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

The Wicked Girls

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  16,343 ratings  ·  1,657 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)
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 The Wicked Girls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 b…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

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,343 ratings  ·  1,657 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Wicked Girls
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 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
Aug 29, 2013 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 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yeartoclear
An interesting enough premise: the lives of two young girls found guilty of murdering another child intersect in adulthood under more murderous circumstances. Anyone from the UK will immediately feel the resonances with the horrifying Bulger case, but this story has none of the darkness of that reality, if anything it sucks the horror right out of it by being a rather dull recounting of how hard they’ve found their worlds since.

Perhaps my apathy comes from a lack of connection with either of th
Nov 14, 2012 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
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
Dec 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: greatbritain, mystery

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.
Jan 23, 2015 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
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,
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane S ☔
Feb 01, 2013 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
Jun 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It just never really got my attention and it never seem to go anywhere.
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
Jun 17, 2012 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
Emily Crow
Sep 04, 2013 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

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
Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️
I wouldn't say I really loved this story but I liked it for it's harsh depiction of the cruelty that may sometimes hide inside a child's mind and that sometimes a small action fuelled by rage and anger can have unforgivable consequences. The wicked girls have grown up and circumstances have forced them to meet after 25 years and life has not been fair to Annabel. She's working as a cleaner for a amusement carnival show in the town of Whitmouth where a serial killer is on the loose. Jade has howe ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Tough subject matter. Well written. Probably round to 3.5 stars if possible. I think the audio probably held my interest better than reading alone would have done. Hard not to end up feeling sorry for these girls in the end. Sad tale of girls that didn’t have much chance at happiness despite their opposite social status.
“But let's face it: society doesn't really care who it blames, as long as it blames someone”
― Alex Marwood, The Wicked Girls

This book is as much a commentary on the media as it is a psychological thriller. I did love the book although I found it to be one of the darkest reads I'd read in years. It also takes awhile to get going so give it time. This one is a slow burn.

For some reason I have always loved books..and movies..that had an amusement park as a backdrop. But Wicked Girls is deceptive.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was...lackluster, to say the least. For such an interesting premise (young killer girls!) this was beyond boring at times. I had to listen to over half the audiobook before anything picked up. It followed their mundane lives and barely focuses on the current murders occurring. The two main characters cross paths and when it is revealed which girl is which, I had a hard time keeping them straight. Their personalities just didn't match their younger selves, and honestly the whole cri
Elle G.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Jennifer Stephens
Sep 09, 2013 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
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Wicked Girls is a wickedly good exploration of what happens to two eleven-year-olds – now grown and rehabilitated -- who were convicted of murdering an innocent toddler years ago.

The two – Annabel Oldacre and Jade Walker– ceased to exist when they vanished into the system and were “reborn” under new identities. “Trained by fear, squashed by shame, ducking out of harm’s way, keeping her head down”, each woman has constructed a life for herself. That is, until a number of killings occur in Fun
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
Liz Barnsley
Mar 20, 2013 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
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm so excited to discover this author (also known as Serena Mackesey in the UK). This is a beautifully written, atmospheric novel of suspense. The past and present narratives are dovetail perfectly to amp up the tension. I love the seedy seaside resort setting and all the Britishisms--I had to go out twice for fish and chips while reading. I'm looking forward to reading Alex Marwood's next book. ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries-kinda
Damaged Goods
The thought of his hurt, of the loss to the children, if they ever found out that they had been loving someone who didn't exist, leaves her gasping for breath. He thinks she's a good person damaged by life. She knows, deep down, that she is—must be—rotten to the core, and that the one thing she must do is protect them all from the ugly truth.
This is Kirsty Lindsay, a reporter with courage and a conscience. She is middle-class, well-educated, the mother of two, married to a banke
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 22, 2014 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
Jun 15, 2012 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
Oct 06, 2013 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fiction Fanatics: February 2017 - The Wicked Girls 3 17 Feb 20, 2017 05:16AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • De stumme piger
  • For barnets bedste
  • The Poisoner (The Craftsman #2)
  • Den nordiske mands hævn
  • Mand uden ansigt
  • Sanatoriet
  • Satans sommer (Martin Juncker-krim, #2)
  • Døden er kun et øjeblik
  • O viata regasita
  • Vildskud (Rebekka Holm, #8)
  • På date med en morder
  • Ikke afsendt
  • Goda grannar
  • Hævnen (Pyromanen #3)
  • Nattens udyr (Cecilie Mars, #2)
  • Come a Little Closer
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alex Marwood is a former journalist who worked extensively across the British press. Her first novel, The Wicked Girls, achieved widespread acclaim and international bestsellerdom. It was shortlisted for ITW, Anthony and Macavity awards, was included in Stephen King's Ten Best Books of the Year list, and won the prestigious Edgar Award. The Killer Next Door, her second novel, won the coveted Macav ...more

News & Interviews

These twelve books are so consistently adored, they have become regulars month after month in our data of most popular and most read books on...
107 likes · 42 comments
“But let's face it: society doesn't really care who it blames, as long as it blames someone” 10 likes
“A night spent scraping off the evidence of other people's fun is a wearisome thing.” 1 likes
More quotes…