Kid’s Book Review: Win Lose Kill Die

Kid’s Book Review: Win Lose Kill Die

About the Book and Author

For readers who enjoy thrilling stories here is spine-chilling page-turning new YA novel from Cynthia Murphy.

Another year has begun at a girls’ school called Morton Academy. Liz is back from a summer full of hospital visits after a tragic last few days of school when head girl (Morgan) drowned in the school lake, and Liz sustained a nasty head injury. But this year at school has begun no better because another head girl has died. With this first death comes a great mystery. Liz and her friends try to discover everything they can in the hope of saving save Morton’s head girls from brutal deaths. They all guess that the culprit is hidden inside Morton itself, but they don’t realise how close they actually are…


Win Lose Kill Die
Cynthia Murphy author

Cynthia Murphy has always enjoyed writing and she has also had a long-standing love affair with all things scary, reading Point Horrors at primary school before graduating to Stephen King in her misguided teens! Studying for a degree in Art History and Archaeology meant that she developed a thirst for anything old, beautiful and very often dead. She tries to combine this with contemporary settings in her writing to make unique and chilling modern stories such as this one and also Last One To Die also published by Scholastic.

Book Review

the twists and turns prevented me from wanting to put the book down

My first impressions of the book was that it was quite creepy and scary, but if fear is not your thing don’t let this put you off because, as the story progresses, there are intervals in the book that aren’t as creepy.

One thing I really liked about the book was the element of surprise. There are a lot of unexpected plot twists and I did not anticipate the ending. All of these twists and turns prevented me from wanting to put the book down. I just kept on reading so that I could find out what happened next.

Another aspect I really liked about the book was the way in which it kept switching between the two characters who were narrating the story. This made the book more intriguing because it made me wonder even more about the people who did the things in the book (trying not to give too much away here!) because I knew how they felt about it and how they had done it. It also made me wonder what they would do next and why they would do it because I was able to get into the mind of the characters.

I would recommend this captivating read to anyone over the age of twelve, unless they easily get nightmares, but other than that, I think this book really is suitable for anyone. I would especially recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries or any page-turning book because it is truly thrilling.

Isabelle had the opportunity to ask the author some questions and here is their conversation:

Q & A with Cynthia Murphy

1. When you’re writing your books, can you predict if they are going to be the ones that sell well or not?

As the writer, I genuinely have no idea! I hope so for each one, but it’s so out of my control – it all depends on which shops want to stock it and if it gains popularity online. I’m currently dreaming of one of my books becoming TikTok famous…

2. Why do you choose to write for young readers rather than adults?

I fell in love with reading as a child and spent most of my childhood, teen years and early twenties with my nose in a book. There wasn’t too much YA around when I was a teenager, but the ones that I read really stuck with me. I can tap into that part of my life easily and remember it all so well – the hope, the trauma, the friendship, the crushes…all of that good stuff. I remember escaping into books and exploring new worlds from the comfort of my sofa and have always wanted to create that for someone else.

3. What inspired you to write this book?

A mixture of working in schools, exploring power dynamics in friendships and my love of a claustrophobic setting. I wanted to write something that made you fall in love with the characters and then devastate you when something bad happened…

4. Why did you decide to write the kind of genre that you do?

I love reading it and always have, so it felt like the natural home for me. I have quite a dark sense of humour and deal with a lot of my anxiety by escaping in scary books, movies and podcasts – I think in a strange way it soothes me that my life is not *that* bad in comparison to the poor characters. I also love the tension that these stories can create and the thrilling, break-neck pace of it all. I’m a sofa-dwelling adrenaline junkie.

5. How do you come up with your plot and characters, do they develop over time or do you plan exactly what is going to happen and all about the characters before you start writing?

I always start with a loose plot – as in, I know the beginning, end and some major points in between. Some characters are fully formed before I start to write – Liz in Win Lose Kill Die has lived in my head since 2015 – but others develop over the process of writing and often surprise me. Kat was actually a later addition to the gang but has become one of my favourite  characters of all time – she was so much fun to write and kind of did whatever she wanted!

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Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Isabelle
  • Age: 12 years
  • Likes: football, art and writing
  • Dislikes: mushroom and Star Wars
  • Favourite Book: Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke
  • Favourite Song: Blank Space by Taylor Swift
  • Favourite Film: Legally Blonde