The Girl She Used to Be

The Girl She Used to Be

by David Cristofano


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When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody's name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others—everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she's stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to hunt her down, knows her, the real her, and it's a dangerous thrill that Melody can't resist. He's insistent that she's just a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family. But can she trust her life and her identity to this vicious stranger whose acts of violence are legendary?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446582216
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/10/2010
Pages: 253
Sales rank: 447,807
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade. His short works have been published by Like Water Burning and McSweeneys. He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his wife, son and daughter. THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE is his first novel.

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The Girl She Used to Be 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 249 reviews.
Head-Inthe-Clouds More than 1 year ago
I don't want to give the plot of the book because you can read that on your own. I am going to say that I knew I had to read it once I read the plot. I also came on here to read the first chapter. That evening I bought the book and finished it that night. It is an easy read but exciting. I didn't want to put it down...and didn't! The plot was interesting. It made you think. I thought the people who were helping here were the good guys that turned bad and the bad guy turned good. I read alot of romance, suspence, thrillers... and this fit it very well. Once of the best books I've read this years! This is one book you should buy!
brightmyer More than 1 year ago
The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano (256 pages) "On my fifth day in class, the teacher asked each of us in turn to spell our name for the other students... It sure would've been easier to spell May Adams, but wouldn't you know, without even giving it a second thought, there I was, unveiling myself to my teacher, her aide, and seventeen other first graders." M-E-L-O-D-Y-G-R-A-C-E-M-C-C-A-R-T-N-E-Y And so, the story of Melody McCartney - aka May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, Sandra Clarke and many others - begins. When she is only 6 years old, Melody and her parents were the only witnesses in the brutal killing of an Italian restaurant owner. Scooped into the Witness Protection Program, the government promises to keep the family safe. Little does she know, but after 20 years in the WITSEC program and after the ultimate death of her parents, Melody's life will be in the hands of Jonathan Bovaro, one of the four sons of Tony Bovaro, the man who committed the vicious murder. This book was a merry-go-round of emotions and evoked feelings in me I didn't realize I had. The trials and tribulations of poor Melody over the 20 years of "so-called" federal protection are marred only by the in-your-face criminal activity of the mafia family which threatens her very existence. I felt sadness at the robbery of her innocence, empathy at her lack of a normal life, elation in her love for Jonathan, and blood-curdling fear as her life is eventually exposed. I could not put this book down! Cristofano's prose flowed gracefully through this book like Jonathan's red Audi through the streets of New York and New Jersey. The "Billy Idol" monologue in the bar with the college guy was hilarious - I'm talking laugh out loud, pee my pants, make my hubby look at me strange, funny! (see page 102). The Girl She Used To Be is currently the best book I've read so far in 2009. With his snappy dialogue and human emotions, David Cristofano is an author I will be eagerly watching in the future. Having originally checked this book out of my local public library, this is a book I have giddily added to my home library.
PhilKailer More than 1 year ago
My girlfriend was reading this book and kept telling me chapter after chapter that I would love it, and I kept shrugging it off. Her stack of books and mine almost never collide. She reads Sara Gruen and Jennifer Weiner and I read Palahniuk, Klosterman, and such authors. But when she finished this novel, I noticed she was back at the beginning. She'd actually started to read it a second time! After she finished, she sighed and pushed it my way and insisted I read it. It wasn't until a week later that I noticed it had been endorsed by Will Clarke and Brad Listi, two of my favorite authors. So I gave it a chance. And sure enough I started reading it on a Sunday afternoon and didn't/couldn't stop until I finished it at 11:00 that same night. The story is absolutely outstanding, well-written, and downright hilarious. It throws together a wonderful cast of characters (a witness on the run, her government protector, and the guy sent to knock her off) and it's hard not to like them all, in spades. The story follows a woman in the witness protection program who finally wants to break free and see what it is like to actually find and be herself. Her journey is unpredictable and one you will not likely soon forget. Let me just say this a great book for couples to read together, as was the case for us. It is rare we can find a book that fits both molds, but it is hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this story. I am recommending this to my friends, but they will have to buy their own copies. This one is a keeper. Highly recommended for bookclubs.
angeleyesAS More than 1 year ago
The trials and tribulations of poor Melody McCartney over the 20 years of federal Witness Protection Program to protect her from a Mafia Family, who apparently murdered her family who agreed to testify against a murderer. Melody feels like she can't get close to anyone, so she leads a lonely existence. The Feds feel they are doing her a favor by keeping her safe and alive, but she feels otherwise. When Jonathan enters her life, he brings freshness to her stale existence. Melody just wants to be herself. But once Jonathan, the son of the mob boss locates her, falls in love with her, she really has to decide what to do. What a dilemma! EXCITING RIDE! Others that kept me glued to the pages: I CAN SEE YOU, 61 HOURS, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, THE PASSAGE..
