So many people... stuck in their cars, stuck in their lives, just waiting for someone else to get out of their way...
~ Julie Redding

Julie Redding is a character from Sara Shepard's The Perfectionists novel and its sequel, The Good Girls. She is one of the suspects for Nolan Hotchkiss's murder, and in the end of the book, is revealed to be the main antagonist of the series, as she is indeed the person who killed Nolan.

Biography

Julie is a student at Beacon Height's High School, and is said to be one of the school's popular girls. She attends a massive party thrown by fellow popular student Nolan Hotchkiss, and is accompanied by her friends Ava Jalali, Caitlin Martell-Lewis, and Mackenzie Wright, along with her best friend, Parker Duvall. It is revealed that all five of them secretly despise Nolan. The five of them jokingly imagine what would be the best way to murder Nolan, before finally settling on poisoning him. They arbitrarily make a list of people that they "wouldn't mind dead."

The group plans prank Nolan by drugging him, writing humiliating things on his face with a marker, and posting pictures of it online. Ironically, Parker is drugged by Nolan, and when she realizes this, she asks to spend the night at Julie's, not wanting to go home to her abusive father. Julie, who was equally scared of Parker's father, drove her home, not wanting retaliation from him. Enraged, Parker's father fatally beat Parker that night and was arrested for murder, causing Julie to become wracked with guilt.

Shortly after, Nolan is killed via cyanide poisoning (later revealed as the work of Julie), the same way the girls had imagined it. The girls are led to believe that their cool, handsome, but predatory teacher Mr. Lucas Granger was the murderer. It is revealed that he was seducing his female students and padded grades in exchange for sexual favors- a fact that Nolan was blackmailing him with. The girls go to his home and Ava agrees to distract him while the others go through his belongings for proof of his guilt. Ava gets into an argument with her boyfriend Alex when he sees her leave his house, believing the two are having an affair.

Julie murders Granger when the others aren't looking, and the girls become suspects, as Ava was the last person seen with Granger before he died. The girls continue uncovering incriminating evidence against various students who had dramas with Nolan and Lucas, in a desperate attempt to prove their innocence. Julie has a confrontation with Ava's abusive step-mother Leslie, that ends with Julie throwing Leslie from a balcony- not too dissimilarly to the way Ava had imagined killing Leslie.

Julie is later confronted by schoolmate Ashley Ferguson, who hates Julie for dating Carson Wells, a boy who Ashley had a crush on. Ashley is revealed to have humiliated and harassed Julie numerous times throughout junior high. Ashley attempts to blackmail Julie, threatening to reveal her eating disorder, and her mother's unruly hoarding habits, but gets murdered by a wrathful Julie. Caitlin states that Julie has stopped coming to school, and won't answer any calls or texts. After Julie's friend Nyssa tells Mackenzie that Ashley has been reported missing, Ava notes that Nolan, Lucas, Leslie, and Ashley were all on the "wouldn't mind dead" list, and the girls realize that the killer is going down their hit-list, attacking in the ways they had imagined, incriminating them further. They deduce that the killer is someone who was at Nolan's party and was close enough to hear their list.

Ava's father finds an earring on the balcony where Leslie was attacked, and recognizes that it belongs to Julie, implying that she is the killer. Caitlin also implicates Julie in Nolan's death, saying that she saw a container of potassium cyanide in Julie's backyard, but didn't think anything of it at the time. Ava, Caitlin, and Mackenzie track Julie down to a party, and question her regarding her whereabouts for each of the murders. Julie states that she was with Parker, much to everyone's confusion, as they remind her that Parker died nearly a year ago when her father killed her, finally revealing to the reader that Julie is the killer.

It is then revealed that Julie's guilt for forcing Parker to go home that night instead of letting her sleep over dissolved Julie's mental state, and that she has been imagining that Parker is still alive. In Julie's mind, "Parker" had murdered Lucas, witnessed the confrontation with Leslie and assisted Julie in killing Ashley. Suddenly someone screams that the police are at the party, causing everyone to run in different directions, separating Julie from the group amid the chaos.

Having lost her, Ava and Caitlin quickly go to the police to report Julie for the murders before she kills again. While Mackenzie realizes that she put her friend Claire's name on the "wouldn't mind dead" list, saying she wished for her to die in a hit-and-run accident after the two had a falling out; Claire is the only person on the list who hasn't been killed. Despite still being upset, Mackenzie goes to save Claire and finds Julie preparing to hit Claire with her car. Seeing Mackenzie, Julie leaves Claire alive, and Mackenzie goes up to Claire's house and is invited inside for cookies by her mother, and Mackenzie apparently makes up with Claire.

Julie is arrested shortly after and is sent to a mental hospital for evaluation. In the book's epilogue, Julie disguises herself as a doctor named Elizabeth Fielder and escapes the hospital, fleeing to a different city. She checks into a motel under her fake name and eats Chinese food with a hallucination of Parker, leaving her fate unknown.

Trivia

  • Although Julie Redding's character does not appear in the television series adaptation of The Perfectionists, her murder of Nolan Hotchkiss still inspires the plot.
  • While Julie's status on the lam leaves the possibility for a third book to serve as a sequel, Sara Shepard states that she likes the idea of a two-part series, indicating that a third book that elaborates on Julie's fate is unlikely.
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