thought there should have been something obvious about the writing styles to differentiate the girls’ voices.

After the initial mystery was introduced the investigation didn’t move quickly enough for me for much of the book. I didn’t feel the urgency of the investigation. Towards the end of the book the pace picked up and I was really starting to look forward to getting some answers, but then the book just ended. Right in the middle of a scene.

There is a planned sequel, Two for Joy, currently scheduled for release in 2021. I knew ahead of time that this was the first in a series so I suspected I wouldn’t learn the answers to all of my questions here but I don’t feel like I got any of the answers I was seeking. Unfortunately, while I expected to be excited about the answers that will hopefully be revealed in the second book, I’m left frustrated by the lack of resolution.

There’s a website mentioned in the book that I obviously had to look up. The website doesn’t currently exist but perhaps it will by the publication date. Likewise, I tested out an email address but it was undeliverable.

‘I won’t cross the magpies, and the magpies won’t cross me.’

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Children’s UK for granting my wish to read this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Illumen Hall is an elite boarding school. Tragedy strikes when the body of a student is discovered at their exclusive summer party – on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie.

When new girl Audrey arrives the following term, running from her own secrets back home in America, she is thrown into solving the case. Despite her best efforts to avoid any drama, her new roommate Ivy was close to the murdered girl, and the two of them can’t help but get pulled in.

The two can’t stand each other, but as they are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder, they will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their superficially perfect school.

Welcome to The Magpie Society.

One thought on “The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow – Zoe Sugg & Amy McCulloch

  1. Pingback: Book Haul – 18 to 30 September 2020 – Schizanthus Nerd

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