Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Suspense
When Olivia's mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia's father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there's a killer still at large. It's up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?
SCATTER MY BONES
The only sound I can hear is my own panicked breathing. I’m running flat out through the forest. Then my toe catches a root, and suddenly I’m flying.
Until I’m not. I come down hard. With my hands cuffed in front of me, I can’t even really break my fall. Despite the plastic boot on my left leg, I’m up again in a crazy scrambling second, spitting out dirt and pine needles as I start sprinting again.
Running like my life depends on it. Because it does.
Three weeks ago, I was living in Portland. Working in a supermarket deli. Slicing turkey breast and handing out cheese samples on toothpicks.
Now I’m hurtling through the Southern Oregon woods, being chased by a killer. And no one knows I’m here.
Because of the handcuffs, I can’t pump my fists. Instead, I have to swing them in tandem. Trying to avoid another fall, I lift my knees higher as the ground rises. I can’t hear my pursuer, just my own panting breath.
If I don’t come back, will Duncan ever know what happened to me? These woods can hide things for years. Will animals scatter my bones, plants twine around my remains?
When I reach the top of the hill, I don’t slow down. Instead, I try to lengthen my stride. It’s impossible to maintain a rhythm. I leap over a log, splash through the silver thread of a creek. My mouth is so dry. It tastes of dirt and the bitterness of fear.
A Steller’s jay startles up from a branch, squawking. If only I could take wing and fly. But I’m stuck here on earth, legs churning, staggering over this uneven ground.
I can’t stop or I’ll die.
The reality is that I’m probably going to die anyway. And if that’s so, I’m going to go down fighting.
Copyright © 2016 by April Henry
The book was inspired by a real case from the 1980s that took a sudden turn thirty years later after additional human remains were discovered.
And the book is 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 in the fall of 2013, 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.
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If you've read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.
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