The Girl I Used to Be
by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Suspense
Amazon paperback: http://amzn.to/1SZZH6u
Barnes & Noble (B&N): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-i-used-to-be-april-henry/1122142277?ean=9781627793322
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?
This book caught my eye long before I read it. I was very interested because of the cover, but I was also a little apprehensive about the book because I had not been a fan of Henry’s previous books. So I was really worried this book would be a letdown. I was worried I wouldn’t like the characters or that I’d figure out the culprit before the main character did.
In fact, I found myself absolutely ENAMORED with Olivia Reinhart. I was enamored with her story from start to finish. Shortly after the book begins we learn that her father was more than likely not the one who murdered her mother fourteen years ago because he too, is dead and has probably been dead this entire time. Olivia was once known by a different name, Ariel Benson, but she doesn’t remember life with her parents.
She remembers life with her grandmother though. She lived with her grandmother for the first 4 years after her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. So when she returns to her hometown, she finds out that her grandmother’s house is empty and she wants nothing more than to rent it and try to find out once and for all, what happened to her parents. She also wants to keep her identity a secret.
What she wasn’t counting on was Duncan, who knows more about her previous life than she realizes. Nora, who was her grandmother’s best friend. Samantha who was rumored to be in love with Ariel’s dad. Jason who was in love with Ariel’s mother. Within days, she’s got a running list of who could be responsible in the small town. Was it a jilted lover, or was it a stranger?
I honestly didn’t know who the murderer was until the very end. I had hints here and there, but all of my theories turned out to be wrong. I like it better that way. That way, I’m surprised when the killer is revealed. Looking back, I can’t think of anything that made it obvious who it was.
I was worried about the pacing because in a book this short that’s also a murder mystery, the pacing has to be really quick, to make sure the reader is hooked in for the entire time. There were no pacing issues with this one. It was quick, without being too quick if that makes any sense.
I think the main reason that I didn’t love it was because of the character development. Olivia/Ariel was nicely developed, but the secondary characters weren’t as well developed as I was hoping. This is one of those times were the plot & pacing made up for the shortcomings in the character development department.
4 stars to this short but compelling book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
Prize: Win (1) finished copy of THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry (US/CAN Only)