*A free copy of this book was provided to me by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry is now available from Amazon
Olivia Reinhart is an emancipated teenager who survived a gruesome event when she was but a toddler. She spent most of her life believing that her father killed her mother, abandoned her, and ran away to save his own skin. But the book opens with Olivia discovering that her father has also been found dead, in the same are as her mother was killed, and is now believed to be a victim of the crime himself. Olivia remembers nothing of the event, even though she was present.
We then travel with Olivia to the town she was from when she was Ariel Benson, before she ended up in foster care and was adopted only to be returned to foster care. We follow along with her as she tries to discover the truth of what happens with her parents. She meets townspeople who all knew her, but she doesn’t remember them. They also don’t seem to recognize her, except for one young guy, who was apparently best friends with her when they were young. He ends up being a romantic lead in the story, as you might imagine, though Olivia’s relationship with him, and indeed every character she meets, is tainted by her wondering fi they could have been involved in her parents murder. As she meets people, and seeks to find out who is responsible for the murder of her parents, memories of that time slowly begin to return to her.
The book builds up a great deal of suspense, and I was following along gladly, intrigued by who-mighta-done-it and interested enough in the characters. Then, before I was ready, it about faces and drives to a fast, mostly satisfying, conclusion. I felt the introduction and resolution of who the killer actually was was a bit too pat, for my taste, and happened in a manner I couldn’t quite believe. Still, it was a quick, pleasurable, and captivating read, and I would recommend this read for anyone interested in murder mysteries, and YA. But I do wish the book had taken a little more time to draw out the web of characters it introduced, and driven down to a better paced and thought out conclusion.