Sunday, May 15, 2016

*Review* The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (Young Adult, Mystery)

Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books
Source: MacMillan 
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

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?

The Girl I Used to Be, by author April Henry, is standalone mystery that will keep readers entertained from the first page, until the last. 17-year old Ariel Benson's mother Naomi Benson was killed 14 years ago. At the time, Medford Police thought that her father Terry Weeks was responsible. Especially since he disappeared off the face of the planet after supposedly leaving 3 year old Ariel at Walmart 3 hours away. After her own grandmother died, Ariel became Olivia Reinhart, and was in and out of foster care before becoming an emancipated minor. 

Upon receiving an unexpected visit from the Portland Police with new evidence about her father, Ariel finds herself struggling to come to terms with this new revelation. With new evidence showing that her father was also a victim on that tragic and horrible day, Ariel heads back to the place where it all began; Medford, Oregon. Her intentions are clear. Move into the home where she spent the first 7 years of her life, find a job to pay the bills, and get to the bottom of what really happened that day, while uncovering who is to blame for her parents murders.

The first person she meets when she returns home, is the adorable next door neighbor Nora Murdoch who was best friends with Ariel's grandmother. Ariel/Olivia tags along while Nora attends her fathers funeral. There she is a witness to those who never knew what happened to the little girl who lost her parents. As she listens, and mingles among family and her parents former friends and lovers, Ariel/Olivia begins to question who might have had motive. 

Was it the former lover of her father, his best friend, the sheriff who is forced to re-open the case, or was it the strange man who is found leaving roses on her mother's grave? Does Ariel/Olivia have the answers in her head that she somehow managed to forget? And, if she does, will that just entice the actual killer to make it all in the family by eliminating the only person who can expose the killer to justice?

Let me start out by saying that I've become a fan of April Henry over the past few years. Her books are pretty straight forward, entertaining, while also being a bit on the twisted side. Her characters, like Ariel, are incredibly independent and don't really need to rely on others to get the answers they need to move on with their lives. The mystery had me hanging on right until it was revealed in the most shocking way imaginable. 

Then again, you can't be surprised when you find out who is responsible and why. You also can't really be surprised when Ariel isn't all that covert about her investigation. The thing about trying to keep ones identity a secret while uncovering the killer's identity, is that there will always be those who know things about you from when you were small. That would be Nora, and that would be Duncan who knew Ariel when they were children.

In closing, if you are looking for a quick, and easy read for a sunny Sunday afternoon, with a determined protagonist, then I will recommend The Girl I Use to Be


  1. I love books like this. Like you said, they are good for an afternoon read. Thanks for your review!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    1. You're very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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