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The Wicked Girls

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,054 Ratings  ·  1,137 Reviews
One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first
Paperback, 378 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Sphere (first published June 13th 2008)
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Linda Hard to answer. I completely loved it, but there are so many reviews that said it was boring or confusing. I found it neither, and I am often easily…moreHard to answer. I completely loved it, but there are so many reviews that said it was boring or confusing. I found it neither, and I am often easily bored or confused. It reminded me a bit of Tana French in mood and prose, so if you're a Tana French fan, give it a whirl. It was a super deal on sale at Audible when I got it.(less)

Community Reviews

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Stephen King
Obviously, 2013 was the year of girls gone wild. Bel and Jade are the 11-year-old wicked girls, so dubbed by the British press when they’re convicted of murdering a 4-year-old left in their care. Finally paroled, they’re told they must never see each other again. Years later, with new lives, they come together in a run-down seaside amusement park where a killer is running wild. The suspense keeps the pages flying, but what sets this one apart is the palpable sense of onrushing doom.
Sep 16, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I read a heck of a lot of crime. Far more, in fact, than I enjoy. This book is that rare exception: a crime novel that follows all the rules of the genre but is still surprising. A crime novel where the crime takes a backseat to the characters, and is all the better for it. Marwood, a journalist, writes with authority: clear, fearless prose that refuses to march to the tune of so much commercial crime fiction. She won't deliver us to a point of reassurance, nor will she sugar the pill of ambigui ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Donna rated it did not like it
Apparently, 25 years ago, two 11 year old girls committed a crime, possibly causing the death of a younger child. The first 3/4 of this book alludes to something of that nature. After being released from their respective juvenile facilities, each girl does her best to blend into every day life by creating for themselves the dullest existence ever and then complaining about their choices. One day, they meet again by chance and nothing much happens. During all of this, a serial killer, or maybe mo ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
I’ve put this book on my mystery/thriller shelf, but there’s so much more to it than that. In the summer of 1986, 4 year old Chloe’s body is discovered and 11 year olds Bel and Jade are found guilty of her murder, branded as pure evil by an appalled nation. After spending a decade in young offender’s institutions they are given new identities and freed, albeit under life-long police supervision.

In the present day, cleaner Amber stumbles across the third victim of the ‘Seaside Strangler,’ and jou
Jan 02, 2013 M rated it did not like it
According to the narrative in this book, if you are working-class (my phrase - not sure what the author would use to describe the social group in their book, and I don't want to know) then you will, amongst other things:
- Be poor
- Shop in Aldi
- Wear sportswear
- Have piercings
- Age really, really fast
- Get drunk all the time
- Say 'innit'
- Have a menial job - maybe more than one
- Consume junk food
Get the drift? This book really irritated me. There is a good story in here somewhere - albeit not the
I started off thinking this would be a formulaic crime thriller that would provide me with a bit of cheap enjoyment but wouldn't be particularly well-written. Then I got excited when I realised it had more depth and detail than your average mystery, and thought it had the potential to be excellent. Sadly, it went in all the wrong directions after that - those 'good points' actually ended up dragging it down and making the plot feel clunky, if still somewhat compelling.

It's a two-pronged story,
I almost always start a book without knowing much of what it is about. I tend to chose books from recommendations, nice book covers (horrible, I know), by seeing others that enjoy similar books as me rate highly, or as an assignment. What I am basically getting at here is that I don't start books with any expectations, high or low.

I've read other reviews on this particular book and some people say that it wasn't as good as they anticipated, etc. and so I feel that going in blind gave me an advan
Jan 25, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: posh girls, slags, wicked girls, murdering girls, creepy dudes in anoraks
This is one of those books with a fairly straightforward plot that's a vehicle to say a lot of things about a lot of topics: how much of one's fate is set in childhood, parenting, relationships, the seemingly inescapable crucible of environment, class differences, the media, emotional and physical abuse, stalkers, and of course, child murderers.

The Wicked Girls is set in England, and seems to have been inspired by the murder of James Bulger, a three-year-old boy who was abducted, tortured, and m
Jun 21, 2014 Natasha rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Crow
Sep 04, 2013 Emily Crow rated it it was ok
A suspense novel with two intersecting stories. In the past, two 11 year old girls were charged with murdering a younger child. Years later, they are both living under new names and hoping to hide their secret from their families and neighbors. One, Kirstie, is a journalist; the other, Amber, works as a cleaner for a tacky amusement park at a rundown seaside resort town. They meet by chance when Kirstie is sent to the town to report on a serial killer.

