Review: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

Missing ClarissaMissing Clarissa by Ripley Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

In August of 1999, in the small town of Oreville, Washington, local It-Girl, Clarissa Campbell went missing from a party in the woods. She was never seen again.

Clarissa’s disappearance and the mystery surrounding it made national headlines. It was exactly the type of story the public desires; a beautiful white girl, popular and beloved by all, vanishing without a trace.

Decades later, best friends and Oreville High School students, Cam and Blair, decide to take on Clarissa’s case for their journalism class; creating their own podcast to document their investigation.

They know it’s ambitious, but their goal is to solve the case, to finally see justice for Clarissa. With minor oversight from their Journalism teacher, Mr. Park, the girls set out in their investigation and start to post their podcast. Before they know it, they have a serious following.

Will they actually be able to solve this?

Missing Clarissa is a solid and compelling YA Mystery. It was easy for me to get drawn into this story. I liked both Cam and Blair from the start and thought their relationship was believable. I really enjoyed their dynamic and how their personalities played off one another.

Cam is the one who is much more driven and focused in regards to this project initially, but Blair brings a lot to the table. Blair is great at reading people and getting them to talk to her, whereas Cam is a little more blunt in her interpersonal communications.

As the Reader, you get to learn about Clarissa and her story at the same time the girls are and I appreciated that. I feel like many authors would have included a past perspective, perhaps Clarissa’s, to tell this story.

In my opinion. the way Jones laid this out worked really well in this case. Because you just had the modern perspective, it felt like you were actually part of the investigation with Cam and Blair. While I think I would have enjoyed the story either way, I liked how straight-forward this was.

It was refreshing.

There were times that I grew worried about our mains. I grew connected to them and was worried they were going to get hurt. Especially Blair, because her character image sort of came to mirror Clarissa’s.

They left no stone unturned in their investigation, interviewing friends, family, teachers, even police who were around Oreville in 1999 and may remember something of import. The podcast took off.

I will say, in the second-half, there was a side character who started to be included more; a love interest of Cam’s. I couldn’t stand that person and after they became involved, it annoyed me and became a distraction.

It changed the dynamic of Cam and Blair working together. I don’t know, that just kind of threw me a bit.

Luckily, it did come back around in the end, so while there were a few narrative choices in here that drove me batty, I still think overall this is a fun, compelling story.

I’m not over the fictional true crime podcasts yet…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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