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The Prized Girl

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  174 reviews
From debut author Amy K. Green comes a devastating tale of psychological suspense: a teen pageant queen is found murdered in a small New England town, and her sister’s search for answers unearths more than she bargained for.

Days after a young teenager named Jenny is found murdered, her small town grieves the loss alongside her picture-perfect parents. At first glance,
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Dutton Books
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  504 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
A teenage pageant queen is found murdered in her small New England town. She comes from the picture-perfect family who gets together for Sunday dinners and are upstanding members of the community. When she if found dead, the main suspect is a man who has been coming to all her pageants, her "biggest" fan if you will. Most believe he could be the killer. Most, but not her older sarcastic, heavy drinking sister who has past issues of her own. She believes the main suspect is innocent and has her ...more
Chelsea Humphrey
This was a cleverly crafted novel, but one that I found myself having trouble connecting with the characters throughout. It could be that they felt too cookie cutter in dialogue and action, or it could be the fact that I felt I've already read a story similar to this one many times before. I do think readers who are looking to branch into the mystery/thriller genre may find this title more enjoyable than I did, and highly encourage those folks to check this one out for themselves.

*Many thanks to
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc-physical
A tense twisted dark thriller. Amy K. Green’s debut was clever and addictive. Sisters, a murder, a small town, a pageant queen, teenage drama, a sick stalker, Bad behavior, dark secrets, missed opportunities, lost memories, obsession, coverups, lies. The story bounces back-and-forth between the perspectives of sisters Virginia and Jenny. We learn about the events leading up to the murder through the eyes of 14-year-old Jenny. We learn about the aftermath of the murder through the actions of ...more
Folks, I read a lot of psychological thrillers, so when a good book follows a similar narrative that I'm already used to reading, it usually doesn't pan out well. The Prized Girl is written so perfectly, and the author obviously is very talented in storytelling. Let me just get that out in the open, because I really did enjoy the story overall. We have two point-of-views (Virginia's was my favorite) and they eventually uncover the mystery as we teeter between the two.

My main concern was that
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs

The first month of the year and I’m already struggling with thrillers AGAIN. Sigh. I had high hopes for this one, the premise and structure sounded interesting enough and I’m always excited about a debut. Unfortunately for me this one just didn’t work at all, maybe I’ve just read too many similar books, but in the end, this was just a mess for me.

I’m just going to highlight what was problematic for me quickly because I think for the right reader this may work great, that reader just wasn’t
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
2.5 stars.

Thirteen-year-old Jenny is a former beauty pageant queen found murdered in her small New England town. The press is eager to report the details on the rape and murder of a beautiful girl who appeared to be living a picture perfect life. The police are confident they have solved the case before it even begins, focusing completely on an intellectually disabled man known to attend all of Jenny's pageants.

Jenny's older sister Virginia isn't so certain the police have it right and decides
Sarah Swann
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really loved this. This was dark, twisty and took some routes I wasn’t expecting. I had to knock off a star because of how it ended, I really didn’t like how it all played out. I understand why it did, but I wanted something different. It really did surprise me and I didn’t want to put it down.
Wendy Walker
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this one! I did not figure out the ending, it moved fast and was written in a way that made me pay close attention. The perfect combo for a thriller! Here is what I "officially" said about it!

Gripping prose, complex characters and dark family secrets propel this story about a murdered teen pageant queen to a perfectly unexpected finale. A stunning debut!
Katie (never.ending.reading.list)
The Prized Girl is a murder mystery/thriller centered around the murder of a young, beautiful, former pageant star - Jenny. The story is told back in time through her perspective and in the current day through Jenny’s somewhat estranged older sister, Virginia, who is trying to solve the case.

As the story unfolds, it’s clear that Jenny wasn’t as innocent as the media paints her to be and Virginia seems to have a sordid past of her own.

The different perspectives unwind beautifully and this
Jillian Doherty
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fast paced and absorbing suspense!

I loved the consistent back-and-forth of sister perspective storytelling, and how their time-lines built to an unexpected, and well thought out climax.

