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The Girls I've Been

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A deliciously commercial YA page-turner about the daughter of a con artist who is taken hostage in a bank heist.

Nora O'Malley is a lot of things. A sister. An ex. A secret girlfriend. Kind of crooked, but reformed... somewhat.

Nora O'Malley's been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up her mother's protege. But when mom fell fo
Paperback, 356 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2021 by Hodder Children's Books (first published January 26th 2021)
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  • The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe
    The Girls I've Been

    Release date: Jan 26, 2021
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    A slick, twisty YA page-turner about the daughter of a con art

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    Availability: 5 copies available, 3610 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Dec 26 - Jan 25, 2021

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    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.20  · 
    Rating details
     ·  120 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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    The Girls I’ve Been is a gripping, twisty thriller unlike anything I’ve ever read. Taking place over the course of only a few hours, Sharpe takes her readers on a high-stakes journey through past, present and six very different girls.

    Nora O’Malley, our main character, is truly the star of the show. She’s a morally grey badass ex con artist who would die for those she loves, what more could you want? The narrative style created a real connection with her and was both effortless and enjoyable to r
    Angela Staudt
    Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Thank you PenguinTeen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

    The Girls I’ve Been was nothing like I was expecting and I mean that in the best way possible. I don’t even know what genre this falls into, as I swear it had every single one in this book. Such a unique book full of twists, but also full of tough subjects. The writing was spectacular and once I got a little way into the book, I didn’t want to stop reading. The past and present chapters and how short the chapters were had me flip
    Elle (ellexamines)
    I can't wait for the new Tess Sharpe god BLESS ...more
    Katerina  Kondrenko
    5.5 out of 10

    I'm struggling with the genre this book is written under. It's a mystery, contemporary, thriller, romance, queer story, heist... As if the story can't decide which way to take for good and tries all genres it can.

    What I Liked
    - How mother and daughter problems are portrayed without sidestepping, with all love, cruelty, and truth.
    - How a love triangle that is not a really love triangle is held.
    - Queer romance feels right and not far-fetched like in many books I've read befor
    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    Rep: bi mc, bi/pan li with endometriosis

    CWs: child abuse, domestic abuse, violence, threats of rape, implied torture, implied child sexual abuse
    Tess Sharpe
    Aug 25, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
    Hi everyone!

    Tess Sharpe here. I thought I'd drop a link to the Content Warnings for this book, for anyone who needs them.


    Take care,

    Jul 12, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
    please be good

    Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

    I loved this book. It checked all of the boxes that mystery/thriller needs for me: interesting heroine, complicated back story, multiple timelines, twists and turns, and an ending that gives closure but also leaves the possibility of another book . . . at least that's what I'm telling myself because I NEED another book with this cast of characters. I NEED IT.

    Nora has settl
    Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The Girls I've Been is a tense YA novel about a seventeen-year-old ex-con artist who gets stuck in the middle of a bank robbery with her ex-boyfriend and her new girlfriend. For twelve years, Nora had to live a life of deception, as her con artist mother needed her to play the part when tricking criminal men—until her mum felt for one of these men. Then, Nora had to use her skills to escape, and since then, she's been living as close to a normal life as possible. After a charity event, she meets ...more
    Dawn Kurtagich
    Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This book was brilliant. It has my hearty blurb!
    god is real and she loves me
    Tess Sharpe’s twisty new psychological thriller is a perfect, fast-paced read that will leave you reeling.

    Nora O’Malley is used to a life of constantly being on edge, criminals and running from her past. But even she couldn’t have predicted the situation she finds herself in. When a normal day turns into Nora finding herself in a hostage situation at the bank, Nora knows the odds of survival are low. But she’s not just your average girl, Nora is the daughter of a con artist, and so, she has to
    from what i’ve gathered from tess’s twitter account this book:

    ✨stars a bisexual con artist (hi nora)
    ✨is non-linear
    ✨poor iris is on her period at literally the worst time: during a bank robbery (plus she has endometriosis so it’s extra sucky)
    ✨wes (nora’s ex) is basically a teen captain america (i do love a good himbo)
    ✨it explores trauma and surviving abuse

    i loved Barbed Wire Heart and this book sounds like it will have some similar underlying themes but made YA and queer and have heists and con
    Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    AMAZING BOOK! I loved absolutely everything about it, from the story to characters, the suspense, the twists, the representation, the things I felt while reading it, etc. Just loved it all.
    rafia ✿
    Jul 29, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
    2021 can't come any quicker, bye 2020 we don't want you <3
    ALSO - mbb in an adaptation of this? yes pls
    my request for a copy for a review was denied brb gonna CRY
    Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: edelweiss, ya-fiction
    Pub date: Jan 2021
    This fast-paced YA thriller set in the middle of a bank robbery is stupendous! We are introduced to the main character, Nora, her ex-boyfriend and BFF, Wes, and her current girlfriend, Iris, just before things go down, all of whom are smart and funny! Nora isn't just a regular girl, as the reader finds out when her past is juxtaposed with the robbery. In these alternating chapters, we see her past aliases and what she learned as a kid with her con-woman mother as they moved fro
    Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2020, f-f
    RTC but Sharpe's writing is still amazing and mind-blowing (but also my girl Iris deserved as much on-page time than my golden boy Wes) ...more
    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎
    Nov 09, 2020 marked it as might-read-tbr  ·  review of another edition
    Idk if I really want to read this but Millie Bobby Brown is starring in the film adaptation so I’ll see...
    Kat Ellis
    Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Watch out for this one in early 2021 - this is an intense, thrilling rollercoaster of a book, and I can’t wait to relive it when the Netflix adaptation comes out starring Millie Bobby Brown.
    Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Thank you to Penguin and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    This has been on my radar for quite a while now and I'm so excited that I was able to read an early copy! I'm happy to report this is my first 5-star read of the year! There was so much good in this book and it was utterly addicting, I could not stop turning the pages (well...tapping the right side of my screen, but you get the point). Only the threat of work in the morning kept me from staying
    Looking for a thriller novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat? The Girls I’ve Been is an exciting novel that is part heist novel, part mystery. It is unique, romantic (lgbt+), and will have you desperate to uncover the truth about the girls Nora has been (and what that even means).

