book reviews

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson


Published: September 20th, 2018
Publisher: Headline
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Physical and sexual abuse, self harm

I read this book as part of a readalong with The Tandem Collective. Thank you to Headline for the gifted copy of the book.


‘All the stuff in the papers was lies.
We were never The Ice Cream Girls’

Serena and Poppy were teenagers when they were branded as the Ice Cream Girls.

When they were accused of murder, one of them was sent to prison while the other was set free.

Now, 20 years later, one of them is doing all she can to clear her name and the other is frantically trying to keep her secrets.

Which Ice Cream Girl is desperate enough to kill to get what she wants?


“I stop in my tracks as ice-cold fingers with razorblade fingernails scratch at my heart, lungs, stomach. This is what it feels like when the past crops up unawares, when it will not stay dead and buried as it should be.”

As teenagers Serena and Poppy, known as The Ice Cream Girls, were accused of murder. While both protested their innocence only one was found guilty while the other went free. 

Now, 20 years later, Poppy is out of jail and determined to clear her name while Serena is frantically trying to keep her past a secret. But which Ice Cream Girl is desperate enough to kill to get what she wants?

I read this book as part of a readalong with Tandem Collective and was instantly hooked. Although I own a number of books by Dorothy Koomson, it was my first time reading one and I am now kicking myself for waiting so long. Her descriptive and evocative writing pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go until the last page. Atmospheric, twisty and riveting, I couldn’t put it down and sped through it quickly instead of reading over the course of five days.

In this novel the author tackles unsettling subjects such as domestic violence and abusive and inappropriate relationships. She explores how people are drawn into these relationships, their reasons for staying, the danger of leaving and the lasting effect they can have on your mental health in an honest but sensitive way. As someone who was in an abusive relationship I could see aspects of my past in this book and in both Poppy and Serena.

The Ice Cream Girls is a dark, addictive and thought-provoking page-turner that will keep you guessing right until the breathtaking finale. The sequel,  All My Lies Are True, is out in July and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the story next. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫



Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 novels and has been making up stories since she was 13 when she used to share her stories with her convent school friends. Her published titles include: Tell Me Your Secret, The Brighton Mermaid, The Friend, When I Was Invisible, That Girl From Nowhere, The Flavours of Love, The Woman He Loved Before, Goodnight, Beautiful and The Chocolate Run.

Dorothy’s first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published in 2003 (when she was quite a bit older than 13). Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006 and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. While her fourth novel, Marshmallows For Breakfast, has sold in excess of 250,000 copies. Dorothy’s books, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the popular fiction category of the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively.

Dorothy’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton.

In 2019 Dorothy was awarded the Image Award by The Black British Business Awards to celebrate and honour her achievements.



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