Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Where Sleeping Girls Lie – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Mystery, revenge, secrets, lies, who-done-it.
YA book title: Where Sleeping Girls Lie.
YA authors: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.
Genre: Crime.
Published by: Usborne Books
ISBN: 9781474967549.
Recommended for children aged: 14+.
First published: Paperback March 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS4 crime fans.

Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

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Our review:

Sade Hussein has always been desperate to attend a ‘normal’ school. But as the only child of a strict multi-millionaire father, home tutoring was all that was permitted. When her father’s sudden death leaves Sade, now sixteen, the inheritor of his estate, she is granted a place at the prestigious Alfred Nobel Academy.

At first, her new boarding school is everything Sade imagined. Sweeping lawns, gorgeous castle-like buildings, strict teachers and welcoming classmates. But on her first night, Sade’s roommate Elizabeth goes missing.

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It’s a bad start to Sade’s school career, especially when rumours start to circulate that Sade had something to do with Elizabeth’s disappearance. Sade soon discovers that there’s something very rotten hidden beneath the glossy facade of the Alfred Nobel Academy. But it’s hard to prove your innocence when you’re hiding some very big – and deadly – secrets of your own …

“Wealth came with an abundance of secrets … Buried six feet under.”

Where Sleeping Girls Lie is a deeply engrossing tale for older readers. Author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s first novel Ace of Spades was written while she was still at university and quickly became an international bestseller. She is also the author of one of this year’s World Book Day titles, The Doomsday Date, which is likely to do a lot to increase her already considerable fan base.

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Faridah commented that Where Sleeping Girls Lie was written:

“To young girls who feel so much anger, and need desperately for someone or something to tell them their rage is important, and that the capacity to heal from deep wounds is not at all impossible.”

The book deals with some very heavy themes, including sexual assault, rape, suicide and parental death. Care should therefore be taken when recommending the book to younger readers. Sources of support are listed at the back of the book.

There is a Pretty Little Liars and Get Even vibe to the cliquey Alfred Nobel Academy. The usual boarding school tropes of being sorted into a house, strict uniform policies and secret parties, hide a deeper level of danger and dysfunction – among both the pupils and staff.

Sade is a strong Black female protagonist, fiercely independent and determined to move on from a troubled past. It’s hard to categorize the book, as there are elements of suspense, mystery, crime and LGBTQ+ romance. Although Where Sleeping Girls Lie is a dark and heavy book, full of angst and trauma, it is ultimately a story of strength and survival.

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Where Sleeping Girls Lie is an intricately plotted tale of loyalty and the quest for justice. It will appeal to older readers who enjoyed This Book Kills and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

Many thanks to Usborne Books for the review copy.

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If you like Where Sleeping Girls Lie by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé you might also like: our reviews of Thieves’ Gambit by Kayvion Lewis, Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher, Secret Sister by Sophie McKenzie, The Isles of the Gods by Amie Kaufman and This Book Kills by Ravena Guron.

Browse our Year 11 reading list

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon