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A Reader of Fictions: Review: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

Author: April Henry
Pages: 224
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Read: June 12-14, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher for review

Description from Goodreads:
“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.

First Sentence: "I wake up."

This review is going to be uncharacteristically short for me, but the book itself is pretty short, so I suppose that's fitting. Since this is going to be one of those 3 star reviews that sort of reads like I didn't like the book, let me say this up front: I did like The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die. I'm not generally a big fan of thrillers, but I previously quite enjoyed Henry's Girl, Stolen, so I hoped that I would like this one just as much. Still, TGWWSTD was a fun, quick read overall.

In general, I would say that April Henry accomplishes what she set out to do in this book. TGWWSTD entertains. The plot moves along at a fast pace, and it's certainly never boring. The reader can't help but be curious and the pages flip by quickly. TGWWWSTD serves as the literary equivalent of a fairly mindless action movie, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The techniques Henry uses to accomplish this are quite standard thriller fare, which is why my enjoyment of this one boils down purely to the sheer entertainment factor. The main character has amnesia for much of the book, waking up in a cabin as two men prepare to kill her. Sure, amnesia happens, but it's over-employed in such action plots to up the danger level, since the MC doesn't have any idea where to go or who to trust.

Henry's writing consists of simple sentences and fragments. This style does create a sense of rushing headlong through the story. Thriller authors employ this method to create a feeling of urgency. While I do think it does work, I just generally prefer complex, more ornate writing. The combination of the writing, short chapters, and fast pace will likely make this an excellent choice for reluctant readers.

Most every chapter ends on a mini-cliffhanger, immediately resolved on the next page. Yet again, this technique does keep the reader moving through the novel at a fast clip. It's designed to make TGWWSTD a one sitting read, because you have to keep going to answer the lingering question from the last chapter. Effective, but trite.

While not thoroughly fleshed out, Henry's characters are sufficiently realistic for her purposes. Cady and Ty are likable enough that the reader does want them to win out over the bad guys. The skills that Cady possesses seem a bit convenient, though some are explained, like her ability to fight. What really feels unlikely is that Cady met Ty, a boy just this side of destitution, who is willing to miss class, endangering his dream of being an EMT, and work, risking putting him on the streets, to help save her from men with guns. Sure, he's nice, but, really, who's going to do that? I can see helping her when they first meet, but he's with her to the end, and I just don't see that. He also just happens to have the right amount of cash saved up so they can do what they need to do.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die runs just 213 pages. With short chapters and a fast pace, it's an excellent choice when you want something you can read quickly for sheer entertainment value. Ultimately, though, it's not particularly memorable and I won't be revisiting it.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: Didn't have one

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Blogger Amy said...

I love nice quick stand alone thriller/mysteries. I really liked the book of hers I read last year. I think I would like this one too. Great review as always hon!

June 14, 2013 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yes, it's perfect for that! Every book doesn't need to be deep and meaningful, and this is good for when you just want to lay back and read something in a couple hours.

June 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger Becky LeJeune said...

Ages ago, April Henry wrote a series for adults that I really enjoyed. I've been curious about her teen stuff but haven't tried them just yet. This definitely sounds right up my alley, though.

June 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Didn't know she'd written for adults! Girl, Stolen was good.

June 14, 2013 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Kat Balcombe said...

Onto my 'books I read when I'm sick or in a slump' list it goes!

June 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Aha! That's the perfect place for a book like this. It was nice since I'm behind, because it goes so fast!

June 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Giselle said...

Did you call this review short? You must find mine short all the time then haha. I have just read y first review of this book (pretty sure it was Jenni's) a few days ago and I hadn't really heard about it before that but it sounds like my kind of read (you know me and my thrillers!). Mindless action movie type though eh? I'll have to be in the mood for one of those, then (I prefer a good mind-fuck that blows your mind) and I'm the same with you for the complexity of the writing. These ones can be fun for a short thrill when you don't really want to get into a complex story though. Sort of like that book... eeeh.. the cover was a 3D handprint design. Bleh brainfart.

Also, that mini-cliffhanger thing reminds me of Hunger Games. Didn't that book have chapters that all ended like with something insane or intense happening? I remember having to put my hand on the page because I would keep reading the last sentences of the chapter before I got there hahaah.

June 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Lol. I did that thing where I thought of more stuff to add and didn't change the preamble. Oh well. Longer than I thought it would be.

Oh yeah, I think you'll probably like it. Goes by fast. No mindfuck though, unfortunately. I saw one of the twists coming, haha. Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon.

Huh. I do not remember! Maybe. I would believe it. I read Catching Fire SO FAST.

June 14, 2013 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Taylor McBroom said...

Hmmmm I also enjoyed Girl, Stolen, though I wouldn't by any means say it was one of my favorites. I'm not a huge fan of books that rely on constant cliffhangers to keep the reader going, so I may have to pass this one up. Great review though, despite the challenge it is for 3 star books!

-Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

June 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger Bonnie R said...

Yeah, I felt pretty much the same. It was a fast read and fairly entertaining but not exactly original. I really didn't buy Ty helping her as much as he did either. I haven't read Girl, Stolen but I did enjoy her other one, The Night She Disappeared. Great review. :)

June 14, 2013 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Blythe Harris said...

Hmm, I think I'll be keeping this one in mind for when I'm looking for a read that doesn't take too much commitment but isn't just all fluff. It definitely sounds like something I'd find fun (morbid as that may sound when written out...), but I'm not sure if the writing style with the short sentences and fragments will be something that will work for me. Granted, it will probably make the book go along really quickly, so another point in this book's favor for when I'm looking for a quick and fun read. And I also kind of like mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter--it makes me have something to look forward to when I have to put down the book and start it again later, or I can just read it in one sitting (which I haven't done in a whiiiile--it's one of my goals for 2013, pathetic and odd as that may be). Again, will definitely check this one out if I'm looking for something quick and not time consuming.

(And the award for the most repetitive comment ever goes to.... Blythe Harris! Woo!)

June 14, 2013 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yeah, not a favorite, but I thought it was a fairly solid thriller. This one's made of cliff hangers, so probably not good for you!

June 17, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Seriously, his life would have been ruined. He can't afford to miss work or school or spend his savings on this random girl. Of course, he'll end up getting money for helping, but how could he know that?

June 17, 2013 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup, it would be a good read for those sorts of moods. Sometimes I don't want to have to think too much, you know? Short books are my friends now. Oh blogging, what did you do to me?

June 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM  

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