Title: The Girl I Used To Be
Author: April Henry
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?
I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I really like books where the title alone already tells something about the story, especially when it comes to mystery reads. And that’s exactly what The Girl I Used To Be did for me.
Olivia Reinhart is an emancipated teen, but prior to that, she was little Ariel Benson, daughter of Naomi Benson and Terry Weeks. She never had a real family after her mother was murdered some 14 years ago, and it was believed that her father did it and fled. But when a new evidence resurfaced that her father was also a victim, she sets out to Medford, the town where her mother grew up, to find out what really happened to her parents.
The Girl I Used To Be was a quick and easy read in terms of the writing style. Although, there were two things to consider why it is so. First, it only has 240 pages. Second, it’s obviously a page turner, (almost every mystery/thriller book is). The chapters were kept short which I really liked, but the pacing was a bit slow. I keep turning each page waiting for something to happen but there really wasn’t much going on.
There were also some things I noticed that bothered me a little bit and it’s how Olivia easily has access to everything she needs to know. All she had to do is ask around and the people will just tell her willingly. She’s a total stranger who’s hiding her real identity for crying out loud. You don’t just answer to people when they ask you about your friends or a murder of a friend, do you? So that’s just some rant. Anyway…
The mystery in this book is ever present. I like how it didn’t take long to tell what I’m supposed to be uncovering. The book drops the bomb right at the beginning, but as the story goes on things just plateaued out. The suspense was just lacking for me, most of the story is just Olivia trying to figure things out.
Speaking of figuring things out, something I noticed about mystery books is that when it comes to the MC’s hunt for whodunit, they’re always pressing the suspicion on a particular character that is obviously some red herring. And of course, The Girl I Used To Be used that in the plot. The good thing is that it did not spoil the surprise when it comes to the actual reveal. My heart was actually beating so fast when the moment came. But I have to admit, it didn’t last long. I’m not saying I’m disappointed. The Girl I Used To Be is actually a good mystery book but it just lacked in some aspects.
The Girl I Used To Be
by April Henry
Copyright © 2016 by April Henry
SCATTER MY BONES
The only sound I can hear is my own panicked breathing. I’m running flat out through the forest. Then my toe catches a root, and suddenly I’m flying.
Until I’m not. I come down hard. With my hands cuffed in front of me, I can’t even really break my fall. Despite the plastic boot on my left leg, I’m up again in a crazy scrambling second, spitting out dirt and pine needles as I start sprinting again.
Running like my life depends on it. Because it does.
Three weeks ago, I was living in Portland. Working in a supermarket deli. Slicing turkey breast and handing out cheese samples on toothpicks.
Now I’m hurtling through the Southern Oregon woods, being chased by a killer. And no one knows I’m here.
Because of the handcuffs, I can’t pump my fists. Instead, I have to swing them in tandem. Trying to avoid another fall, I lift my knees higher as the ground rises. I can’t hear my pursuer, just my own panting breath.
If I don’t come back, will Duncan ever know what happened to me? These woods can hide things for years. Will animals scatter my bones, plants twine around my remains?
When I reach the top of the hill, I don’t slow down. Instead, I try to lengthen my stride. It’s impossible to maintain a rhythm. I leap over a log, splash through the silver thread of a creek. My mouth is so dry. It tastes of dirt and the bitterness of fear.
A Steller’s jay startles up from a branch, squawking. If only I could take wing and fly. But I’m stuck here on earth, legs churning, staggering over this uneven ground.
I can’t stop or I’ll die.
The reality is that I’m probably going to die anyway. And if that’s so, I’m going to go down fighting.
I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.
If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.