Review: The Prized Girl by Amy K. Green

Title: The Prized Girl by Amy K. Green
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 383 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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 pageant queen named Jenny is found murdered, her small town grieves the loss alongside her picture-perfect parents. At first glance, Jenny’s tragic death appears clear-cut for investigators. The most obvious suspect is one of her fans, an older man who may have gotten too close for comfort. But Jenny’s half-sister, Virginia—the sarcastic black sheep of the family—isn’t so sure of his guilt and takes matters into her own hands to find the killer.

But for Jenny’s case and Virginia’s investigation, there’s more to the story. Virginia, still living in town and haunted by her own troubled teenage years, suspects that a similar darkness lay beneath the sparkling veneer of Jenny’s life. Alternating between Jenny’s final days and Virginia’s determined search for the truth, the sisters’ dual narratives follow a harrowing trail of suspects, with surprising turns that race toward a shocking finale.

Infused with dark humor and driven by two captivating young women, The Prized Girl tells a heartbreaking story of missed connections, a complicated family, and a town’s disturbing secrets.


The Prized Girl by Amy K. Green is a suspense-laden mystery about a murdered teenager.

When her thirteen year old half-sister Jenny is murdered, twenty-six year Virginia Kennedy is not as devastated as she should be. They have never been close, but Virginia cannot help but wonder why she did not work harder on their relationship. So when Detective Brandon Colsen zeros in on Benjy Lincoln as the main suspect in Jenny’s murder, Virginia decides to do right by her sister. Certain that Benjy is not the killer, Virginia begins investigating Jenny’s life in the weeks leading up her murder.

Virginia is barely tolerated by her father, Calvin and her stepmother, Linda. Their relationship is never close after her mother’s suicide and Linda is too busy taking Jenny from one beauty pageant to another to bother with her stepdaughter. Virginia is an underachiever who spends most of her time in her apartment and goes from one low paying job to another. One day a week she allows her demons to take hold but she never fails to show for the weekly dinner with her estranged family.

The summer before her murder, Jenny infuriated Linda by refusing to enter anymore beauty pageants. After a tumultuous summer, she is beginning high school and her once close friendship with Mallory Murphy is tenuous. On the outs with her circle of friends, Jenny’s parents force her to see school counselor Hunter Willoughby. Jenny’s friendship with new student JP is the only bright spot in her life as her relationship with her mother rapidly deteriorates.

With the chapters alternating between past and present, the truth about Jenny’s murder and Virginia’s past is gradually revealed. Jenny’s chapters are heartbreaking as they reveal her increasingly desperate attempts to gain control of her life. Virigina’s chapters are no less heartrending as she tries to make peace with her broken past.  Harboring many regrets, Virginia is determined to finally do right by her younger sister, but is she making any better choices in the present than she did in the past?

The Prized Girl is a mesmerizing mystery about a dysfunctional family and Jenny’s tragic murder. The dual timeline keep the pages turning at a blistering pace as this clever mystery hurtles to a shocking dénouement.  Amy K. Green brings this clever debut to an unsettling conclusion that will leave readers questioning whether or not justice has truly been served. An engrossing mystery that I found impossible to put down and highly recommend to fans of the genre.

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