The List of Suspicious Things – Jennie Godfrey #review @penguinrandom

Book cover of The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey

Title: The List of Suspicious Things
Author: Jennie Godfrey
Publisher: Cornerstone


‘What if we decided to try and find him?’

‘What on earth are you on about?’ she said. ‘How are we going to catch the Yorkshire Ripper, when the police haven’t even managed to?’

I sighed. Her questioning my ideas was a recent and unwelcome element to our friendship. But it was a valid point. How would we catch him? We needed some sort of plan, a way of gathering clues and putting them into order.

I thought about what the policeman had said about structure, and then about Aunty Jean and her notebook, and the idea I had hardened like toffee. I knew exactly what we needed to do.

‘We’ll make a list,’ I said. ‘A list of the people and things we see that are suspicious.

And then . . . And then we’ll investigate them.’

The List of Suspicious Things is a tender and moving coming of age story about family, friendship and community. Sometimes the strongest connections are found in the most unlikely of places.

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My review:

The List of Suspicious Things is a brilliantly engaging, character-driven novel set in Yorkshire in the late 1970s, when the Yorkshire Ripper was terrorising the area. Miv is a young, shy girl living with her aunt and father, as her mother has died, and worrying that her father wants them to move away from her hometown and, more importantly, away from her best friend Sharon. She decides that this can be avoided if the Yorkshire Ripper, who she’s seen dominating the news, is caught. So she persuades Sharon to start making a list of people they know who could be the serial killer, and in doing so finds out a lot about people in their local community.

I loved the characters in this novel – it really took this book to another level. They all felt realistic and the fact we move between different characters’ perspectives added an extra element that I really enjoyed. I was rooting for lovely shopkeeper Mr Bashir and his son, and I felt SUCH anger reading about the abuse they and other characters suffered. Seeing some of the story through Miv’s eyes is charming and gives us an insight into what things must have been like for a young girl, though sometimes it could be a little fustrating – especially we recognise things for what they are but she doesn’t.

The book addresses a range of issues, many of which are serious, but all are handled very well. I found the racist and physical abuse of some characters particularly hard to read about, and some emotional bits caught me off guard – but also light relief in some of Miv’s outlook on life.

I’m finding it hard to properly review this book because it is hard to sum up – it’s a brilliant debut with fresh, enjoyable writing. I would read anything else released by this author.

My rating: 4.5/5

Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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