cover image The Girl I Used to Be

The Girl I Used to Be

April Henry. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-62779-332-2

New evidence makes a teenager rethink everything she knows about her mother’s murder in Henry’s (Blood Will Tell) underwhelming thriller. At age three, Ariel Benson was the only witness to her mother’s stabbing, a crime everyone believed Ariel’s father committed, before he disappeared. Left in a Walmart hundreds of miles from the crime scene, Ariel bounced around the foster care system and, thanks to a failed adoption, became Olivia Reinhart, and an emancipated minor by 17. Olivia is working a dead-end job in Portland, Ore., when the cops arrive to tell her they have found her father’s remains in the same woods where her mother died, leading them to believe the couple died at the same time. Olivia launches her own unofficial investigation and heads to the small Oregon town of Medford, where every old acquaintance of her parents could be a killer. Predictably, there’s a cute and helpful boy, a slow unpacking of dormant memories, and a shoal of red herrings, but dry narration and underdeveloped characters do little to elevate this whodunit. Ages 12–up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (May)