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The Girl I Used To Be

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Stella is a teacher in a secondary school in the village of West Compton, North Yorkshire. She and her partner Wade appear to have the perfect life, but after receiving a series of threatening letters, her life takes a sinister turn. Stella is forced to examine her past to find out who is behind the letters. All evidence points to a man with whom she had a one-night stand. D Stella is a teacher in a secondary school in the village of West Compton, North Yorkshire. She and her partner Wade appear to have the perfect life, but after receiving a series of threatening letters, her life takes a sinister turn. Stella is forced to examine her past to find out who is behind the letters. All evidence points to a man with whom she had a one-night stand. Deciding to confront him, Stella soon discovers he is not the one responsible and must delve deeper into her past. After a visit to her estranged alcoholic mother, Stella is forced to look even closer to home. Meanwhile, the threats escalate. But who is behind the campaign of hate and why? Stella is about to find out...


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Stella is a teacher in a secondary school in the village of West Compton, North Yorkshire. She and her partner Wade appear to have the perfect life, but after receiving a series of threatening letters, her life takes a sinister turn. Stella is forced to examine her past to find out who is behind the letters. All evidence points to a man with whom she had a one-night stand. D Stella is a teacher in a secondary school in the village of West Compton, North Yorkshire. She and her partner Wade appear to have the perfect life, but after receiving a series of threatening letters, her life takes a sinister turn. Stella is forced to examine her past to find out who is behind the letters. All evidence points to a man with whom she had a one-night stand. Deciding to confront him, Stella soon discovers he is not the one responsible and must delve deeper into her past. After a visit to her estranged alcoholic mother, Stella is forced to look even closer to home. Meanwhile, the threats escalate. But who is behind the campaign of hate and why? Stella is about to find out...

30 review for The Girl I Used To Be

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Now, this is a read you wont forget On ruminating on what to write in this review I have decided to say nothing on the plot as there are many things to discover in this book and just the wrong word could give the whole thing away, that would be a crime as the reader needs to experience the whole book and feel the wide range of emotions it brings Enough to say ‘the past is often someones present’ 😵 So, what shall I say? Well, the book is clever, taut, emotive ( I know I’ve said that twice ), involvi Now, this is a read you wont forget On ruminating on what to write in this review I have decided to say nothing on the plot as there are many things to discover in this book and just the wrong word could give the whole thing away, that would be a crime as the reader needs to experience the whole book and feel the wide range of emotions it brings Enough to say ‘the past is often someones present’ 😵 So, what shall I say? Well, the book is clever, taut, emotive ( I know I’ve said that twice ), involving, vivid, upsetting at times, real, believable, detailed and involving The writing is so descriptive its amazing, each sentence caused a new image in my mind and this coupled with the writing style gave a fab reader experience It is character driven, you will empathise, dislike, be wary of, hate, symapthise and feel solidarity with various ones and also feel shock at some of them, whilst shudderingly remembering some traits in people you have had the misfortune to meet I really didn’t want to put this book down unless I really had to and wanted, needed to know the outcome Which was electrifying A powerful, awesome read 10/10 5 Stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Despite the clever plot twist, I did not truly connect with Baker’s narrative. Although it was quite enjoyable, I found the revelations too obvious and the final scenes too far-fetched to allow me to fully immerse myself into the story. It was, overall, an average thriller. The narrative hops around time frames a fair amount, but Baker helpfully indicates this at the chapter openings. There appear to be two or three narrators and this is only made clear in the closing quarter of the novel. Focusi Despite the clever plot twist, I did not truly connect with Baker’s narrative. Although it was quite enjoyable, I found the revelations too obvious and the final scenes too far-fetched to allow me to fully immerse myself into the story. It was, overall, an average thriller. The narrative hops around time frames a fair amount, but Baker helpfully indicates this at the chapter openings. There appear to be two or three narrators and this is only made clear in the closing quarter of the novel. Focusing on the protagonist, Stella is portrayed as an emotionally vulnerable woman. Having had a one-night stand several months previous, and apparently escaped her boyfriend from finding out, Stella is suddenly plagued by threatening letters. Enlisting the help of her fellow teacher-friend, Stella believes that her one-night boyfriend must be behind this. But when she discovers the truth and the letters continue to arrive, Stella reluctantly has to share this weight with Wade, her boyfriend. I appreciated the scenes set in the school. I felt Baker vividly recreates a teacher’s lifestyle and could relate to many of Stella’s working emotions. I relished in witnessing her tackling her different classes and enjoyed the literary references. I felt like I was back in the classroom myself! However, the final scenes seemed rather ridiculous and I found it difficult to believe that the perpetrator succeeds as much as they do, considering the circumstances. The different narrations added to the depth of the story yet, once I had realised the ambiguities, found I lost interest in the book. Instead, I was left feeling that the story was being prolonged and was desperate to see its inevitable conclusion, as suggested by the Prologue. This was disappointing and I don’t think my predictions being correct (for once!) was necessarily the entire cause of my dissatisfaction. I think the pace throughout the story was rather slow and gradually built up a simmering tension. However, I felt that Stella was never really in a real sense of danger, even at the climax, and believed there would always be a satisfying resolution. This lessened my enjoyment: I do enjoy a suspenseful thriller that packs a “punch” but, for me, Baker does not quite hit the target. I truly believed in Stella and sympathised with her stresses and emotions. Yet, it does feel that she becomes the victim through her own actions and I wished she had shown more backbone, like her friend, Astrid. I could imagine Stella “simpering” too often and had hoped there would be more substance and fight – particularly when she felt her perpetrator was getting closer. This was an alright read but it did not blow me away. The premise suggests a lot of suspense but I could not find this in the pages. Making this more disappointing, the ending was the final determiner for me; although I had found the plot twist a clever device, it was not enough to alter my average opinion. With thanks to Bloodhound books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie M

