The Girl I Used to Be

The Girl I Used to Be

Book - 2016
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"Olivia's parents were killed fourteen years ago. Now, new evidence reopens the case . . . and she finds herself involved"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781627793322
1627793321
Branch Call Number: FICTION Hen
Characteristics: 229 pages ; 22 cm

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a
Abbess
Jul 05, 2017

REVIEW: THE GIRL I USED TO BE, April Henry, 2016. Stand-alone YA mystery/thriller; entertaining, fast-paced, predictable but very smoothly written and well-plotted, with no loose ends, an enjoyable read: 3.0/5.0

When she was three years old Ariel Benson saw her mother killed, and her missing father assumed to have done the deed and run away. Entering the fostering system, by age 17 she is on her own, capable and looking for the truth of what happened that frightening day so long ago, since she remembers very little about either of her parents. And now some of his bones have been found, and it becomes clear that he died the same day as her mother. Returning for his funeral she finds that with a changed name (a failed adoption by a long-ago foster mother) no-one seems to recognize her. To the little town where she had been born she is Olivia Rheinhart, and that no-one there questions it.

This is one of the implausible things that I actively dislike in mystery plots, where practically no-one "recognizes" a long-gone newly returned heroine who has changed so much that she can "pass" for somebody else, but it's smoothly done here, with only a bit of slight fudging to make things flow smoothly. But you will need to suspend belief that a girl who is repeatedly mentioned as looking very much like her mother did at the same age (17) and is now living in the same house, and spends most of her time in this small town asking questions about what happened is *not* going to be suspected as at least a relative of some sort? But the narrative flows along, and I went with it.

Ms. Henry also uses a technique that I abhor in adult mysteries but which works very well in a YA mystery: the device of very short, fast-moving chapters, each of which ends with a "thrilling!" hook. I'll grant that maybe YA readers tend to have shorter reading spans for plots, and are accustomed to, expect to have their stories rush along. Not often my favorite thing, but this was a very short read, and sped by before my slight annoyance was transformed into actual dislike.

April Henry can write very well. I enjoyed this quick read, possibly because I did not expect to be overwhelmed by complexity or a deeply twisted plot, and I wasn't. Yes there are decent twists in the plot, and the character revealed as the murderer in the last scenes is not sprung on us unexpectedly, for although we're not told much about him he *is* present in most of the group scenes of the novel. So it was fairly played. She could have given us a bit more about his background, though, but that's a small quibble.

Comfortable, fast-moving, well-structured and written, if this was promoted as an adult thriller I would have been PO'd; as a YA novel it was a very good thriller, 3.0 stars (and a bit more) out of 5, and recommended for YA and those adults who just want a comfortable, quick read.

multcolib_susannel Jul 29, 2016

Olivia grew up believing her father murdered her mother. But a new piece of evidence may prove otherwise.

cmlibrary_aghilton Jun 03, 2016

Good mystery, but it dragged a little at the end.

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a
Abbess
Jul 05, 2017

THE GIRL I USED TO BE, April Henry, 2016. Stand-alone YA mystery/thriller.

When she was three years old Ariel Benson saw her mother killed, and her missing father assumed to have done the deed and run away. Entering the fostering system, by age 17 she is on her own, capable and looking for the truth of what happened that frightening day so long ago, since she remembers very little about either of her parents. And now some of his bones have been found, and it becomes clear that he died the same day as her mother. Returning for his funeral she finds that with a changed name (a failed adoption by a long-ago foster mother) no-one seems to recognize her. To the little town where she had been born she is Olivia Rheinhart, and Olivia wants to know what *really* happened.

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