Book Review: The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die

 

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(image from barnesandnoble.com)

Summary:

“Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive, in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 3/5

(review may contain minor spoilers)

This book was extremely interesting right from the beginning. Each chapter is titled in the style of a day and a time. For example:

Chapter 1

Day 1, 4:51 P.M.

The first lines of the novel introduce us to our narrator.

I wake up.

But wake up isn’t quite right. That implies sleeping. A bed. A pillow.

I come to.

Instead of a pillow, my right cheek is pressed against something hard, rough, and gritty. A worn wood floor.

My mouth tastes like old pennies. Blood.

I really really really liked the way April Henry started this novel. It was suspenseful and riveting and I was immediately drawn into the world she created. The narrator describes what is happening without seeming like she’s just trying to give away the setting. She speaks like she is seeing everything around her for the first time, which, as we find out, she basically is.

This opening was perfect for a thriller/mystery and it certainly set the tone for the story.

Characters: We don’t even know who our narrator is until almost halfway through the novel. Candace (Cady) Scott couldn’t even remember her name at the start of everything and it was really interesting to see her put the pieces together. I think the author did a really good job of recreating her from the bottom up. With memories, flashbacks, and triggers, we get little glimpses until Cady finally remembers who she really is and how she became “the girl who was supposed to die.” Cady occasionally acted in such a way that made me want to throw things at her, but, in all reality, I probably would have acted the same way if I was in her situation. Her paranoia and suspicion is realistic and her voice throughout the novel is very believable.

Ty is a normal high school kid. He has had a tough past, but seems to have found his place in the world for the time being. He has an apartment and a job and a life. That all changes when Cady wanders into the McDonald’s where he works. Somehow, he ends up entangled in the mystery surrounding her and tries to help her as much as he can, along with his housemate James. I loved Ty. He was fun and sweet and lots of good things. However, to me, he was too good. He’s a teenage boy. Albeit, a very mature one, but still a teenage boy. Teenage boys don’t just jump headfirst into murder mysteries. I would have liked to see a little more fear or confusion from him. I wanted a fight between Cady and Ty about her past and whether she was really in danger or not. I wanted him to wonder and ask questions and I wanted him to freak out that there were armed men trying to kill them.

I think the characterization that bothered me the most would have to be Cady’s mother. We don’t know anything about Cady’s family until the book is halfway over and I felt like what we did know was not appealing. I understand that she was wary when Cady called for the first time. But once it was proven to really be her daughter, I expected tears and joy and relief. I expected something. I got nothing. She felt cold and sort of cruel. I felt no sympathy for her. I wanted more emotion than just a shake or crack in her voice once or twice. I wanted heavy exhales and long silences and emotional pauses. I wanted to feel what she was feeling. Unfortunately, it felt like she was feeling nothing. It was as if she was just reporting about something she saw on television. I didn’t feel invested.

Plot: For a mystery, this was spot on. It had a really great premise and it seemed to follow the general rules for suspense and thrillers. Unfortunately, there were a few misses. I felt that everything got crammed together and rushed after Elizabeth was introduced.

I wanted Cady to be safe and I wanted her to be reunited with her family. I wanted Ty to make it out of the whole mess alive. There were a lot of great plot points. But it felt like the last half of the book was just kind of strung together. There should have been more explanation and more suspense. It seemed like the ending was slightly unrealistic. In theatre, there is a term called ex deus machina, literally translating to ‘hand of god.’ This essentially refers to the point at the end of a play when the conflict gets resolved by some higher power, like a god or King. The ending felt a lot like that. It seemed like everything bad just got thrown into a box and tied up neatly and tossed away, never to be seen again.

To put it simply, I wanted more before everything got solved. I wanted that moment where you feel like the good guys are going to lose. When they have to run away and regroup and try to come up with a new plan. I wanted failures before the great success at the end.

Conclusion: All in all, this was an enjoyable read. There were little things that I would have changed here and there, but it was an entertaining story. I loved Cady and Ty and I wanted them to make it out alive. I wanted a happy ending. I just wish it hadn’t come quite so easily. I wanted more of a struggle.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something to read on a short flight or during your free time. It’s suspenseful and full of twists and turns. April Henry has quite a way with words and her mysteries always have me at the edge of my seat.

Signed,

your favorite bookworm

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