I couldn't have imagined thinking as Jenny did, when I was in eighth grade, but child pageants and a modern world can be a daunting reality indeed.

This unassuming and poignant thriller has immense potential to take readers by storm!

Galley borrowed from the publisher.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive debut novel – a good solid mystery thriller. Who killed Jenny the former teenage pageant queen? Through dual story lines we learn of Jenny’s life leading up to her murder and in present day, we hear Virginia’s story. Virginia is Jenny’s troubled half-sister who is detached from the family, attending the funeral barely noticed, and then takes an interest in learning the truth about the murder after the police appear to be rushing to judgment on their main suspect. The story held my ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. As soon as I read the premise of this book I wanted to read it, it reminded me a little of Jon Benet and the whole pageant scene with the small town feel thrown in. The story is told from Jenny, the pageant teen who dies perspective, and her older sister, Virginia, who is trying to find out who killed her. The stories weave and intertwine seamlessly making for one interesting story.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The Prized Girl
Amy K. Green
Thank you Netgalley for a copy of this ARC ebook.
This story is told in a back and forth story line between Virginia now; and Jenny before her untimely demise.
Jenny was a beautiful 14 year old girl. Her mother started her in beauty pageants at a young age and she was always top of the pack. Through her pageant career she came across Benjy, whom I believe was a bit touched. He was her biggest fan, until one day she gave him a note saying she was done with the
Liz Barnsley
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The Prized Girl is a tense tale of small town murder, it was a huge page turner to be sure but if I'm honest it didn't quite do it for me.

On the plus side the writing was excellent, the story fairly rocked along and there were emotional thought provoking layers to it that were compelling. A young girl, a pageant queen, killed before her life really began, a sister who was absent, parents who were hiding secrets, this was a truly twisted tale.

My problem was I didn't really engage with the
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I'm just going to say it...I hate pageants. Long before the unfortunate JonBenet Ramsey murder happened back in 1996, I hated pageants. It is so not my thing. That being said, I was still thoroughly invested in watching all the news about the murder and watch all the documentaries out of pure fascination. To this day, my opinion is that it was the parent of one of JonBenet's rival pageant contestants who got sick of her getting all the glory. Moving on...
"The Prized Girl" was utterly
Reads a Latte Thrillers
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to believe The Prized Girl is a debut novel. As a devoted thriller reader, I'm wondering where has Amy K. Green has been all my life (you are amazing), and, what other captivating stories does she have up her sleeve? Whatever it is, I definitely want to read more from this author. This story is all consuming. At first it feels like simple teenage angst with a dose of sibling rivalry rolled into a domestic family drama. It turns out, things are much more deep, complicated, dark, and ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the back and forth narrative between the two sisters in this book. You're able to get to know and connect to each character.
This book definitely had enough to keep you intrigued and guessing along the way. It had me hooked from the very beginning.
I felt a lot of emotion with this one and am looking forward to reading Amy Green's future books.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When you are the outcast of the family and your sister, that was everyone's favorite, turns up dead, it shouldn't be that hard. Except she was still your sister and you want answers. You won't get the answers until the the very end of this non-stop ride that keeps you guessing at every turn. Fans of Gillian Flynn can pick this up while waiting on her next book.
Michael David
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An unputdownable, uncomfortable novel about the rape and murder of a 13-year old beauty pageant queen. I read the review in PEOPLE WEEKLY, who stated it was darkly funny, and was incredibly intrigued that anyone would say that about this topic. They're right, thanks to the character of half-sister Virginia and her own issues, but this a dark mystery with a dark ending. Kids/teens should not be put on pedestals.

Great debut by the author.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
When a girl teen girl is murdered in a small town, her sister starts to investigate and solve the crime.

The author uses dual narrative, alternating between the weeks leading up to the murder, told by Jenny, the victim, to current day narrative by her sister Virginia,

This book has twists and turns up until the end of the story that I didn't see coming. I lost the connection with the story several times, not sure if it was because of the switch between past and present or just the content of the
Elaine's Reviews
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jenny Kennedy, 13 year old beauty pageant queen is dead, murdered. Her half sister Virginia, a 20 something year old non contributing, non functioning member of society with a drink problem is not happy with the police investigation and is motivated to do her own digging. Virginia bites off more than she can chew as one secret leads to another that leads to another. Everyone is a suspect in a town thriving on gossip and full of secrets.

