The Girls I’ve Been

Photo The Girl's I've Been by Tess Sharpe eARC on Kindle paperwhite surrounded by trees

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 26, 2021
Genres: Young Adult
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Book Review

Nora is a retired con artist. Over the years she’s been many girls, traveling the country with her con artist mother while she scams men. After a con-gone-wrong, her mother is in jail, and Nora is living in rural California with her sister. While depositing fundraising money at their local bank, Nora, her ex, and her girlfriend are taken hostage in a bank heist. As the bank robbers become more desperate, Nora leverages her skills to negotiate with the robbers before time runs out for Nora and the other hostages.

Part story of a con artist, part story of a bank heist, The Girl’s I’ve Been is a wild ride. Overall I enjoyed it, but I found it to be very dark. At first, I thought the overall vibe of the book was very light and humorous if a bit angsty. But as the story progressed, the darker backstory of Nora developed.

The story jumps back and forth in the first person from the present situation where Nora is trapped in the bank and the past where Nora is living with her mother and her various boyfriends. It has some very dark moments. The story starts slow but quickly picks up the pace.

Thank you to Penguin Teen and Netgalley for the review copy. All opinions are my own.


Synopsis from Goodreads

A slick, twisty YA page-turner about the daughter of a con artist who is taken hostage in a bank heist.

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…


About the Author

Born in a mountain cabin to a punk-rocker mother, Tess Sharpe grew up in rural northern California. She lives deep in the backwoods with a pack of dogs and a growing colony of formerly feral cats. She is the author of Barbed Wire Heart, the critically acclaimed YA novel Far From You and the upcoming Jurassic World prequel, The Evolution of Claire.

She is also the co-editor of Toil & Trouble, a feminist anthology about witches. Her short fiction has been featured in All Out, an anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell. 

2 comments

  1. I haven’t heard of this before but I’m definitely interested in reading it. I also live in rural Northern California so I’m curious to see my surroundings reflected in the book. Thanks for sharing!

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