Not Like Other Girls

Not Like Other Girls

By Author / Illustrator

Meredith Adamo


Suspense & Thrillers

Age range(s)



Bloomsbury YA




Paperback / softback




Cheats. Liars. Fakes. Friends? A breathtaking contemporary YA thriller - serious questions and hot romance in an irresistible twisty mystery. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.

Jo used to be the perfect high-school girl - class president, popular, bright and successful. But when nude photos of her were leaked to the entire school, her grades plummeted, her friends fell away and now she's a reckless, difficult social outcast. The girl who 'deserved' it.

Then her former best friend Maddie disappears. Everyone else assumes Maddie has just run away but that doesn't add up to Jo. To discover the truth, Jo needs to get back in with the group of classmates who have shut her out: the boys who betrayed her and the clique of girls who whisper behind her back. And she has to make it look as if she wants to be there.

The only way back in is through Hudson. An old fling with his own reasons for finding Maddie, he persuades Jo to fake date him. And it works. But as the truth about Maddie's disappearance comes to light, so do long-hidden secrets from Jo's past. Who is Jo really trying to find - Maddie, or the girl she herself used to be?

'Both a twisty mystery and a compelling, heartbreaking exploration of what it's like to be a teen girl. I absolutely loved this.' Ravena Guron, author of This Book Kills



Not Like Other Girls is not quite like other YA thrillers. It skilfully combines a complex, tense and twisty mystery with a fake-dating romance while asking important questions about toxic friendship, assault and rape culture in a way which would be an achievement for any author, let alone a debut.

Once one of the high-achieving, popular, cool crowd at High School, Jo is ostracized, mercilessly bullied and then slut-shamed after nude photos of her are stolen, leaked and shared online. Struggling with her senior year schoolwork, misunderstood by her parents and rejected by her friends, Jo is surprised when her former best friend Maddie comes to her for help, claiming to be in trouble. When Maddie subsequently goes missing, Jo can't believe the popular opinion that she's run away.

To discover the truth, Jo needs to get back in with those who turned their backs on her and teams up with an old fling who has his own reasons for finding out about Maddie. Raking up the past brings disturbing revelations about the motivations of those Jo thought she knew and also means facing up to painful memories from her own recent past so that she can move on.

Jo is a realistic and relatable character; snarky, self-destructive but funny with it. The pitch-perfect first person narration means Jo tells her own story and we live it with her as she moves from denial to recognition of what has happened to her and then believing that she deserves to be herself, be loved and be happy. Because Not Like Other Girls is based on the author's own experience, as explained in the End Note, it feels very raw, very real but also very hopeful. This is the book we need in our schools and libraries right now: an edgy, uncomfortable and thought-provoking read which unflinchingly tackles important themes of consent, toxic friendships, emotional abuse, revenge porn, trauma, identity, social media, self-worth and healthy relationships.

The masterful weaving of these huge themes into a skilfully plotted mystery and the very short chapters make this an emotional and compulsively readable pageturner. Teen girls will love it for the way it explores first love, the devastation of a best friend break-up, and how tricky it is to be female today. Teen boys should read it to understand the devastating, life-changing effects of unthinking misogyny. Anyone struggling with similar issues will feel less alone; reassured that hope, and help, is out there as well as a future. Recommend it to your PSHE staff and Safeguarding team as well as your English department.

With Not Like Other Girls, Adamo has taken the hugely popular YA mystery thriller genre to a whole new level; I can't wait to see what she writes next!

320 pages / Reviewed by Eileen Armstrong, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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