Review of ‘The Counselors’

Set in an idyllic summer camp, The Counselors puts together the pieces of a boy’s mysterious murder and how it connects to Goldie and her camp.


The Counselor

The Counselor
Jessica Goodman

Goodman did an excellent job with the pacing of the novel. But, above everything else, the pacing is what steals the show. Goldie’s story begins before the summer, except we’re only given bits and pieces of it over the course of the novel.

I loved the flow of the story and how the pacing worked to build up that tension. The past is non-linear, which works well for the story because we do not remember the past linearly when we think about it. That aspect of the story, the way it goes from one event to another, gives the story a sense of realism that draws the reader to the mystery. It asks the question: what does this one event have to do with the other?

Goodman worked hard to build up the mystery that ties the relationship together. There is a complicated puzzle going on here and a ton of misdirection. Everything in the story is interconnected, from Goldie to her friends, her friends with the boy she loved, the camp she loves, and the town she grew up in.

The steady way the story unfolds, and the pacing captures that tension pulls the reader in. We’re trying to solve this puzzle with her. And with the multiple red herrings in the story, it is impossible to see where the story is going, keeping the reader guessing until the end.

Strong Character Dynamics

What I also loved was the solid female friendship portrayed in The Counselors. Imogen, Ava, and Goldie are best friends from different sides of the trek. Goldie is often considered a “townie” but not by anyone in her camp; the people in the town remind her she is not one of those rich kids.

Ava and Imogen may be the “rich kids,” but they also have their problems, and they never make Goldie feel inadequate. They act spoiled for sure from time to time and are not always self-aware, as Goldie points out, but they never forget their friendship bonds. These are girls who live with their hearts and ego, and while it showcases the privilege these characters have, it does not take away from their goodness.

It is empowering to see girls form strong friendships, to see that even though they have their secrets, they do not let those secrets come between them; they do not let boys or other nonsense come between them. Sure, they forget from time to time, too ashamed to let their closest friends see the things that have hurt them. But that makes them human and more relatable to the reader and solidifies this idea that women should stand by one another, not shame one another.

Final Thoughts

Overall, The Counselors is a good thriller. It keeps the reader on edge with good use of misdirection and focuses on developing strong character dynamics.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: May 31, 2022Page Count: 352ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-0-5935-2422-0Publisher: RazorbillList Price: $17.99

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The Counselors


Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth





  • Good representation of female relationships.
  • Discusses the detriments of separating social classes.
  • Good pacing.
  • Good use of misdirection.

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