Good stuff: interesting premise and characte
Original Doll (Lea Martinuš)
Davne 1986.godine dogodilo se stravično ubojstvo četverogodišnjakinje, a dvije nešto starije djevojčice proglašene su krivima za ubojstvo.
Opisane su kao “čisto zlo” te su im nakon godina provedenih u popravnim institucijama dati novi identiteti. Iako na doživotnoj uvjetnoj, dobile su novu priliku za normalan život uz uvjet da se više nikada ne sretnu.
Dvadeset i pet godina kasnije misteriozna ubojstva serijskog ubojice povezat će novinarku i čistačicu u zabavnom parku. Iako odluče kloniti se je
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
The Wicked Girls? This book should've been called The Boring Girls. This is me when I finished this book:

OMG, this book was so dull. There wasn't any part of the 'novel' that wasn't boring. The flashbacks that supposedly tell their "infamous" crime were boring. There is supposedly a serial killer or two killing women and leaving them in places where Amber (Bel) trips over, AND IT'S STILL BORING.

We get this tiny snippet of a trial scene at the beginning then we're shoved into a soap opera that we
Sep 09, 2013 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed

Just finished reading The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood. It bills itself as a psychological thriller and it definitely delivers. Probably one of the most riveting books I've read all year.

At the age of 11, Jade Walker and Annabel Oldacre are convicted as juvenile offenders and co-conspirators in the brutal murder of a 4 year old girl (Chloe) in their community. Because of Walker's dysfunctional upbringing, no one is surprised at her involvement in this kind of trouble but Oldacre comes from a pro
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 23, 2014 switterbug (Betsey) rated it really liked it
The American edition book cover, with the name “Wicked Girls,” shows an amusement park in the somewhat seedy seaside town of Whitmouth, in England. It provokes a promise of mystery and fear inside the pages. Well, it is a book of terrors, but not in typical chiller story fashion. The horror here had more to do with the British tabloid media culture, as well as the tension of exposing a grisly, twenty-five-year secret.

The leisurely pace, which doesn’t grab you with cheap thrills, unfolds with a m
Dec 18, 2013 Gina rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, greatbritain

Note to writers: STOP killing defenseless dogs for no reason other than shock value. It's lazy, it makes me disinclined to finish your book, and you ALWAYS telegraph your intentions as soon as you introduce the dogs.

Even besides the poor puppies, this book fell flat for me. The characters were uninteresting, the mystery was muddled, and the "twist" ending was disappointing. I've read quite a few books with this same premise and found them preferable.
Učitaj se!
Jul 21, 2015 Učitaj se! rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Ova je knjiga kriminalistički triler, koji govori o jezivim slučajevima ubojstava žena i postavlja nam još jezivije pitanje - koliko dobro zaista poznajemo osobe u našem životu?

Činjenica je da većina ljudi skriva nešto za što ne želi da itko drugi dozna, bilo to nešto banalno ili nešto malo ozbiljnije. Amber i Kirsty primorane su svoj čitav život živjeti na taj način, skrivajući od drugih ono što se dogodilo kad su obje bile tek djeca, a što je ih obilježilo i otada nadalje im stubokom promijeni

Check out my other reviews at Little Miss Bookmark!

Oh, where to start. This one just didn't do it for me. At all. To be honest, I couldn't find one thing that I liked about the novel except the first part when the lost and found stuff was getting divided up at Funnland. That was really it.

I didn't find any kind of connection with any of the characters. I don't even really know if I could tell you one trait each of them has ... the characters didn't seem deep or realistic at all. And that was wh
Jun 16, 2012 Raven rated it liked it
Marwood has constructed a crime thriller with obvious allusions to the lives of other well documented child murders with the perpetrators being children themselves and how they assimilate back into society on release. Choosing her protagonists to be two women puts a neat twist onto the whole criminal responsibility of children as most of the well known cases tend to centre on male perpetrators. This, I found, was the most well-executed aspect of the book as the reader’s sympathies shift and sway ...more
Jun 23, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
This book really made me stop and think. We all have our opinions on murderers, child killers in particular. And living in Liverpool, Venables and Thompson are never far from my thoughts when I pass the places that their victim was taken on his final journey. There's been plenty of speculation about the whys and the wherefores of the case , and usually little sympathy is afforded to the killers.
This book made me think a little further into what happens when children kill children. The everlasti
Diane S ☔
Jul 23, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
Dark and disturbing. Follows the life of two child murderers. What was in their background that led two girls who only met that day to become vilified and tried as the murderers of a young girl? The book goes back and forth, telling the story of the girls in back-flashes and the now, when they have changed their names and have new lives.

