Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To the Power of Three” as Want to Read:
To the Power of Three
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To the Power of Three

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  3,682 Ratings  ·  375 Reviews
The three girls have been inseparable best friends since the third grade -- Josie, the athletic one; Perri, the brilliant, acerbic drama queen; and Kat, the beauty, who also has brains, grace, and a heart open to all around her. But their last day of high school becomes their final day together after one of them brings a gun to school to resolve a mysterious feud. When the ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To the Power of Three, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about To the Power of Three

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 23, 2013 Christa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is my fourth Laura Lippman book (all stand-alone novels, not her mystery series), and I came to a realization about them: I like them a lot more while I'm reading them than when I'm done and looking back.

I think that's because her books really hold your interest--I always find myself invested in the characters and looking forward to picking up where I left off. But the climaxes always seem a bit disappointing. After caring so much about the characters, and really enjoying what's going on, t
Feb 09, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is my first Lippman book and I will definitely be reading more. The story is so well crafted. Three friends found shot in their high school bathroom. It looks like a simple case of jealousy among teen girls but as the years of friendship unravel it's not what it originally seems, but then again, it actually is. I found the ending believable more than shocking. For me, it's not always important to have a *gasp* revelation in the final chapter. I think it's more difficult to slowly flesh out ...more
Apr 19, 2011 Dora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So many people have recommended Laura Lippman to me that I was extra disappointed that this book didn't wow me.

I thought the writing style odd at times-- even though it's in the 3rd person, the tone would change dramatically depending on which character it was following (gruff cop, ditzy teenager, etc).

The plot trods along dully, when a murder mystery should have an exciting pace... the big reveal at the end left me feeling like "OK, so that's what happened", not "OH SNAP! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED!
I have to say I found this book to be pretty disappointed. I expected much more. I think the author could have done a lot more with the story. It had the potential to be really good, but definitely fell short. The book went on for much longer than it needed to. I was interested enough to want to know what happened at the end, and when I finally made it there, I said, "that's it?" I wanted a lot more.
To the Power of Three was my first novel by Laura Lippman. It’s hard to know what to say about it because while I didn’t love it, I certainly appreciated its merits.

To the Power of Three tells the story of Kat, Perri and Josie, childhood best friends. One June morning, one of the three brings a gun to school, shoots two of the girls (one fatally) and then herself. The novel then begins to unravel the story of what would have caused this horrible act of violence.

Lippman is an accomplished writer.
Aug 06, 2015 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laura Lippman's best, IMHO. This is about 3 girls who were BFF's over a period of 10 years in a section of Maryland that is high end mixed with old rural on the farther Northern reaches of Baltimore. It's excellent. It holds such deep character study that I have actually read this twice, about 10 years apart. Found it laying in a rental home's "take one, leave one" paperback trove. I left 3 and took this one.

With competition for college path and access being what they are, and with the emotive
Lisa H.
May 18, 2011 Lisa H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who was an outcast in high school
Shelves: mystery
Lippman's freestanding novels are not your standard mysteries. (She has also written a series featuring a PI named Tess Monaghan, of which I've read part of one, that I'm not really interested in pursuing.) Yes, there's been a crime committed, and there usually are police involved, but her writing spends more time digging into the minds of the people involved, and looking at how their histories have led them to be connected to the crime in some way.

I remarked to a friend as I was reading this t
Dec 15, 2008 Bev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-version
I've come upon yet another book set in my hometown of Baltimore, MD! This one mentions lots of places I know very well, so it makes the story more immediate.

Just finished the book...there are lots of things I love about Laura Lippman's writing, and I will definitely read more of her books, but as I have seen in many of the reviews, this is not her best work. The story started out like gangbusters, and I was very intrigued for about the first 1/3rd of the book, but then the story started to meand
Jan 04, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four and three-quarters stars-- one of Lippman's very best.

And not, in any way, a typical police procedural, thriller or cozy, which is probably why other reviewers didn't particularly care for this stand-alone.