    I adore mystery/thriller novels. And sometimes, it is a little hard to find good YA mystery/thriller novels. Books that justify why the teenager is involved in the crime/crime fighting. The Girls I’ve Been d
    Kera (featherboundbooks)
    Tess Sharpe paints a vivid picture about a young girl forced into the life of conning and grifting by her mother and how even when she has gotten herself out of that life, must put all the tools she learned to use when a routine trip to the bank turns into a hostage situation.

    Nora has had a very tough life. She has been through so much at the hands of her mother, the woman who made her all the girls she has been. But, even after living through some of her mother’s most heinous marks, she is subj
    Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    TW for violence, murder, sexual assault, rape, gaslighting, emotional and physical abuse

    ‘The Girls I’ve Been’ is a mystery/thriller/heist Young Adult novel following Nora, a teenage girl who holds a huge secret. Nora and her mother used to be con artists and Nora is the reason why her mother was caught and put in prison. Nora ends up as a hostage in a bank robbery with her friend Wes and girlfriend Iris, and this is where Nora’s secrets begin to unravel.

    I really enjoyed getting lost in the story
    Emily Sarah
    Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Crime thrillers with queer and chronic illness rep? Yes please.

    Hodder books have put out some seriously awesome lgbt+ reads this year and I’m HERE FOR IT.

    This book is intriguing with a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ style, queer con artist romance that pulls on the tension of a love triangle with her ex boyfriend.

    It’s great queer rep (f/f) and (f/m) , and the romance isn’t 100% the focus of the story. It’s apparent but very much just one part of a larger plot, with the heist acting as a tool for pause up
    Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The Girls I’ve Been

    4 stars

    I started this one on a whim, simply because it sounded interesting and the cover drew me in. Initially, what I was expecting was a clever, teenage heist novel that would be, at most, entertaining. And yet, I got so much more from this novel and it far exceeded my expectations.

    The way the novel starts off instantly had me completely engrossed. As the story unfolds and we’re taken back into Nora’s past, I was hooked on the mystery of her life and fervently anticipating
    Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
    The Girl I’ve Been follows Nora who is taken hostage during a bank robbery however Nora has a lot of secrets from her past working with her mother who was a con-artist, secrets which can help her survive.

    The book is a fast paced and exciting read, a lot of things happen quickly and right from the start we get thrown into the action. The book is split into different parts and Nora’s past is told throughout the book, I really liked how things were set out and it made the story interesting as infor
    Fabienne Schwizer
    --Many thanks to Hachette Children’s Books for sending me an ARC. All opinions are entirely my own.--

    Damn is this book good. The only reason I didn’t finish it in a single sitting is because I’m getting old and I need sleep these days. Narrated by Nora, a whip-smart, wise-cracking girl, The Girls I’ve Been is thrilling and addictive. The reader soon gets pulled into the stories dominating the novel, both the present-day thriller plot and Nora’s mysterious past. But where The Girls I’ve Been trul
    Pat Trattles
    Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This well-written teen thriller captivated me from the very first chapter. Nora, her ex-boyfriend and new girlfriend are caught in a bank robbery gone awry when trying to make a deposit with the proceeds from their fundraising efforts. Nora must figure out a way to get all the hostages out alive. Luckily, as we learn in backstory chapters sprinkled throughout, Nora was raised by a con-woman mother and her mother taught her well. Rebecca, Katie, Ashley, these are all personas Nora assumed in the ...more
    Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arcs-read
    “Me, I was born into the con. Came into the world with a lie on my lips and the ability to smile and dazzle, just like my mother.”


    This book is perfect for older fans of Ally Carter. It honestly had all the elements I love: a cute romance, close friendships, strong sisterhood, con artists, a heist element, and a compelling story. The main plot takes place mostly over one day and the pace kept me on my toes. I also enjoyed the writing style a lot, sometimes witty, sometimes gut-wrenchingly beau
    Ashley Marie
    Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Wow. What a beautiful concept for a book: young girl who is trying to overcome a past of being forced into cons by her mother. Nora was dynamic, endearing, and heartbreaking. You consistently found yourself rooting for her, no matter how far-fetched the odds. Her best friends, Iris and Wes, were also well-developed. It in no way felt like a typecast of three best friends and none of their flaws felt forced. It created a balance that is needed due to the chaos of the plot.

    I felt the way that thi
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    I do not read my goodreads mail, but if you'd like to contact me the best way to reach me is tess(at)

    Born in a mountain cabin to a punk rocker mother, Tess Sharpe grew up in rural California. She lives deep in the backwoods with a pack of dogs and a growing cabal of slightly feral cats.

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    Twists, turns, red herrings, the usual suspects: These books have it all...and more. If you love mysteries and thrillers, get ready for dozens...
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