While at times I sympathized with some of the characters, I was never really drawn to them. Mixing a serial killer in the present brings the two young woman back
Elle ✦ Pretty Little Books ✦
I got this book a couple of months ago and I was really looking forward to reading it (the synopsis is very interesting). However, I found this book to be very confusing, it lacked all character development, it was boring, and I felt no connection with any of the characters. Maybe this is due to the writing style, I really don't know. I hardly every leave a book unread when I start it but this one just bored me to tears. I really wish it was better as it could have made such a fantastic read. O ...more
Ruth Turner
Aug 24, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime

This was a slow start for me. It didn't hold my interest and I found myself looking for excuses to put it down; I even scrubbed the bathroom. I would have given up except I really wanted to know how it ended.

Then, about two thirds of the way through, I found myself turning the pages faster and faster.

Written by a British author, it's a great story although a very sad one.

The only complaint I had, was that I found it confusing remembering which girl was which when the story moved between past and
Liz Barnsley
Mar 28, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
"The Wicked Girls" is an interesting book - when you start to read it you are kind of expecting a fairly straightforward murder mystery with perhaps the small twist being the fact that the main characters themselves committed a murder. What you actually get is a pretty darn good social comment on child murderers, their reintegration into society and the endless ways that those "outside" of the case can view the "criminals". (Trying not to give away any plot details here, its important to come at ...more
Best Crime Books & More
Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in the British press for many years. Wicked Girls was her debut novel and I was looking forward to reading it. If I am totally honest the synopsis seemed pretty dark but I still eagerly started it on my way into work. Two young girls at the age of 11 were imprisoned for the murder of a four year old girl. They weren’t even friends, having met that very day. Once inside prison they both have separate experiences and eventually get releas ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Sandra rated it it was ok

I started reading this book with high hopes, and about 1/4 of the way through, found myself skipping chapters and going ahead to the end--the kiss of death for a book.

I immediately figured out who the serial killer(s) were. I absolutely hated some of the characters. Some of the other reviewers said they didn't find anyone in the book likeable, and I agree.

So far as the original murder of four-year-old Chloe goes...I have just one question: What sort of inept lawyers did Bel and Jade hav
I had high expectations on this novel. High. First, the mystery author is English--I'm a huge fan of Sophie Hannah, second, I read the blurbs at the back of the book and it tells about "twists" and "unforgettable" and "stays with you" and third, I just love a good psychological read. Well, I just finished this last night after two days of reading and it didn't even stay with me when I woke up this morning. Probably because I've read so many books like this and I was so keen to the "twist" that I ...more
Dave Waterman
Apr 06, 2012 Dave Waterman rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. Absolutely loved it and the first book on my new Kindle. I would recommend this book to anyone. The way the author holds a mirror up to our own prejudices and collective sense of moral outrage is masterful and the final flashback scene is so sad. The way the mixed use of original and assumed names leaves the reader slightly confused might be disconcerting at first but whether intentional or not provides a tool for illustrating the confusion surrounding the real identities of b ...more
Sep 09, 2015 hayden rated it it was ok
some people will appreciate this for being more than just a thriller, but some will find that that fact takes away from the final product. I belong to the latter group.

THE WICKED GIRLS (and dammit, it's got such a cool title!!!) is more than just a thriller—it's a character study, a drama deeply rooted in the past, that contains more than its fair share of class commentary. the problem is, all these elements are so bare and ineffective that combined, they create a wishy-washy disaster. none of
May 19, 2016 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janice by: Stephen King
I'm really struggling here as to how to rate this book. I wish I had read it in print form and not listened to the audiobook because I'm having trouble separating the narration from the story. I'm going to give this book 4 stars because of the fabulous character study laid out before us.

The author makes us ask a lot of questions about the role of the media, the courts, and the public at large in sensational murder trials. As in the words of Amber, accused at the age of 10 of murdering a toddler,
Feb 19, 2014 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes marketing departments get 'creative' when advertising books as all other products. If you simply went by the blurb on the front of 'Wicked Girls' you would assume it was quite a different book from the one you read and from the other reviews this has often been the case to its detriment. Luckily I had read a couple of reviews before opening the book that made it evident this was not going to be a thriller dedicated to the day a child got killed but far more than that and although it wa ...more
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Raised by wolves, Alex Marwood passed her formative years in the lands beyond the Arctic circle, developing pack skills, excellent night vision and an ability to survive on raw protein. Ideally equipped for a life on Fleet Street, she then became a journalist.

Her first novel, The Wicked Girls, was published by Sphere, in 2012, and achieved widespread acclaim and word-of-mouth bestsellerdom. In 201
More about Alex Marwood...

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“But let's face it: society doesn't really care who it blames, as long as it blames someone” 3 likes
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