Book Review: The Girl She Was Before by Jess Kitching

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 begins to unravel.

To Nat, it’s no surprise that 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?

You can’t outrun the past…

*****

Nat has a perfect life. As an online influencer, the perception of perfect is important.

However, her life wasn’t always like that, having been subjected to horrible bullying as a teenager.

She will do anything to keep her perfect life.

Then her best friend is murdered, and her nemesis returns to town.

When Nat is then accused of murder, her life begins to crumble in a big way.

Wow! That’s the first word that comes to mind. Wow!

From page one, this book doesn’t so much pull you into the action, it pushes you in with both hands.

Told from Nat’s point of view in the present, there are also ‘then’ flashback chapters involving an unnamed schoolgirl and the horrible bullying she’s subjected to by Chrissy Summers and her gang. When I say horrific, I mean totally horrific. When you read it, you’ll know what I mean.

Nat seems to have it together at the beginning. She’s got a husband and child and a group of close friends, but I felt there was something she was holding back – almost like the Instagram vs. reality thing.

As the story progresses, Nat’s world begins to fall apart. She became more of an unreliable narrator and my trust in her faltered. I found this so interesting and so well done. In all honesty, the plot had me questioning everyone and everything.

The tension and suspense slowly builds. There are many twists and turns. I didn’t see the end coming at all.

I know I always say this but there is not much else I can say without giving away huge spoilers. I really do hope many people discover this book. I couldn’t put it down.

The Girl She Was Before is a wonderfully crafted psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat.

A brilliant debut. I am looking forward to seeing what Jess Kitching does next.

 

 

About Jess Kitching –

Jess Kitching is an avid reader, writer and binge-watcher. Originally from Bradford, England, she currently lives in Sydney with her fiancé Jack.

Her two goals in life were to move to Australia and have a book published. To be able to say she has done both is something she still can’t wrap her head around.

Say hello to Jess on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Follow Kingsley Publishers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

The Girl She Was Before was released by Kingsley Publishers on 31st October 2021. Click to buy on Amazon UK

(Thank you to Jess, Kingsley Publishers and Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.) 

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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