Review: Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

by Heather Caliendo
Girls Like Us book review - book cover

Editorial note: I received a copy of Girls Like Us in exchange for a review. 

Girls like Us by Cristina Alger is an engaging page-turner about an FBI agent’s search for the truth. Part mystery and character study, this is a must read for 2019!

Cristina Alger is one of the best writers out there today. Her previous novel,The Banker’s Wife, became an instant classic. Cristina’s books are so well-written and smart. I just absolutely love how she writes women—there’s no damsel in distress or waiting for a man to save them. The women in her stories are complex, capable, intelligent, resourceful and strong as hell. It was such a joy to read her writing again; this time with very different stakes.

Girls Like Us follows FBI Agent Nell Flynn. Her father, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn, dies in a motorcycle accident and Nell heads back home for the first time in 10 years. Suffolk County will always be awash in memories of her mother, Marisol, who was brutally murdered when Nell was just seven. At the behest of her father’s partner, Detective Lee Davis, Nell becomes involved in an investigation into the murders of two young women in Suffolk County. The further Nell digs, the more likely it seems to her that her father should be the prime suspect–and that his friends on the police force are covering his tracks. Plagued by doubts about her mother’s murder–and her own role in exonerating her father in that case–Nell can’t help but ask questions about who killed Ria Ruiz and Adriana Marques and why.

Nell’s journey

We read the story in Nell’s first-person perspective, which provides an immediacy to the story. The reader joins Nell on her journey to find out the truth about her father and the town. Nell is an engaging protagonist and she never becomes a cliche, she’s truly trying to solve several mysteries. And even if she’s unsure if she’ll like the answer, she’s determined to do what’s right. We also learn quite a bit about Nell’s background, which gives plenty of context to why she’s so intent on solving the current mysteries.

The setting is vivid and I thought all the main characters were fleshed out well and complicated in their own ways. There’s so many layers to this one. In a sense, this almost felt like reading about real people—that’s how good of a writer Cristina is.

A complete story

Cristina provides plenty of clues throughout the story that will all connect at the end. Lately, I feel that many books are about 50-100 pages too long but Girls Like Us is just at the right length. In fact, I would have love to read more about Nell’s journey! I actually could see where it leads to a sequel too.

If you like mysteries and stories that feature badass women protagonists, you’ll want to read this one ASAP. I’m curious if people see the ending coming or not. So definitely let me know your thoughts after you read it!

There’s lots to discuss for book clubs! Click here for my discussion questions.

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