Described by the publisher as Sex Education meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, this YA novel for readers 14+ is a fun, feminist murder mystery by author (and ex-stand-up comedian) Kate Weston. Murder on a School Night is Weston’s third YA novel, following her other feminist-themed titles—Diary of a Confused Feminist and Must Do Better.
Murder on a School Night begins with a familiar trope of high school girls trying to climb the social hierarchy to be part of the popular group. While introverted Kerry is quite content as she is, her brash, best friend Annie strives for them to be more popular. Annie, a slightly obsessive amateur detective, finds the perfect way to befriend Heather, the school’s most popular person, by roping Kerry into going to their first sixth-form party to investigate who’s cyber bullying Heather.
Everyone from school is at the party, even Kerry’s crush, the new hot guy, Scott. But just as Kerry’s about to get her first kiss with Scott, they discover the body of one of Heather’s close friends, suffocated by a menstrual cup. With incompetent and sexist police investigators, within days another body is found and then another—all with a sanitary product calling card. Kerry and Annie are now officially on the case to catch the menstrual murderer.
This is certainly an unusual murder mystery, but one that will keep you guessing until the end. Boldly feminist with hilarious dialogue between Kerry and Annie, there are many ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments in the novel. At times the feminist angle seems overdone to the point that it feels repetitive, losing its power and impact.
There are references to sexual activity and references to female body parts, but overall, Murder on a School Night has humour, romance, mystery and intrigue, making for an engaging, lighthearted read.