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
This was a powerful story. I usually read Christian fiction, but was sent this book to review, so I gave it a try. Unlike many of the books I have mailed to me, I actually finished this one and enjoyed it immensely. The story was amazing and very unique. The characters were believable and the passion moving the story forward was breathtaking. It was so hard to know who the good guy in the story was for the first two thirds of the book. The author strung you along with a sense of dread as this woman was being hunted because of the mob. Yet at the same time she had no life, no identity (because it kept changing) and no stability. She never felt safe even with the men who were paid to protect her. She learned to trust someone who had followed her life for years and showed up to help because he knew about her and said he cared. Though the Federal marshals were very unhappy about her choice to spend time with him, they didn't interfere. Unfortunately, meeting with them that one last time caused her life to spiral out of control and she lost the hope that she had found. I was crying through the last portion of the book. I hurt for her. I understood her pain and the sacrifice that was made on her behalf. It was like reading an emotionally charged Nicholas Sparks novel, only better. And the ending was bittersweet, yet satisfying. The author did an amazing job with the story and captured my heart, and even though there was no outward spiritual element to this story, the themes of forgiveness, repentance, pure love, and self-sacrifice were strong enough to move my heart. The best part was this book was not riddled with swearing and vulgarity. It had some necessary dialog on occasion and some violence, but nothing that overpowered the beauty and message of true love in this book. Love does not demand it's own way. Love always gives, always hopes, always protects. Ahhh...this was a great love story. There are decent books in the ABA, and this is one of them.
martakay1962 More than 1 year ago
I have to say right off the bat that I loved this book. First of all the plot is something completely fresh and different. It isn't your usual romance and not your usual mafia-type book, and yet it combines both elements in a story that is outrageous at the same time that it makes perfect sense. David Cristofano is definately an author to keep watching. The story he's woven here is nothing short of amazing and even after reading the description of the book isn't what you expect when you start it. There are twists and turns that the reader most likely won't see coming. Expect the unexpected with this book! This is Cristofano's first novel and he's hit one out of the ballpark with this one. This is a book everyone should be, and will be reading in 2009! The book isn't a huge read at 256 pages, so it's a good rainy Sunday, curled-up-on-the-couch kinda book. I hope you all pick up a copy and get to read it. If you do, let me know what you think of it. I'm betting you'll be a fan long before you read the last page. ~
Marybeth54 More than 1 year ago
Not many books can keep me reading until the wee hours of the morning, but this one did. A suspense novel at heart, but the real treat is the romance. Very tender and true, nothing over the top. The writing is just amazing. Great read for anyone from YA to 99!
Lizzy96 More than 1 year ago
i just recently finished the book "the girl she used to be". it was such an amazing is defenately one of my favorites. it took some time in the begining to get into just because the background of the girl needed to be explained. but once you broke through the surface and really got into the book, it was so good. it is such a different book from any you have ever read. it is not your typical romance...where the boy whisks the girl away and they live happily ever after. no, this book is not like that at all. this book, she gets whisked away for sure, but not exactly in a romantic way. she moves from life to life, having to drown herself in another lie, making other people believe what she never came to believe herself. i would highly reccomend this book to anybody that dosen't mind an ending that will leave you dying for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been some time since I've so badly wanted a story to continue. Not because it is setup to be a series, because it does not feel that way, but because the characters are so well drawn and the writing is so good. I started the book after dinner and finished after midnight, very compelling and laugh-out-loud funny. I'm selecting The Girl She Used To Be as my pick for my bookclub.
BethWatson More than 1 year ago
My book club finished The Girl She Used To Be last week and it is the first time in nearly three years that all eight of us completely agreed that a book was brilliant. Normally we have a half-hour discussion on our selection but we spent almost two hours talking about Cristofano's novel. It's nothing less than amazing. We found it incredible that a man could capture the voice of a woman so well. While the story is infinitely fun, humorous, and heartwrenching, it's the ending that really makes the book a clear standout. The novel is filled with unexpected twists and turns but the ending is completely unpredictable and simply gorgeous. I've been recommending this book to everyone who will listen. Here I am a week later and I still can't get the characters out of my head. This one will stick with you.
PaulineB More than 1 year ago
I heard of this novel once the movie rights were sold to the same people who produced My Sister's Keeper so I thought I would give it a chance. I am so happy I did. What an emotionally-charged story we are told through Melody Grace Mccartney as she shuffles through life in the witness protection program. The story is filled with unexpected twists and the romance element was wonderfully introduced and made the book just impossible to put down. But the ending is so beautiful it is worth reading just for that alone. I cannot wait to read more from Cristofano and now I am anxiously awaiting the movie version of The Girl She Used to Be. Top of my list for 2010!!
