When Stella Blackthorn disappeared without a trace, her younger sister Iris, frustrated that the police didn’t seem to be doing a good job, launched her own investigation to find her. Unfortunately, the only thing she managed to do was scare off the police’s only lead, causing the case to go cold and Stella to be declared a runaway. A year later, Iris has to relieve that horror when her ex-girlfriend Heather goes missing - right after dropping an explosive episode of her true crime podcast focused on Stella’s disappearance.

Even with the detective from her sister’s case keeping an eye on her, Iris isn’t going to let anything stop her from finding Heather and redeeming herself for bumbling her sister’s case. With just thirty days before her eighteenth birthday (and much higher legal ramifications if she’s caught working the case), Iris turns to a friend-turned-enemy-turned-friend-turned-maybe-something-more and her two best friends to help solve what may turn out to be the most dangerous case of her life.

I’ll be honest - I saw the phrase “sapphic detective agency” being used to described this book and I immediately added it to my TBR. And oh boy, it did not disappoint! With this engaging debut, Wlosok secures her spot in the YA world and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Fans of Veronica Mars are going to feel all the nostalgic vibes. Our intrepid teenage detective Iris is stubborn and determined, but she also carries a hefty dose of trauma. The depictions of her anxiety and panic attacks were visceral and heart-wrenching, grounding the character and story. I spent the entire time trying to figure out where the story was going to go and never figured it out. Looking back, the hints were all there and Wlosok does a great job of giving you everything you need to solve the puzzle without spoiling the ending. 

One very minor thing that bothered me while reading this book was the repeated use of “my ex-best friend” and “my ex-girlfriend” in place of their respective names. It made sense in the early parts of the story when we were still getting to know these characters, but the continued use throughout the entire book was an interesting choice that I didn’t completely vibe with. 

That being said, I loved the diverse cast of characters. A lot of underrepresented individuals are going to find someone they can relate to in this story. And none of the characters felt like they were underdeveloped, which can be a hazard of having such a large cast. Even if we don’t get the full extent of their character on the page, it’s clear that Wlosok had a full backstory for each of them in the back of her mind while she wrote.

If you have the ability to, I also highly recommend picking this one up in audiobook. Each episode of Heather’s podcast is transcribed in the book, but the audiobook really brings them to life with theme music and different voices for each individual interviewed. It added another layer to the story that is a bit harder to translate via the written word.

HOW TO FIND A MISSING GIRL is Victoria Wlosok’s compelling and addicting debut novel and it is available now. Run, don’t walk, to grab a copy for yourself here!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."