    An average mystery with a fairly spineless protagonist. Stella, a high school teacher, with a mixed past conducts herself as a victim of circumstance. I found this a loathsome quality in her character. Making mountains of mole hills and being a whinging woman are my least favourite characters. The plot - largely predictable and the twist was interesting but did not play out realistically. I was happy to be done.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dee Groocock

    This story touched me deeply. It is one of those books that stays with you for quite a while after reading it. The story is full of tension and extremely emotional. This book resonates with me and I’m sure I won’t be alone in having gone through some of what went on in this story. Beautifully and sensitively written by the author, this book deserves more than 5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan Hunter

    I was completely hooked from start to finish with this intriguing psychological thriller. A clever plot which had me guessing throughout, I guessed wrong several times! Stella, a secondary school teacher starts receiving threatening letters and the search to discover who is sending them is nerve wracking. The chapters are set between the past and present day. I could not put this book down until I finished it. This book in invokes a whole range of emotions. . Highly recommend this thrilling read I was completely hooked from start to finish with this intriguing psychological thriller. A clever plot which had me guessing throughout, I guessed wrong several times! Stella, a secondary school teacher starts receiving threatening letters and the search to discover who is sending them is nerve wracking. The chapters are set between the past and present day. I could not put this book down until I finished it. This book in invokes a whole range of emotions. . Highly recommend this thrilling read .

  6. 4 out of 5

    marnie | once upon a time book reviews

    Holy moly what a read this is! For once I am actually at a loss for words, so this may well be my shortest review ever! The phrase less is more couldn’t be more fitting than it is when talking about this book. Judith has crafted a story that will have you hooked right from the beginning and doesn’t let up until the final page. There is no way I can talk about the plot as I may accidentally give something away, but what I will say is, make sure you have no other things to do when starting this one Holy moly what a read this is! For once I am actually at a loss for words, so this may well be my shortest review ever! The phrase less is more couldn’t be more fitting than it is when talking about this book. Judith has crafted a story that will have you hooked right from the beginning and doesn’t let up until the final page. There is no way I can talk about the plot as I may accidentally give something away, but what I will say is, make sure you have no other things to do when starting this one as you will not be able to put it down.! This is the first book I have read of Judith’s and let me say that it will not be my last! With a strong plot and a cast of characters that have been written perfectly, I was immediately drawn into this world that she has created and through writing that is so vivid and emotive, I felt like I was a character also experiencing the story. I was mentally exhausted when I was done and I was so invested in it which made the reading experience all the more thrilling. The Girl I Used To Be will have you glued to its pages and have you second guessing everything! An engrossing story that will have you reading well into the early hours and is one story that will have you still thinking about it long after you finish it. Oh and one other thing make sure you have the tissues handy… It was a pleasure to read and review The Girl I Used to Be which I highly recommend. Thank you to the publicity team at Bloodhound Books and Judith Baker for allowing me to read an advanced readers copy of The Girl I Used to Be which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donna Morfett

    2 young girls, victims of broken homes, alcoholic mothers, abusive fathers. Their school lives are very different however. One is the victim of the most viscious bullying, even being nearly drowned. The other is part of the gang. Although she is nothing like leader Tanya, she never steps in to help their victims either. When both women grow up their lives have gone separate ways. Stella is a teacher, seeing Wade, is happy until she starts receiving threatening letters through the post. It leads 2 young girls, victims of broken homes, alcoholic mothers, abusive fathers. Their school lives are very different however. One is the victim of the most viscious bullying, even being nearly drowned. The other is part of the gang. Although she is nothing like leader Tanya, she never steps in to help their victims either. When both women grow up their lives have gone separate ways. Stella is a teacher, seeing Wade, is happy until she starts receiving threatening letters through the post. It leads to her having to face up to things from her past she'd rather forget. All through the book you arent sure which girl is which and what secrets are being kept hidden. It shows how damaging bullying can be, and thats before the age of technology arrived. Should you feel guilty about your behaviour as part of a gang in your youth. Does being young excuse cruelty? This book will make you ponder those questions. A great read, and I'll be looking for more from this author.

  8. 5 out of 5

    McGarvey Black

    Just finished this book and that last sprint to the ending was quite the rollercoaster ride! I have not read this author before and found her descriptive writing terrific. Her creative choice of words draws crystal clear pictures in your mind as you go. The twist in the story was so good that I thought I had missed something for a moment. The book has a slow build that kicks into high gear midway through and then holds you in its grip until you reach the satisfying conclusion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mrs f smith

    Wow At first I was confused, flitting from one character to another etc, but all of a sudden I found myself unable to put the book down, constantly guessing and also constantly holding my breath. And.....simply, wow, I wasn't expecting that, I was completely taken by surprise on several levels. This is a superb, gripping, absorbing read that is a must for psychological thriller fans. Wow At first I was confused, flitting from one character to another etc, but all of a sudden I found myself unable to put the book down, constantly guessing and also constantly holding my breath. And.....simply, wow, I wasn't expecting that, I was completely taken by surprise on several levels. This is a superb, gripping, absorbing read that is a must for psychological thriller fans.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly Reynolds

    This is one of those stories which grabs you from the first page and keeps you guessing right the way through. Stella is very relatable as a character, and this leads me to feel more empathy for what she has gone through and continues to go through, now that her past seems to be catching up with her. This books focuses on bullying and the effects it can have on people, both the bully and the bullied - it was eye-opening! Another great read from Judith!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    A deep and twisted story. There are many avenues to this clever written book. I can’t put too much as I can’t give it away! You’ll be hooked

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Fantastic read Great thriller loads of twists an turns,an it kept me trying to figure it all out right till the end,which I love ..

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sue Hickling

    Really good book .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Clail

    This was an intense read with some shocking outcomes. Highly recommend this, a really good psychological thriller up there with girl in the train and gone girl.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Danny Matheson

    This is a wonderful psychological thriller based in South Yorkshire around the lives of Stella and Wade who seemed to be in the perfect relationship. That is until Stella started receiving some anonymous threatening letters. She had many insecurities about things that had happened in her past and these were now coming to the fore once more.  This is a well written book that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next and s to who is causing Stella so much grief and horror. The book does tend t This is a wonderful psychological thriller based in South Yorkshire around the lives of Stella and Wade who seemed to be in the perfect relationship. That is until Stella started receiving some anonymous threatening letters. She had many insecurities about things that had happened in her past and these were now coming to the fore once more.  This is a well written book that keeps you guessing as to what will happen next and s to who is causing Stella so much grief and horror. The book does tend to jump back in time a fair bit but all becomes clear as to why. Stick with the book and you will be on the edge of your seat as it progresses.  Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the ARC which I've reviewed voluntarily. 

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rana Elmahmoud

    It was impressive in how the writer used the English to describe her feelings. Her explanation was a reflective of how I imagined the novel's venue and time. What I didn't like much, it was mostly self centred, as well to much explanation, the story could be shorter. Overall, I believe the writer highlighted how this novel is kind of semi-thriller, romantic and dramatic scenes, could be translated as per each reader's imagination. Not sure if the covering image was the correct choice. The sequen It was impressive in how the writer used the English to describe her feelings. Her explanation was a reflective of how I imagined the novel's venue and time. What I didn't like much, it was mostly self centred, as well to much explanation, the story could be shorter. Overall, I believe the writer highlighted how this novel is kind of semi-thriller, romantic and dramatic scenes, could be translated as per each reader's imagination. Not sure if the covering image was the correct choice. The sequences of the novel did not shed on it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tatterededges

    The motivations behind the letter writers actions are pretty weak and having to read chapter after chapter of the main characters internal monologues of what a shit person she is and how everything was her fault when no reasonable person could possibly draw that conclusion was just tedious as were the pages of her crapping on about the lessons she’s learnt despite her clearly not having taken on anything. I have no idea what the point of having her run into the Tania character was. Zero characte The motivations behind the letter writers actions are pretty weak and having to read chapter after chapter of the main characters internal monologues of what a shit person she is and how everything was her fault when no reasonable person could possibly draw that conclusion was just tedious as were the pages of her crapping on about the lessons she’s learnt despite her clearly not having taken on anything. I have no idea what the point of having her run into the Tania character was. Zero character growth, implausible motivations and repetitive I’ve storytelling really let this book down.

  18. 4 out of 5

    KATHY HINDENACH

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. One of the best books I have read of this type, well informed on the emotional experience of the characters; excellent premise and enactment of the interplay between them. I was confused and annoyed about not being clear on which of the two main characters was which for a while (and the dates as well). I don't know if the blurring was intentional or partly on my end, but overall, highly plausible and very well done. One of the best books I have read of this type, well informed on the emotional experience of the characters; excellent premise and enactment of the interplay between them. I was confused and annoyed about not being clear on which of the two main characters was which for a while (and the dates as well). I don't know if the blurring was intentional or partly on my end, but overall, highly plausible and very well done.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Livia

    I have read every book by this author..and this is unlike anything she has ever written before ..This is a story of the things that are seen yet are invisible..A story of how we sometimes fail to see the cracks in humanity ..A story that will make you feel every word and every moment ..Breathtaking. Soul touching writing that will pull every emotion out of your soul ...Absolutely brilliant ..♥️

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Williams

    A bit confusing The different time periods made it a little hard to follow but once the reasoning was established it only made for a very sad and true tale of how bullying can affect people in different ways and have lasting consequences. I know from first hand experience just how cruel girls can be. Still feeling the affects at 70 years old.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Gosden

    Difficult to follow I struggled with this one - it did not flow easily. Good story but I was confused at the end as to who I was reading about. Glad I finished it but not a good read .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Craig Gillan

    Clever book with some fantastic characters and keeps you guessing all the way through

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joe Harris

    The girl I used to be The lead character is a bit too hard on herself to be believable. She was a victim herself after all just trying to survive.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn Rykiert

    This was just a story, but it was clever. I had a surprise towards the end, but while that was happening I found the story a little frustrating. I did not really like the Stella.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Shepherd

    Another 5 star book written by Judith Baker. I absolutely loved this story and the characters throughout, I kept thinking I knew where the story may be heading, but I didn't right up to the last few chapters the book kept you gripped with how it all would end. Absolutely fantastic book. Another 5 star book written by Judith Baker. I absolutely loved this story and the characters throughout, I kept thinking I knew where the story may be heading, but I didn't right up to the last few chapters the book kept you gripped with how it all would end. Absolutely fantastic book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Renee Olsen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda berndt

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Whitworth

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mrs K McStravick

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kitt

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