Preview Copy – “The List of Suspicious Things” by Jennie Godfrey is a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Yorkshire, UK. The story revolves around a 12-year-old girl named Miv, who lives in a community where women are afraid of the serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper. As the Ripper’s attacks grow more frequent, Miv’s family talks about moving down south. When the police urge civilians to note anything suspicious and look closer at their neighbours, Miv begins her investigation. The story is about family, friendship, and community, and how sometimes the most vital connections are found in the most unlikely of places.
The author’s attention to detail brings the era to life, and her writing style is both funny and poignant. The story is told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl named Miv, who is navigating the complexities of family, friendship, and a nervous and worried community. Miv’s investigation into suspicious things in her neighbourhood is a clever plot device that reveals the complexity of the adult world around her.
There are several memorable characters in this novel. Miv’s best friend Sharon is a central character in the story, as the two girls set out on a quest to catch the Yorkshire Ripper. The contrast between the two girls is a useful device – Miv is introverted, insatiably curious, shy and feels that no one notices her! Whereas Sharon is pretty, popular and extroverted! Other memorable characters include Ishtiaq and his father, who experience racism in their community, It is a vivid reminder of how extreme the racism and violence were in the 70s. In addition, Miv is trying to cope with her own family struggles. The author expertly captures the concerns of a young mind, and the characters are vividly drawn.
The book deals with tragedy and grave topics, but it is also a touching and heartwarming story about growing up, family, and community. The final conclusion is memorable, heartfelt, and marvellous. Overall, “The List of Suspicious Things” is a beautifully written and engaging novel that will leave readers feeling uplifted and inspired.
Preview Copy from Netgalley – Publication Date:15 Feb 2024