BellaHartman-Hines More than 1 year ago
Recommended by a friend, this book gathered dust in my living room for a month before I finally cracked the cover. The story isn't what you would expect from the cover which was my hesitation for getting started, but the story unfolded quickly and the characters stole the show and is an excellent profile of what it must be like to have no control over who you are. I wasn't sure about the whole mafia angle, but I totally got into it. I fell in love with the three main characters, especially Jonathan, and did not want the story to end. I had to give the book back to my friend but not before reading a second time. I plan on buying in paperback to add to my library. Simply excellent!
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
When Melody Grace McCartney was a child, her family witnessed an act of unspeakable horror involving the NYC Italian Mafia. In exchange for their testimony, her family enters into a life-long relationship with the Witness Protection Program. But when her parents are found and killed, she is far from safety. Coupled with her inability to create bonds with those around her, Melody uses the Witness Protection Program to relocate and re-invent herself every few years. Until now. During her most recent move, she meets Jonathan Bovaro, son of the mafioso murderer she met when she was young. He knows Melody better than anyone, and the allure is too much for her to stay away. It is intriguing to learn about the not-often-spoken-about government program. Cristofano tells a gripping story about a poor girl lost in the system and trying to get out. Once I started this book, I could not put it down and stayed up late watching the back and forth between good guys and bad guys unfold. David Cristofano is a name I will be putting on my future reading list!
SoniaFallon More than 1 year ago
One of the few books in my library of a thousand that pulled me in from page one and would not let go. The Girl She Used To Be is a wonderful literary thriller that I will soon read again. Beautiful prose and imagery. Don't start reading before bed or you will be pulling an all-nighter. My highest endorsement.
BethTikkun More than 1 year ago
I'm a person who reads two to three books a week on avg and am a pretty hard reader to impress but this book was so good I blew off work for the day and stayed home to finish it. I haven't felt so hooked so fast in a long time. My only complaint is that it was too short. As I got close to the end I started to look for stuff to do so I could prolong finishing it. The characters were believable. The story was at times funny, and at times heart wrenching. When I first read the synopsis I thought it would be a tragic story but it wasn't at all. I would read anything else this author comes out with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book.When I got it I just couldn't put it down.It has the right amount of romance and suspense.I also really liked the main character.I would definately recommend this book.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
The Girl She Used to Be" was one of those books that I read in one sitting; not because it was short (it isn't), but because it was good. Damned good. David Cristofano's story about a young woman in the Witness Protection program who changes identities whenever she becomes bored is an interesting one, just like Melody (the main character). She is a lost soul ever since her family witnessed a mob killing. Melody just wants to be herself. But once Jonathan, the son of the mob boss locates her, falls in love with her, she really has to decide what to do. This is a pleasurable story, even if it isn't a fairy tale.
AlexMarie More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely at the top of my list of favorites. The plot keeps you on edge every page of the book! I wasn't bored for one second. You have no idea how badly I wanted a sequel haha. The ending makes such perfect sense but I just couldn't believe it was over :'(. Can't wait for Cristofano to come out with something else!!!
HaydenP More than 1 year ago
Can't recall when I last read a book straight through til three in the morning, but this one did it. Great characters, dialog and action.
gilper More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended highly by a friend and now I feel the need to recommend it myself. The Girl She Used To Be is a very fast paced novel - easy to pick up and hard to put down. Melody McCartney has spent nearly her whole life in witness protection and has never understood how her life could have been if her parents had not witnessed a mob murder. Now the man sent to kill her gives her the ability to finally know. The ride she takes with him is at times funny and at times frightening. This is a great story from start to finish. Bravo!
NLane More than 1 year ago
I don't write very many reviews and it usually takes me a couple of weeks to finish a book, but this book was amazingly interesting. I read it in a day and a half. I literally wanted to do nothing else but continue reading until I had completed. Highly recommended.
mjd2786 More than 1 year ago
The book was a great book!! I wish this author had other books i could read..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought this was the best book I've read this summer!
LEA5284 More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book, the characters and the story were so unique and yet quite relatable. It's one of those books that you pick up and don't want to put down until you're finished, yet one you're finished you'll be sad that it's over. A book has never made me feel so many emotions; by the end of it I was sad, happy and angry all at once. It's a very easy read, and I really don't see how anyone wont enjoy it...please read, you'll love it!!!
mgaynor More than 1 year ago
I finished The Girl She Used to Be five days ago and I still cannot get the story out of my head. It's been a while since I have longed for a sequel to a book as badly as I do for this one. Cristofano really managed to capture the thoughts and feelings of Melody, quite an achievement coming from a male writer. But the truth is I loved every character in this book, not just Melody. The personalities, dialog, and narrative come together perfectly. And like so many other reviewers, I feel the need to echo the sentiment that the ending is just gorgeous. This is absolutely a book you will feel you must read in one sitting.