Here's what I absolutely loved about this book: Lippman gets three things absolutely right-- young/teenage girls, schools and the way they work, and what life is like in a community of privilege, like the fictional Glendale. The things the girls say to each other, what they worry about,
Aug 20, 2008 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply exhilarating! Laura Lippman’s To the Power of Three kept me on the edge of my seat. It takes a special book for me to want to “cheat” and sneak a look at the ending. I am never one for much self-control so I must admit, I looked. ) But I still read the whole book. At some points I thought the story was a little disjointed with it flashing back to the girls past. And admittedly, those parts didn’t keep my interest as well as the present. Lippman does an excellent job of getting into the hi ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda C
Jan 05, 2010 Linda C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Book was ok, but anti-climatic in the end. Listened to it on discs in the car, which was difficult because the point of view changed so often. I found myself listening to sections over and over to try and figure out who was speaking and wanted to flip the "pages" to re-read something. So if you are going to read it, choose the paper version, not the audio. Agree with other reviewers that it was too long. Felt like the writer realized that she was 500 pages and so needed to end it, fast. Also, I ...more
Jan C
Jan 04, 2009 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
For whatever reason I put this one down for several years. But as far as I can see it has turned out to be yet another outstanding tale from Laura Lippman.

This one was a standalone. She does use a couple of recurring characters, that I know I have seen in other standalones of hers, and possibly in her Tess Monaghan series.

This involves a close friendship of three girls since at least third grade. Two of them had been friends since they were five. And as they get close to graduating high school
Mark Soone
I would go 2.5 stars, but can't quite bring myself to 3....I wanted to like this, and I almost liked this.

Decent little story about a school shooting, and the mysterious way things went down inside of a girls bathroom. The survivors testimony just not line up with clues. The rest of the book gradually details the way 3 young ladies (hence the title) developed a great friendship from the age of 8, and then flipping back and forth to add new characters, dimensions and unravel the mystery.

This boo
Jul 06, 2009 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i like laura lippman a lot, and i thought "to the power of three" was another tess adventure. turns out it wasn't but no matter. i love how lippman weaves multiple story lines to a single point. she's a brilliant writer and i'm amazed at how she is able to write from the point of view of SO many characters. it was hard to put this book down, and i could hardly wait to pick it up again. it starts with a school shooting, with what appears to be a clear cut murder scenario, but the easy answer isn' ...more
Sep 11, 2009 Alarra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is kind of a standalone book, based on a real crime. Rather than focussing on the detectives and their police work, it tries to sort out how three teenage girls, once best friends, hurt each other physically and emotionally, culminating in a fatal shooting. Because of the large amount of time it tries to cover (it flashes back constantly to show different stages of the girls' friendship from childhood onwards) and the attempt to solve the crime while delving into the psychological and relat ...more
May 29, 2017 E. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
What ever happened wasn't a high school shooting, but it wasn't any less horrific. On that day, it was the three of them, locked in a bathroom. Kat, Perri and Josie grew up together, forming a tightly knit group of friends. One that was unattainable to anybody else, no matter how hard they tried to join. It had always been to three of them against the world. So, what led the inseparable friends to violence? Nobody seems to know, or understand. But, one girl's dead and two are injured. And, when ...more
Book #30 read in 2016

