The Girl She Was Before, Jess Kitching

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

Nat now lives a picture perfect life - an artist, an instagram influencer, she has a husband, a baby and staff. She's also back living in the same place she grew up, friends with some of the girls at school who bullied and tormented her when they were younger, seemingly living the perfect life. Until members of her friend group start to die, Chrissy Summers returns to town, and blame for the deaths increasingly starts to focus on her.

Now I will admit that Nat and all of her friends were mightily annoying to this reader. But then I don't get Instagram influencing, I don't get what seems to have happened to feminism these days, and I'm old. All the way through THE GIRL SHE WAS BEFORE I kept thinking "I'm too old for all this chatty, selfie taking, loud exclaiming girly stuff". Until it slowly began to dawn on me that there was something else going on here - sure there were all these breathless, idiotic women running around, but the bullying that Nat endured at school - with some throwback chapters to outline some of the worst of the goings on - has to have had some effect hasn't it? And how did she end up married to the most popular boy in school, and this life seems to be everything they ever wanted, but why are her friends dying, and what is going on in that perfect little family unit, with their live-in childcare, and her art, and his teaching, and their perfect house, and the return of Chrissy Summers - the tormentor in chief from all those years ago?

If, like me, you're thinking that this book isn't for you, these people are not your tribe, and who really cares what's going on here, I'd politely suggest you stick with it. When they talk about thrillers that twist and turn, they mean books like this one. When they say you really shouldn't believe everything you're reading, they mean books like this one, and when everything turns itself on its head, it's quite the surprise. Maybe not what happens, but good grief, what now? That's what I came away from THE GIRL SHE WAS BEFORE thinking the most. What on earth could happen next.


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Nat lives a picture-perfect life, but it wasn’t always this way. A victim of horrific bullying when she was a teenager, Nat will do anything to keep distance between the girl she was before and the woman she is now.

But when her best friend is murdered and people begin to point their finger at her, Nat’s new life quickly unravels.

To Nat, it’s no surprise the crime happened at the same time as the return of her biggest tormentor, Chrissy Summers. A woman with a violent streak who destroyed lives when she was younger and isn’t afraid to do it again.

Face to face with the past she so firmly keeps behind her, Nat’s sanity wavers as her determination to reveal Chrissy as the monster she knows her as rises to dangerous heights.

The question is, can Nat prove Chrissy is a killer, or will Chrissy get to Nat and her family before she has the chance?

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