Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
April Henry
Henry Holt, 2013
$16.99, Hardcover
978-0805095418

Genre: Mystery
Age: 12+
Description: Cady wakes up in a cabin tied to a chair with a pillowcase over her head. She is in extreme pain. All she hears is a voice of a man tell another man to “take her out back and finish her off.” Luckily, Cady appears to have some mad fighting and self-defense skills so she escapes her captive and makes a run for it in his SUV. At a McDonald’s she meets Ty who, despite his misgivings, sees that she is really in trouble and offers to help her as poor Cady can’t remember anything about who she is, what she was doing in that cabin, and why someone would want to kill her.
Opinion: The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die started off as an action-packed psychological thriller. There have been these “who am I” type stories before but Cady’s story is interesting in the fact that she really is in a deadly situation. She’s already been beaten and tortured (she’s had some fingernails pulled off). The terror that she feels at not knowing who she is is offset by the mundane things she clearly remembers (such as driving). The story is awesome until about half way through when we begin to realize why Cady was in the situation she was. Her parents are scientists/researchers and, of course, the company they work for want to use their research for bad things and not good things. Cady’s parents taught her self-defense and kept her in the dark about their research so if she ever was kidnapped hopefully nothing would happen because she really does know nothing. Unfortunately, these kinds of “twists” are clich├ęd by now and not really plausible. It really went downhill when Cady and Ty meet up with Aunt Liz who readers should know from the get-go is one of the bad guys. The bad guys themselves are caricatures and not really drawn out. In the end, nothing really bad happens to Cady except for the bruises and her poor fingernails. In the end, the bad guys are caught, Cady is reunited with her family, and she and Ty may be starting a relationship.

Here’s what one of my teens had to say:

Sarah, 15, says, “The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is about a girl who wakes up in a cabin hearing someone tell another man to “finish her off.” She doesn’t know who, where, or why she is at the cabin and men are trying to kill her. She escapes and meets up with Ty, a boy who is willing to help her even at the risk of losing his own life. Together they attempt to figure out what happened to make her lose her memory. I don’t think the cover really reflected the contents well. It should have had a girl on it at least [Note: The ARC cover is different from the final which is more what Sarah would have liked to see]. My favorite part was when Cady and Ty were trying to get the vaccine for Max and Kirk shows up to try and stop them. I think I really like April Henry’s books. I read Girl Stolen, a different book she wrote, and loved it as well. I like the way she writes. She really draws readers into the story. In this book, I liked how Cady could only remember little pieces of things that weren’t really important (like how to drive) but couldn’t remember her real life. These little insights led up to bigger pieces that were important as she began to remember what caused her to be in that cabin. I didn’t like “Aunt Liz” from the moment I read about her! I knew she was no good—my gut just told me not to trust her. I didn’t like how she kept trying to get rid of Ty. I’m glad she went to jail in the end! I also liked the title of the book. Right away it pulls the reader in and makes you want to read more.

*Thanks to Emily Waters at Macmillan for providing an ARC of this title for the YA Galley Group project!*

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