Book Review: The Girl’s I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Publication Date: January 26th 2021

Nora O’Malley is a lot of things. A sister. An ex. A secret girlfriend. Kind of crooked, but reformed… somewhat.

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up her mother’s protege. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years she’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’ve all been inseparable for months, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised together. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly.

Because #3: right after they get in the bank, two guys start robbing it.

But they have no idea who they’re really holding hostage.

My thoughts & feelings …

This is going to sound like a really weird comparison but … if you like All For the Game Series by Nora Sakovic, I think you might like this book.

Hear me out! The Girls I’ve Been takes place over the course of one day as we follow Nora who is taken hostage in a bank robbery along with her ex-boyfriend and new girlfriend. Nora isn’t just your average hostage though, she’s the daughter of a con-artist and uses her childhood experiences to ensure her and her friends safety. Weaved into the bank robbery narrative we also see the girls Nora has been – the identities she was forced to take on as part of her mother’s cons and the trauma’s that came with that. Trigger Warning: blood, death, sexual abuse, domestic abuse.

It was a really suspensful read which benefited from the fast pace and easy to read writing style.

When I say you’ll like this book if you like All For the Game I obviously don’t mean it in relation to the sports element. I more so mean you’ll like it if you like the final book, The Kings Men, which has the most focus on secret identities, escaping criminal parents, a look into the criminal underworld, etc. I couldn’t get Neil Josten out of my head as Nora played mind games with the bank robbers.

Nora had so much personality. Not to sound too much like a middle-aged parent but she had spunk and I love it when characters have that edge to them. She felt like a really rounded out character who I got behind immediately.

I think it’s fair to say that I feel that way about the entire trio of teenage characters. I liked the dynamics of this group with Wes being the ex-boyfriend turned best friend and Iris being the new girlfriend. These relationships were explored. Even in the midst of being held hostage we see the tentative relationship between Nora and Wes as they build back up to being best friends, for example.

Overall I really loved this book and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something action packed that will keep them turning the pages without a second thought!

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