The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Book Talk: ‘The Reappearance of Rachel Price’

The+Reappearance+of+Rachel+Price%2C+the+latest+novel+from+acclaimed+mystery+author+Holly+Jackson%2C+was+released+this+past+April.+While+enjoyable+for+fans+of+the+mystery+genre%2C+the+book+ultimately+falls+short+of+Jacksons+other+works%2C+such+as+the+internet-famous+A+Good+Girls+Guide+to+Murder+series.+
Rayghen Peak
‘The Reappearance of Rachel Price’, the latest novel from acclaimed mystery author Holly Jackson, was released this past April. While enjoyable for fans of the mystery genre, the book ultimately falls short of Jackson’s other works, such as the internet-famous ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ series.

Rachel Price is not missing. At least not after she reappeared 16 years later. Released in April, Holly Jackson’s newest novel The Reappearance of Rachel Price focuses on Annabel Price, Bel for short. Her mother, Rachel, disappeared 16 years ago, and Bel was the only witness. She could have all the answers to the disappearance, but she was too young to remember anything. When a documentary is being made about her missing mother, Rachel suddenly shows up. Bel starts to feel that something is wrong and that her mother isn’t completely telling the truth about what happened to her.

The story is interesting on paper, and acclaimed young adult (YA) author Holly Jackson wrote it, setting many readers’ expectations pretty high. Her other books, such as the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, have been read and thoroughly enjoyed by millions of mystery fans. However, The Reappearance of Rachel Price does not reach those same heights. Ultimately, the execution was disappointing.

First, Annabel “Bel” Price as a character was an unexpectedly irritating protagonist. Perfect characters make stories boring. Characters with flaws and a strong background are easier to connect with and understand. It helps make them more human. Bel isn’t perfect, but in a way she is relatable. She’s sarcastic, and sharp-tongued, which are things that usually make an entertaining protagonist. However, this wasn’t at all true in The Reappearance of Rachel Price. Bel’s characterization was actually unpleasant and obnoxious.

For the most part, Bel was selfish and arrogant. There’s a major difference between being a person who’s not afraid to speak their mind and someone who’s just flat-out rude. Bel had a tough time growing up and has trauma, but it doesn’t justify some of her behavior. She was tolerable at times, but her personality made the story difficult to enjoy.

Despite this, expectations remained high for the rest of the book. It was written by an author who had not disappointed in the past and, overall, it was a mystery, so fans of the genre will enjoy the classic tropes incorporated. It had a great hook from the beginning to the end, and parts of it were fun. However, dissatisfaction with the protagonist is a big issue. Furthermore, many of the author’s literary descriptions became repetitive, such as Bel’s “having a knot in her stomach” seemingly a million times throughout the story.

Other things prevented the book from being top-tier. The middle of the story was very slow and harder to get through than the rest. Most, if not all, of the plot twists were predictable. The twists (though they were predictable) weren’t bad, but Jackson had provided better, more surprising twists in her past novels. 

With Jackson’s rising popularity on social media, expectations were high when this novel was announced. A Good Girls Guide to Murder blew up on social media, especially within YA circles on “BookTok”, a community of readers on TikTok’s popular video-sharing platform. Her popularity had declined before she dropped hints on the release of the A Good Girls Guide to Murder television adaptation. To remain relevant, she released The Reappearance of Rachel Price. Jackson published something as amazing as A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, proving she’s capable of writing compelling mysteries and characters, so it was disappointing when she didn’t completely deliver with this book. 

Netflix
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Westwood Student Press intends for this comment area to foster welcoming, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards.
All Westwood Horizon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *