Today, I am SO excited to share with you the exclusive cover reveal for the newest book from author April Henry, The Girl I Used to Be. This cover is GORGEOUS, and April is also here to share a great story about the book and why it is SO special to her. Plus, keep reading for your chance to win some of April’s books!
But first … the stunning cover …
Are you ready?
Here it is:
Isn’t it so beautiful? Here’s more about the book:
17-year-old Olivia has grown up knowing her father killed her mother, but then a human bone discovered in the woods changes everything, and she sets out to find the real killer.
And here is April to tell us more about what this book means to her:
The Girl I Used to Be is a fitting title on two levels.
One is that the book is about Olivia Reinhart, born Ariel Benson, who is trying to figure out what happened to the girl she used to be.
Ariel’s parents were too young when they had her. They never married and often fought. When Ariel was three, her family went to the woods to get a Christmas tree, but didn’t come back. Meanwhile, a three-year-old was found in a Walmart several hours away. She was dirty, scratched, and too young and traumatized to say who she was or what had happened to her.
In the days after Ariel was finally identified, her mom’s body was found in the woods with 19 stab wounds, the authorities hunted for her father and Ariel went into foster care. A failed adoption at the age of nine left her with a changed name.
Now Ariel is 17, and new evidence has been discovered that changes everything she thought she knew about that terrible day in the woods. She returns to her old home town of Medford, Oregon, to try to figure out what really happened. But not everyone wants the truth to come out.
Can you go home again?
The second level on which the title works is that it’s partly about the girl I used to be.
Although I’m older than Ariel, I, too, grew up in Medford. (And yes, I know she’s fictional.) A big chunk of The Girl I Used to Be was actually written in Medford during visits with my mom. I got to put all the things I love about my home town in that book. The tawny hills that hold the valley like cupped hands. The evergreens that stand like sentinels on the horizon. The historic cemetery I have walked through hundreds of times.
Most of all, I put as much of my mom in that book as I could. Ariel’s neighbor is named Nora. She wears my mom’s clothes, looks like my mom, has heart failure like my mom did, and even has the same old-fashioned turns of phrase: we’re a pair to draw to, I should hope to shout, I could wring your neck, get out of my hair. I even lifted a whole scene nearly verbatim from an encounter we had with some homeless men in the cemetery, one that showed me how differently I saw the world than my mom did.
In the book, neighbor Nora gives Ariel a beautiful button necklace from around her own neck, just like my mom gave me when I told her how much I liked it. That necklace ended up playing an important role in the story, becoming a talismanic object for Ariel (almost as much as it is for me).
When my mom was on hospice exactly two years ago, I moved home to take care of her. While I was there, I got to read the first few chapters of The Girl I Used to Be to her. I think we both knew I was writing it thinking I might be able to keep part of her in this world.
I hope I have succeeded in that, and in writing a book that will draw in readers. The Girl I Used to Be will be published April 12, 2016.
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Earn bonus points by telling us in the comments below what you think of the cover!