As the next autumnal/winter book I decided to go for “The Magpie Society – One for Sorrow” by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch. I have been following Zoe for years now, which made me probably more excited about the book then normally. It came out on the 29th of October this year. This is the first book of a book series in which the next one is coming 2021.
About the book:
Lola was found dead on the beach with a tattoo of a magpie on her back. She was a student of Illumen Hall, a strictly ruled boarding school in the UK. To Audrey -the new student of Illumen Hall- the school and their students seem strange and mysterious. She shares a room with Ivy, an overorganized and motivated girl, who is not interested in any new friends distracting her from her academic goals. Then summers tragic incident is wrenched to the fore when a mysterious podcast with the title „I know who killed Lola. And one of you is next.“ turns up. Students and teachers are shocked as this podcast is depressing a lot of people and raising a lot of questions about how Lola really died. As Ivy asked to find out who the producer of the podcast is by headmistress Mrs. Abott, more and more episodes and secrets are revealed. Suddenly Audrey gets involved to the whole investigation thing and tries to slap through. Deaths, dramas and accusations are probably the last thing she wanted to experience in her new school, as a really sad tragedy happened back at home in the US. As the podcast reveals about a secret society in the school, somehow Ivy and Audrey start investigating together about that secret the school hides from everyone.
The most impotent aspects (spoiler!):
So halfway through the book the identity of the person who produces the podcast is revealed. I don’t think that this was too predictable, as I think there are a few students who could have done it. The plot is mostly about WHO killed Lola and who or what is that magpie society? Has it something to do with Lolas death? The podcast episodes do reveal some information and also Ivy and Audrey are investigating. There were quite a lot of aspects to investigate: the stuff about the secret society, a supposed murderer, signs of a suicide, Lolas family and all that along to some girl drama. I found it quite irritating, because in the end there is no answer on all of those questions.
There were also some aspects that I just couldn’t attach to each other – like the girl in the very old yearbook who looked like Lola or the old woman on the market telling about the magpie society. I think it was hard to stick to the central theme. But this could also be exactly, what the book is about – trying to put all those pieces of information together and solve the secret.
What I liked about the book:
I really loved the writing style! The book is written in Ivy’s and Audrey’s point of view alternately. I think this added well to their very different personalities and also to the storyline of so many things happening and trying to figure out what really happened.
Also the two main characters Ivy and Audrey were lovely. They both had their story and were very accessible. Especially because this book is written by two authors, this style seemed to be perfect and merged seamlessly. I liked that they became friends during the story and really complement each other.
The setting of Illumen Hall, a very big old school with hidden grounds and half broken buildings, also added to gripping story. It kinda felt like I was exploring Hogwarts 😀
What I didn’t like about the book:
So as I touched on earlier, I had some problems with following the plot line. I was quite disappointed and also shocked at the end, because the main questions “Who killed Lola?” and “What/who is the magpie society?” had been left unanswered.
I also think that (besides Ivy and Audrey) the other characters were very ordinary and the authors didn’t go deep there. Especially Lolas character remained undiscovered – but that could obviously be part of the story.
MY RATING 3,5/5 ⭐️
Overall I really liked the book! All those single secrets that should come together and reveal the truth of Lolas death and the school are a great main story (although a bit overwhelming at some points.) The characters interacted and complemented each other well. The book also addresses very important subjects like suicide, bullying and death at once. This could be maybe a bit too much for some younger people, as this book is Young Adult genre. But also in this aspect – the book is written easy and comprehensible, which is good.
I wished they gave us some answers in the end (besides who produced the podcast), but this is very obviously a great cliffhanger for the second book! The first book seems to give as an overview without revealing too much. As there is going to be a second book, I am very excited for this and hoping to find some answers to the unanswered questions. I really wanna know who killed Lola!!
Did you read the book? What did you like about it? ⬇️