Where Sleeping Girls Lie | Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


Coming March 19, 2024 from Macmillan Publishing Group; 416 pages

Content Warning: Sexual assault, suicide, grief, death of family members

About the Author: “Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is the instant New York Times, international bestselling, & award-winning author of Ace of Spades. She is an avid tea drinker, a collector of strange mugs, and a graduate from a university in the Scottish Highlands where she received a BA in English Literature. She also has an MA in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London. When she isn’t spinning dark tales, Faridah can be found examining the deeper meanings in Disney Channel original movies. She is represented by Zoë Plant at The Bent Agency” (Bio from author’s website).

Find Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé on the following platforms:

“The counselor had said that was sometimes what trauma did. It stuck and replayed memories on a loop sometimes in our minds and other times in our bodies. And it didn’t mean she was broken or weak, it just meant that she carried an experience that shapes who she was now and would learn how to live, in spite of it.”

When Sade Hussein starts at the prestigious Alfred Nobel Academy, she hopes the new environment will be enough to shake the ghosts of her past that continue to haunt her. However, when Sade’s roommate, Elizabeth, goes missing less than a week after her arrival, Sade realizes that she cannot escape her history so easily. After the disappearance, Sade is forced into the school’s limelight and finds herself drawn into the social circles of ANA’s most privileged, including a group of girls known as the “unholy trinity.” While trying to find a place for herself among this elite crew of teenagers, Sade also works with Elizabeth’s best friend, Baz, to try and solve the mystery of her disappearance. As Sade and Baz embark on this quest, shadowy secrets about the school and its occupants begin to make their way into the light.

Where Sleeping Girls Lie is a masterful combination of riveting mystery, social commentary, and complex characterizations that make it incredibly difficult to put down. Reminiscent of Mean Girls, but with a dramatic spin, a more diverse cast of characters, and set within the boundaries of an ominous boarding school, Àbíké-Íyímídé’s novel effectively used familiar genre conventions and storylines to tell a new story, one that critiques institutions of privilege and the misogyny that exists within them. This book offered great LGBTQ+, POC, and interfaith representation that existed amidst a backdrop of wealth and clear-cut social hierarchies. The characters that Àbíké-Íyímídé draws are compelling and nuanced, each with their own backstory that defines their choices throughout the novel. Sade’s strong voice drives the narrative, but elements of her history are revealed very slowly, building up suspense and intrigue around her character. However, at times, it felt like there were too many characters in the story; it seemed like a student or teacher would be a crucial component of the mystery, but then they would not be mentioned for another thirty pages. Because of this, there were moments where the connection between characters and the plot lost clarity for me. With that being said, I still appreciated the resolution of the novel. Not everything is wrapped up perfectly, and Àbíké-Íyímídé refuses to sugar coat elements of the story, making the portrayal of grief and trauma realistic rather than trying to minimize these feelings and experiences to make them palatable.

I would recommend this book to all readers who enjoy thrillers and mysteries or have ever felt drawn to books about boarding schools!

Where Sleeping Girls Lie releases on March 19th, 2024

Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing Group for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Sam Parker, Pine Reads Review Writer.