Title: The Girls I’ve Been
Author: Tess Sharpe
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
Published: January 26th, 2021 (G. P. Putnam’s Sons BYR)
Synopsis: Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What starts out as an ordinary, if awkward morning depositing money turns deadly for Nora, her girlfriend Iris and her ex-boyfriend Wes as they find themselves in the midst of a bank robbery. But Nora is not any ordinary girl. The daughter of a con-artist, she was raised as her protégé and has played many roles in the past. And now, five years after escaping that life and building something resembling normality, it’s time for her to pull out those old skills again in order to save herself and her friends.
This was an action-packed story right from page one and the author wastes no time getting things underway. It was a thrilling read especially considering that the entire present day timeline takes place over only a couple of hours. The narration style keeps the tension sky high and this is a book that is impossible to put down. As the hostage situation in the bank escalates, Nora’s life unfolds in parallel, bringing to light the stories of her past identities, the most recent of which makes her a valuable bargaining piece to the robbers. It was quite fascinating to learn about what her life was like, and how it has affected her.
Nora was a fantastic character – she’s a fighter and a survivor and her past experiences have only made her stronger. Iris and Wes were also well-developed characters even if I do think that Wes should have gotten a little more page time. Iris on the other hand, was amazing, and I loved how resourceful she was, coming up with a plan to escape using what was at hand.
As much as I enjoyed learning about Nora’s past, the flashbacks were too fragmented, at least in the beginning, and it was rather annoying to be drawn away from the main story which was starting to get really interesting. On the plus side though, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy this even if the pieces take a while to come together, even if I would have liked for the story to have gone a little more in depth into Nora’s past.
This book was not entirely what I expected, but it was a wonderful read and I am definitely looking forward to checking out other books by this author. The Girls I’ve Been is apparently going to be a Netflix movie and I can’t wait to see what it turns out like, because this is the kind of story that could actually be even better on screen. There is some potential for a second book since there are still a few things left unresolved, but it’s nicer this way, so I doubt I’d read a sequel. Highly recommended!
The Girls I’ve Been releases on January 26th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.