Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

Title: The Girl She Used to Be
Author: David Cristofano
Series: none
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Date: Mar. 19th, 2009
Pages: 241
ISBN: 9780446582223
Source: publisher
Purchase: The Girl She Used to Be

Summary from GoodReads:

The Girl She Used to Be
When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody's name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others—everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she's stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down, knows her, the real her, and it's a dangerous thrill that Melody can't resist. He's insistent that she's just a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family. But can she trust her life and her identity to this vicious stranger whose acts of violence are legendary?

My Thoughts:

The first eloquent word I was able say after putting down this book, which was literally three minutes ago, was Wow. Just wow. It's rare, and ultimately up to luck, for me to finish a book, feeling like a part of me is already lost inside its closed pages, and right now is one of them.
Melody McCartney's situation, for one, is complicated. It's also intriguing; her life of constantly being on the run and never truly knowing her true identity, is what had me latched onto this book. Enter Jonathan, son of the man who's crime has put Melody in the Witness Protection Program in the first place, and her life begins to fall apart. Or together.
Jonathan, though ultimately one of the bad guys, is a true hero. He's a beautifully-created character and I fully and exuberantly have fallen in love with him. Heck, I've fallen in love with Melody, whose personality is sardonic, relatable, and delightfully cynical. She's the kind of character I want to hug and hold and assure that she is loved. But I also know she's strong, and has it inside of her to kick a good helping of ass, if she's up for it. Both Jonathan and Melody are deeply flawed, but that's what makes The Girl She Used to Be so highly emotional.
Though for the most part, their budding relationship makes this book a romance, I wouldn't classify it as one because all the other aspects of it ring more loudly. There's plenty of danger and suspense -- literally has me sweating and biting my lip -- and in the end, it's heavy on the overall meaning of life, and of freedom. Not too often a book makes me think so hard about that kind of stuff.
I seriously can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. It's one of the most clever ones I've read; Cristiano is a mastermind, and a storyteller from the heart. His dialogue is wickedly smart and snappy, and his prose is intense. He develops a story that's all of absorbing, shocking, and tragic, and I've only said this a few times in my life, but it is a book that has me at a loss of what to do next, now that the story is over. It is one that is simply unforgettable.

My Rating:


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