The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Book Review)

Publishers Hodder Children’s Books
Pages 302
Book Birthday 26.1.2021
How I Got It NetGalley
About: 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 book is everything I wanted in a contemporary thriller read. It’s written in a way that makes it destined to be a hit when adapted for the screen later this year.

What I loved most of all was the almost dejavu feeling of familiarity I got from falling into the narrative. Not in a rip-off way, but that comfortable, I’m in safe hands, sort of way. It took me a day or to afterwards to pin point what it was. I’d recently watched the episode Monday of X-Files. The only connection really being that they’re were both set in a bank during a robbery. However, I would argue that it’s testament to Sharpe’s writing that I connect the book to one of the best episodes of a much loved show.

The characters are amazing and I must emphasise that I adore the introduction of a character with endometritis and the commentary of periods. It’s subtle and yet incredibly powerful. It also doesn’t feel forced or plot driven, it’s simply something the reader is left to consider, empathise or, in some cases, relate. It’s strange to say ‘representation’, however while so many women are being ignored when it comes to diagnosing this condition, having it presented as a condition that should be taken seriously is validity that a lot of women will appreciate. I do also occasionally wonder how many women will seek a diagnosis because of this book.

What I truly loved was that it works as a stand alone novel. I feel satisfied. However, if a sequel were to emerge I’d be happy.
One things for certain; between this and Evolution of Clare, Sharpe is a writer I will automatically read from now on.

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