The story grabbed me from the beginning. The idea of a school shooting hits close to home as a teacher. I was interested to see how the teen-girl drama lead to the shooting. However, while I feel it had so much potential, the story dragged on a little too long. The clues and hints to what really happened were revealed in a way that became frustrating. It was leading to what we were meant to believe was a huge twist, but it fizzled, in my opinion. The ending didn't seem true
Feb 08, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I think I have a girl crush on Laura Lippman. That's how much I like her books. I don't know if it's because I've been reading them since her very first, Baltimore Blues, came out in the mid-90's when I still lived in "The City That Reads" or if she's just that good (apparently the critics all have crushes on her, too, as she's won every major mystery writing award there ever was--she's even recently been serialized in the NY Times Magazine), but I love reading her books and am always a bit sad ...more
Jul 05, 2011 Debra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I read Laura Lippman for the first time when I read "I'd Know You Anywhere." I thought it was very good read, so I decided to try another of her books. I was disappointed with this one. It was a quick easy read, but just didn't grab me at all. I couldn't figure out what motivated the girls involved and just didn't really care about the characters. It had potential, but just didn't arise to the occasion.
Bonnie McHenry
Jul 25, 2011 Bonnie McHenry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the last review. I was disappointed in the writing style, the plot and the character development. Being from Maryland, I was excited to read about a book where the setting was very familiar to me. That was about the only interesting thing in the book. The story seemed to drag on and the climax was totally not worth reading all 400 and some pages. I wanted to read her Tess Monaghan series but I think I will skip it after reading this.
Sep 23, 2013 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As predicted, I liked this book way more than every top review.

Stories like this just get me...I love the drama of it all. But I do not like the melancholy feelings that pester me at the end.

That's when I know a book is good: when that hint of grief is still curled up in my stomach long after I've read the last word.
Jul 27, 2008 Kirsti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling, with some interesting new characters, plus a few returning ones.

I preferred What the Dead Know, as that book has similar themes but meanders less. But this one definitely held my attention, and I enjoyed the way I got to see different sides of the characters as the book progressed.
Kelly Hager
Nov 22, 2015 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is maybe my favorite of her books. It's incredibly suspenseful and probably one of the best of her standalones to start with, if you haven't read her before. (Although I also love her Tess Monaghan series and honestly, all her standalones are excellent.)
Sue Jellum
I really liked reading this book, and would have given it 4 stars if I didn't feel so unsettled at the end. 3 girls, friends since grade school, are involved in a shooting at a high school. The story explains the friendship and doesn't do a great job of explaining the end of the friendship.
Jul 27, 2015 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liked this one a lot. Very strong storyline. Stupid job and life kept getting in the way of a quick read.
Oct 08, 2009 Kaethe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beloved
17 November, 2011
14 January, 2016

Holds up very well to a re-read.

Library copy
Jun 18, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too long, not a bad story, horribly weak ending
Dec 16, 2016 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not sure if it was the reader on this audio book or the material... UGGGGHhhhhh turned it off. dull and dry as sand
This book surprised me. I started this book a year ago and lost interest in the first few chapters. I recently ran out of books on my have to read list and needed something to read and picked this back up and started again. Boy, am I glad I did. This may be one of my favorite by Lipman. I will admit I had thought that I had the ending pegged but I was wrong. The twist or reason for the shooting is a little strange and sorta unbelievable but it was entertaining. There are very few characters that ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Last Girl Dancing
  • Red Leaves
  • Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2)
  • Falls the Shadow (Victor Carl, #5)
  • Hear No Evil: Marching in the Lord's Army, Fleeing the Devil, and Finding a Righteous Groove
  • The Last Lie (Alan Gregory, #18)
  • The James Deans (Moe Prager, #3)
  • Delusion
  • The Wrong Mother (Spilling CID, #3)
  • Dangerous Women
  • The Wrong Side of Dead (Sweet Justice, #2)
  • Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer Noir
  • Slay Ride (Christopher Miller Holiday Thriller, #1)
  • Angel's Tip (Ellie Hatcher #2)
  • The Knowledge of Water
  • Exposé (Sally Harrington, #1)
  • No Mercy (Mercy Gunderson Mystery, #1)
  • King of Paine
Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for othe ...more
More about Laura Lippman...

Share This Book

“Sometimes you have to destroy things, even people, in order to save them. (7)” 6 likes
“No one at fifteen was ever in love, outside of Romeo and Juliet, and maybe not even them. Old Giff used to argue that the star-crossed lovers simply were buzzed on the fumes of forbidden lust. Give them thirty years of togetherness, Old Giff always said, and Juliet would be plunging the dagger into Romeo.” 4 likes
More quotes…