June 03, 2021

Book Review: 'The Guest List' by Lucy Foley (and June book pick)

As you know, I'm doing a year-long Friends-themed read-athon. Each month, there is a book prompt based on a character and/or quote from the old Friends TV show. Participants choose a book to read each month based on the prompt.

The prompt for May was: "The One with the Proposal" - Read a book about a wedding.

I didn't even know where to start looking for a book about a wedding--a book that would interest ME, anyway. Luckily (or not), Amazon was right on top of that--and one of the recommended reads for me was 'The Guest List' by Lucy Foley (Amazon affiliate link). It was a psychological thriller--a genre that I love--about a murder at a wedding. It had over 40,000 reviews and was Editors Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense. Perfect!

Unfortunately, because it was so popular, there was a long waiting list for it at my library. (I borrow the Kindle versions of books from the library; I don't like to buy books because I rarely read them twice. I rarely have to wait for books, unless they are very popular.) Nevertheless, I added my name to the waitlist and hoped I'd get it in time. Well, I was still 26th in the queue (of 5 copies) at the beginning of May, so I had to bite the bullet and buy the book. I hoped it would be worth it!

I won't post spoilers here in case you'd like to read it, but I will say that I was totally disappointed to have wasted my money on this book. Usually, I do a book giveaway when I love the book, but I struggled to finish this one, so no giveaway this month.

I hesitate to call this a review, because I'm not going to get into all the details... but here is a short list of my notables about it:


- It's written from multiple characters' points-of-view (I love books like that) as well as jumping around in time. (However, the title of each chapter tells you who is narrating and when it's happening, so it wasn't confusing to me.)
- It's a murder mystery, but you don't learn who was murdered (or who did it) until the last 20% of the book. That made it somewhat unique.
- Ummm...


- It took FOREVER to get to the point where any sort of action happens. This made it very hard for me to want to pick it up.
- It was predictable. However, I've always been good at picking up clues, even the ones that seem like nothing. So maybe it wouldn't be predictable to others.
- I found the description of the celebration to be obnoxious--SO MUCH DRINKING. I've been to a lot of weddings, but I have never seen anything like what was described of the wedding in this book. I found that it actually took away from the main points of the story--it felt like a filler.
- The story was far-fetched and cliché, in my opinion. Kind of like a bad teen horror film (and I actually like bad teen horror films, so that was probably a bad analogy!).

Without giving spoilers, that's about as much as I can say. I don't usually like to criticize things ("if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all") but since this is my opinion for a book review, I'm just being honest. This has a lot of good reviews on Amazon, though, so my opinion is definitely in the minority.

For June, the 'Friends' Read-athon prompt is:

Rachel: "I wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle!" Read a book about a mistake or misunderstanding.

First, I LOVED that episode of Friends. And Rachel's misunderstanding with the trifle was hilarious-- I actually bought pajamas stating all the layers of Rachel's special dessert ;)

It's kind of hard to choose a book like this without reading spoilers--so I basically just had to base it off of the title or description of the book. For months, the library keeps prompting me to check out a book that I'd requested, but I've been clicking "notify me in two weeks" over and over--I've been reading other books, so I was putting it off. (It goes to the next person on the waiting list, and then the library asks me again if I'd like to check it out when it's next available... so I wasn't holding up the queue!)

It's called 'One of Us is Lying' by Karen M. McManus (Amazon affiliate link). Here is the publisher's description:
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

It's a young adult book, described as "Pretty Little Liars" meets "The Breakfast Club". Sounded interesting, and the title/description seemed like it fit the book theme for this month. I'll write about it when I'm done--hopefully it will be better than 'The Guest List'!


  1. The entire "One of Us" series is great, but this first one was the best! I hope you love it--YA is one of my favorite types, and this one hits some very scary "that could totally happen" points! Can't wait to hear what you think!

  2. Ok I am OBSESSED with that shirt!! Omg I need that! I have The Guest List on my to-read list as well. I didn't get to it yet but I'll still give it a go! This next book you're reading sounds super interesting though! I'm excited to hear your review!

  3. My daughter read this book and really liked it!!

    I buy books from a website called thriftbooks.com . I too hate spending $15+ on a book because I will never read them again. Thriftbooks.com sells gently used books - sometimes you can get them for as little as $3!

  4. I had the EXACT same reaction to “The Guest List”!

  5. OMG, I loathed this book lol - talk about far-fetched and a million coincidences. It was just absurd.

  6. A friend recommended the book, saying it was 'soo good!', but like you I felt like it took forever to get to the story and it was just too predictable. I just finished One of Us is Lying and while it was better then Guest List, I think you'll figure it out pretty fast. But it is well written and like someone else said the story draws you in.

  7. I liked the Guest List, but I also like mindless books where I don't have to do a lot of thinking. Thrillers are good too, which may be why I liked this one. :-)


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