Thursday 4 March 2021

THE GIRLS I'VE BEEN by Tessa Sharpe


Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie and Ashley - the girls she's been.

Nora didn't choose a life of deception - she was born into it. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminal men, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the men instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape.

For five years Nora's been playing at normal - but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes ... awkward). Now it will take all of Nora's con artistry skills to get them out alive.

Because the gunmen have no idea who she really is - that girl has been in hiding for far too long...

This is a book I first noticed because of the striking cover. After reading the blurb, I knew I definitely wanted to read it.

Nora O'Malley is a girl with a lot of secrets. She's the daughter of a con-artist who targeted criminal men during Nora's childhood. But she's not that girl anymore, she escaped that life.

The morning she gets caught up in the middle of a bank robbery, she's forced to forget 'normal', so she can tap into the girls she used to be. And these men don't know who they're dealing with...

Wow. This book is absolutely FANTASTIC! 

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. The writing is engaging and so beautiful. I couldn't tear myself away from Nora's story. Speaking of Nora, her voice is strong and raw, so honest my heart broke a little more with every revelation. What this girl is forced to endure because of her own mother's doing is seriously terrible.

This book is a lot of things.

Starts out introducing a unique trio of friends with several levels of romantic complications, and soon becomes a dangerous bank heist. Before spinning everything around and turning into a fast-paced thriller with tension so thick the only way to go is forward. That's until you fully understand it's about the struggles of a young girl fighting the memory of what her con-artist mother groomed her to be and how easily she exposed her to the worst kind of danger.

BUT, it's also about the strongest of bonds: your own found family. Not bound by blood, but by something so much deeper. And at the centre, is a wonderful love story.

I don't want to say more about this book because it's an amazing and moving story that needs to be fully experienced on a very personal level. It delves into the power of teenage girls and how strong they are, even though they're so easily disregarded and seen only as pretty tokens.

The Girls I've Been is an explosive YA thriller that gets under your skin. It's packed full of tension, danger and some shocking situations. It might even tear your heart out along the way, but it's an honest tale about survival. About what trauma turns you into. It's also captivating.

Loved this!

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

The Girls I've Been, February 2021, ISBN 9781444960112, Hodder Children's Books

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