The clever and complex story is told in a now and then
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Ex-beauty queen, 13 year old Jenny is found murdered. The local town is floored and fans pour in to pay their homage. The suspect has finally been captured, and everyone can sleep a little easier.

26 year old Virginia is Jenny’s half sister. Her dad and stepmom treat her like she’s the world’s biggest delinquent, disappointment, and crappy sister. Unlike everyone else, Virginia isn’t convinced that the suspect is the one who killed her sister. She’s determined to find the true killer even if she
Laura • lauralovestoread
I was looking for a twisty dark thriller, and got just what I was looking for in The Prized Girl!

I loved Amy K Green’s debut, and felt like both timelines for each sister were equally intriguing. The story alternates through older sister Virginia’s current perspective, and bounces back to younger sister and beauty queen Jenny, before she was brutally murdered.

So many dark secrets, and twists. I think I guessed 10 different ways this story would play out, which was one of my favorite parts of the
Intellectual Magpie
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5/5 star read for this psychological coming of age novel.... Thank you to Dutton books for sending me an ARC of THE PRIZED GIRL in exchange for an honest review. Releasing JANUARY 2020.
*TRIGGER WARNING* this book does have context of sexual/mental/physical abuse*
Set in a small town we hear from two sisters at two very different points in their lives.... Jenny... the younger 13yr old perfect pageant queen as she starts to unravel what life truly looks like and what becoming a teenager throws
Nicole reading_with_nicole
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jenny has been a pageant queen since she was little; now 13 she is still on top of the pageant circut. Jenny was tired of doing pageants and her mother was not taking it well.
Then there is Virginia, she is Jenny’s half sister. Virginia is nothing like Jenny, she is not perfect and she is not into pageants; she is the complete opposite of her sister.
One day the news comes that Jenny has been murdered and raped, this takes a serious affect on Virginia; she is determined to find out who killed
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are two points of view told for this story. There is Jenny and her older sister, Virginia. Jenny's point of view/voice was more "raw". Plus, I found Jenny's story to be a sad but intriguing one. It was Virginia that I found to be more broken than her sister. However, her voice was not as interesting.

When it came to the two sisters; it felt like I was reading two different stories and not two storylines that ran concurrently to mesh into one final ending. Despite this factor, I did read
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries

A good psychological thriller starter book!

I’m writing this review with some hindsight and have had some time to stew on my thoughts.

The plot totally brought on some JonBenét Ramsey vibes. Like I’m 75% sure most of the plot was modeled after several theories about the infamous unsolved case.

While the story drew me in, there were definitely parts that were ‘ewwww’.

Remember that scene in F.R.I.E.N.D.S where they find out about the jellyfish sting? That was my reaction to some of this book.

CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Prized Girl by Amy K. Green is a great thriller with plenty of mystery! It was easy to follow the characters and plot while at a steady, decent pace. Alternating characters/chapters make this a fun one! Definitely recommend it!

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Releases 2020, detailed review to come!
Michele Lipford
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a scary story. It had some very twisted details. I was hoping for Jenny to receive rest after all the time that was going by. There was times when I wanted to read between my fingers. Everyone should know that some towns, family, and friends are not what they seem. This book covers all the factors.I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway for a honest review.
Morgan Schulman
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review

What a fresh take on the dead teenage beauty queen! I enjoyed this one considerably more then I expected- I’ve read so many books with this theme that felt cliche and overwrought, but this one was a pleasure to read, more of a book to savor then a fast burn. I loved both girls. Can’t wait to see more from this writer!
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I'm a Boston and LA based author and my debut suspense thriller The Prized Girl is available for pre-order now (Dutton, 1/14/2020).

I also work as a Production Accountant, most recently on the 2019 film Little Women. Working in accounting on movies is a little like cleaning the costumes at Disney World; it's not glamorous, but you get access to more behind the scenes details than you'd ever want.