They Wish They Were Us

They Wish They Were Us

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
At an exclusive prep school on Long Island, Jill Newman looks forward to her senior year as a member of the school's most elite clique, the Players, until new evidence surfaces about the murder of her close friend Shaila.
Publisher: New York :, Razorbill,, [2020]
Description: 327 pages ; 22 cm
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780593114292
Branch Call Number: TEEN Good


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 22, 2021

This book offered an entertaining story through a feminist lens. It was reminiscent of The Amateurs by Sara Shepard and the "senior year" theme made it interesting to read, albeit slightly cliched.

Apr 16, 2021

They Wish They Were Us had a great mystery within it and overall was a good read. It was about a fancy prep school, where The Players ruled. One night in Jill Newman’s freshman year, everything went wrong, and someone ended up dead. I adored Jill throughout this whole story; she was always trying to do the right thing, no matter the cost. I had many suspicions about who the murderer was but wasn’t expecting the ending at all – I was so surprised. The mystery also had an intertwined love story that was adorable. When I first started reading, I wasn’t very hooked on the story until I got to about the middle of the book but other than that, it was an incredible read. I recommend to anyone who is looking for a mind-twisting mystery! 4/5
@butterflyreads of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

This turned out to be more underwhelming than I hoped. I wanted a twisty, turny mystery that I couldn't predict, and I found this to be predictable all the way through.

This turned out to be more underwhelming than I hoped. I wanted a twisty, turny mystery that I couldn't predict, and I found this to be predictable all the way through.

Shaila Arnold was murdered, and Gold Coast Prep has never recovered. They still memorialize her on the first day of school every year, and Jill, her best friend, is still trying to move on. But when Shaila's boyfriend's sister comes to her and says that her brother isn't guilty of Shaila's murder, Jill is forced back into the fray to bring her best friend's killer to justice.

This was basically a high school drama, and although I enjoy those, this one fell flat for me. Jill's growth is the highlight of the book overall; as part of the Players at the start of the novel, she is one of the popular girls, going along with what they want, essentially torturing the kids they choose to replace them in order to deem them worthy. Her realizations that other parts of life are more important are refreshing.

However, those realizations took center stage, when really, what I was in this for was the murder mystery. I wanted some out of left field epiphany, and that is decidedly not what I got. The author had me wondering for about 1/5 of the book, and then my two suspects were focused on, and the ultimate conclusion was exactly what I expected.


The characters here just weren't interesting enough for me to care about them past their role in the mystery. I didn't really care about any of them, so I wasn't invested in the story as a whole. I skimmed the last fifty pages just to get it done.

Definitely not the best YA mystery out there. It's passable, if you can go along for the ride and not think about things too much. If you like Pretty Little Liars, I could see this being up your alley, but I need more surprises and twists to really get into this genre.

Dec 03, 2020

Highly recommend! Could not put this book down. The characters, storyline, and drama sucks you in from page one until the last sentence. Could definitely see this becoming a movie or TV series.

Oct 17, 2020

I had to force myself to finish it. I found Jill somewhat annoying. Was not impressed by the ending. I didn’t think it lived up to any hype.

Note: this comment contains spoilers for "They Wish They Were Us".
I found myself enjoying this book yet I was left slightly underwhelmed at the "plot twist" ending.
I enjoyed the concept of this book as a whole and felt that the trauma of loosing a friend wasn't downplayed and still affected the main character, Jill, along with her friends, even though the book was set three years after the death of her best friend. I found the idea of the "Players" very intriguing and appreciated the setting of the story and the descriptions of how the school itself was run. The writing style flowed very nicely, introducing ideas and memories not in a large information dump, which tends to happen in a lot of books, but over time in the story, while it was relevent and came up naturally. I found the biggest disappointment of the book to be the ending. In the end, Jill's friend Adam turns out to be the true killer of Jill's best friend, yet it was far too out of nowhere. Throughout the book Adam is specifically set up to be a very caring and sweet guy, someone who Jill can depend on and is very easy to love. Through the introduction of his anger issues and obsession near the end of the book we can understand he killed Shalia in anger, but it would be much more belivable if we saw examples of that through flashbacks, in Adam possibly getting mad at Jill for saying something stupid, or yelling at his little brother, etc. While a character being too perfect in a book series is usally a sign of warning, it is definetly not enough for a reader to think of said character suddenly as a villan, or a wrongdoer- Adam's involvment simply came from nowhere. Not to mention, the author set up Jake as a perfect suspect, as we him forcing himself on Jill in one of the flashbacks she has and is proven to not be the greatest guy throughout the book.
Another large issue I had was the "plot twist" of Shalia cheating on her boyfriend. Just like the sintuation with Adam, this felt extremly out of character for her, as she was set up in the book as being very loving and loyal. I felt like her cheating on Graham was very unexpected and did not fit with her overall apperance in the book, and only was placed in the book to serve as a plot device.
Lastly comes the involvement of one of the teachers at the setting school, Gold Coast, Logan Beaumont. He is the first suspect, besides Graham, towards Shalia's murder. Yet this plot device makes little to no sense. How, through Shaila's letters, Jill and Rachel got the idea that it was specifically Beaumont is very unclear. Not to mention, Jill brings it up as pure speculation, and yet, in the very next chapters, it's stated as nearly proven fact that it HAD to have been Beaumont, and no one else could be up for suspicion.
Overall I felt that while the writing style was good and some of the concepts throughout the books were very unique and interesting, the overall plot was very thrown together near the end, and the characters weren't impressionable enough for me to care about them. I feel like the author herself wasn't aware of how she wanted it to end and didn't have a murder suspect herself, so she decided to just make it the most "surprising" reveal possible. The characters felt very one-sided and just existed for a plot device. Robert's only trait is being an asshole. Henry is sweet, Jill is smart, and Marla likes to play hockey. The most developed character, in my eyes, was Shalia, which is not a good thing, considering not only that she was dead when the book takes place but also the previously mentioned shift in character for her when she cheated on Graham for Adam. In the end, I didn't regret reading this book, but I feel like it lacked plot and developement, and is not something I would recommend or be tempted to read again.


Add a Quote

"We were wrong," she says. Her red-rimmed eyes are wet, threatening to spill over. Her mouth crumpled. "To go along with everything. To let it happen."
"Why do we do it?" I say.
"It’s easy to convince yourself of something if you just pretend it’s the truth.'

"We were wrong," she says. Her red-rimmed eyes are wet, threatening to spill over. Her mouth crumpled. "To go along with everything. To let it happen."
"Why do we do it?" I say.
"It’s easy to convince yourself of something if you just pretend it’s the truth."

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top