Blog Tour: The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry


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
Barnes & Noble (B&N)

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.

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)
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Blog Tour: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

Like It Never Happened
by Emily Adrian
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, High School, Chick Lit, Theatre, Fiction

Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

I wrote something like six or seven drafts of Like It Never Happened between the summers of 2012 and 2014, when my editor and I decided the book was finished. Despite the novel’s many incarnations, I think the final version is pretty true to the story I set out to write. That said, I still managed to make (what now seem like) some pretty absurd decisions along the way.Here are some examples of what I cut from the novel as I turned it into something publishable:An early draft of the book contained about fifty pages of notes passed between Rebecca’s sister, Mary, and Mary’s ex-girlfriend, Nadine. I had Rebecca discover the letters in a box of old notebooks, and then the narrative just sort of yielded to the letters themselves. For fifty pages. Some of the notes were written in verse, including a villanelle sixteen-year-old Mary wrote for her favorite singer, Morrissey. I cut the villanelle. I cut all of the letters but one.Including them was a bad for idea for a lot of reasons, but I don’t really regret taking the time to imagine the two characters’ correspondence. Having such a complete understanding of the history between Mary and Nadine definitely helped me write some of my favorite scenes in the book.The first lines of the very first draft were: “Technically, I was all wrong for the part. Every actress who has ever played Blanche DuBois has been pale and blonde.” I still like these lines, actually, and I think some version of them appears halfway through the published book. But once I decided that the action of Like It Never Happened would unfold over a couple of years, I realized I couldn’t begin the novel with Rebecca’s performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. I needed the cast’s rehearsals for the play to run parallel to the book’s central climax.

Originally, the “Essential Five”—Rebecca’s exclusive gang of thespian friends—were the “Essential Seven.” This was partially because it sounded cool, and partially because I thought I needed at least seven thespians, because how else could Rebecca and her friends dominate their school’s theater program? But my editor thought that the seven actors—some of whom felt pretty interchangeable—were hard to keep track of, and she was right. I ended up cutting two characters. To compensate for their absence onstage, I had Rebecca make passing references to “non-essential” cast members. That neither Rebecca nor her co-stars ever seem to give these other kids the time of day is, I think, a believable side-effect of how insular their group becomes.

Deleting characters, lines, or entire scenes from a novel you’re already pretty proud of can be kind of devastating. The worst is when some of your favorite parts of the story—I really liked those letters between Mary and Nadine!—aren’t actually helping your book say what you want it to say. Definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the publishing process is getting to work with people who can help you make those choices, and then—once you’ve hit delete—assure you that the book is getting closer and closer to being the best book you can write.

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Emily Adrian was born in 1989 in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Portland State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she worked as a receptionist while secretly writing books.
Emily currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their dog named Hank. Like It Never Happened is her debut novel.