The Girl She Was Before by Jess Kitching

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A crime thriller with a brilliant twist you won’t see coming!Powerful, packed full of grueling details that will linger with you long after the book has finished.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?

My thoughts

First up, I am amazed that this is a debut novel as it is so well written. The constant aura of unease and suspense held my attention right to the end and I stayed up late to finish it. The downward spiral that Nat falls into is very sad to read, as only the reader knows and understands how damaged and fragile the bullying has left her. The bullying itself as well as people’s attitudes to it come across as very authentic too. I liked the use of dual time lines. The thing I loved the most was the way the characters evolved throughout the story and I’d love to expand on that at length because it was done so cleverly, but I can’t without risking spoilers. You’ll just have to read it for yourself to see what I mean. You won’t be disappointed!

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