Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry

Fourteen years ago, Ariel’s parents took her to the forest to cut down a Christmas tree—and never come back. When a three-year-old is found at a Wal-Mart, it takes time for authorities to connect her with a missing family over a hundred miles away.

Then Ariel's mother's body is found in the woods. She's been stabbed 19 times. Since she had a rocky relationship with Ariel's father, everyone figures he just snapped. Ariel ends up in foster care, and eventually a failed adoption leaves her with a new name: Olivia.

Now a human bond found in the woods has changed what everyone thought was true about that day. He was killed along with her mother, and it was the killer who took the girl to the Wal-Mart.

Now Ariel/Olivia is determined to uncover the truth.

But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

Prior to this book, it’d been a year since I read a contemporary YA novel.  Nothing out there was really speaking to me but then I read the synopsis for “The Girl I Used to Be,” and I remembered the girl I used to be in the 90s, a teenager who loved YA mysteries from authors such as Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon.  This novel was similar in tone to those books and it was a nice throwback for me.  What I loved about “The Girl I Used to Be,” was that it was a great mystery that kept the suspense going but it was not gory or grizzly.  I also found the characters and their lifestyle to be very realistic and relatable.   

Olivia does not have any superpowers, nor was she wealthy, she’s just a regular young woman, working hard to keep roof over her head while dealing with extraordinary tragedy.  I also adored Olivia's neighbor, Nora. Check out the author's website for the touching inspiration behind Nora and other elements of the novel. 

I felt the ending was a tad rushed but it was still a satisfying conclusion.  I recommend it for readers 13 and up.  ****/5 stars

Head on over to the publisher’s website for a chance to win a copy of “The Girl I Used to Be,” along with April Henry’s backlist titles. 

Special Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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