The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen

The Girl I Used to Be

Mary Torjussen

Themes of blackmail and revenge, combined with complex, layered plotting make The Girl I Used to Be an addictive, twisty read.

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The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace delivers another twisting novel of psychological suspense in which a woman is backed against a wall--with nothing left to lose...

The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she's furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse...much worse. The problem is she doesn't remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night--years ago--that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach...

Advance Galley Reviews

This was a good fast paced thriller!!! I would definitely recommend to a reader who wants a unique thriller and one that will keep them on the edge of their seats.

Gemma Brogan, the protagonist in Mary Torjussen’s “The Girl I Used to Be,” is in many ways the archetype of the modern woman. A married working mother, Gemma is constantly torn between making sure her business succeeds and making sure her family is content. Under the constant stress of work and home life, it’s easy to see how she lets herself slip and has a little bit too much to drink with a prospective client. She could be any of us. So does that mean any of us could fall victim to the stalking and blackmail that put Gemma’s domestic peace (if not quite bliss) in jeopardy? As Gemma struggles to solve the puzzle surrounding her mysterious new client, a secret from her past begins to intrude as well, adding another layer of complications. While not a heart-pounding page turner, Torjussesn succeeds in delivering a carefully woven tale of domestic suspense, knocking her readers slightly off-balance right along with her main character.

I did not see a lot of the things that happened in this book coming. The beginning has a prologue and it is a must that you read it. Some of the things in this one will shock you but I was a little upset with the things that Gemma was hiding. She seemed to be wound very tight but when you found out the things that happened to her you will understand why. I would definitely recommend this book to friends even though some parts are a bit graphic.

Penguin First to Read ARC. Rating: 4 of 5 stars. The night of their graduation party changed Gemma permanently, but she wasn't the only one affected .. the ripples reach far and wide. Now, fifteen years later, "David" is messing with her. She doesn't know who he is or why. But this might be the final straw, the stresses and lies are getting bigger and bigger. The first part of the book is a little slow but overall it's really worth the effort. I had already figured out the big reveal before it happened. But the final battle was definitely an edge of the seat page turner. Will look for the next book by this author!

Don’t go into this book expecting a quick payoff. It takes a long time to get to the heart of the matter, even when you might have an idea about the direction it’s going. The whole time I was reading, I alternated between emotions. I was frustrated at Gemma for not telling somebody! anybody! about what what happening to her. I admired her kindness to others, even when I didn’t think they deserved it. I related to her mommy guilt, and the way she wanted her husband Joe to be happy. Gemma is a perfectly flawed character, totally realistic, and that’s what made this story work.

As lots of reviewers mentioned, the first half of the book is quite slow. It focuses more on Gemma's daily life. However, the second half of the book really picks up. I knew the book would have a twist, but I truly didn't know what it would be. I was definitely hooked towards the end, and stayed up late to finish. If you have a little patience, I would recommend this book.

There were several times in the first half of this book that I almost gave up on it. It was incredibly slow moving. I thought there was too much boring day to day as well as too much of Gemma whining about what would happen if her husband found out she'd lied about her activities at an out of town conference, drank too much, and did who knows what the rest of the night. She also couldn't decide whether her life was great or horrible; her husband wonderful or a lazy slob. It got tedious. The second half definitely picked up the pace and the excitement. I was quite surprised by many of the twists that popped up. If the whole book had been paced like the second half, I would have liked it a lot more.

This was a good book. A little slow to start, but once the gaslighting of Gemma began it definitely picked up pace. I knew there would be a twist, and I was close but not quite right. Even having guessed that closely, I still enjoyed this.

While celebrating high school graduation, Gemma has too much to drink and passes out on her host’s bed. She wakes up to a man raping her. Many years later, Gemma has a husband, a son, and a real estate business. She runs into a client at an out-of-town client. She has too much to drink and dim memories of the evening. After that, compromising photos start arriving. It was a pretty good book with a couple of interesting twists. The ending was wrapped up a little too quick and neatly for my taste. The takeaway I got was, watch how much you drink.

The first half of this book was so very slow. It was interesting enough though to keep me going. When Part 2 hits, those first 30 pages...BAM BAM BAM. There is still some pacing issues but holy twists!

I tried to get this book on my reader a couple times and it just would not work! There was another book that I had trouble with. I don't think it's fair that we use our points for a book than not be able to read it. Please advise?

Another wonderful slow burning suspense novel by Mary Torjussen!

The Girl I Used To Be was my second book by Mary Torjussen, the first being Gone Without a Trace. The story is well written and manages to hold our attention. Gemma is a character who has some strain from her past, but the fact that she has managed to some extent to put that strain behind her and live her life endears her to us. The story is written in the first person past tense point of view of Gemma in Part 1. In Part 2, the PoVs alternate between Gemma and Rachel. I didn’t like Gemma at first. She went on and on about how overworked she was, and how Joe seemed to relax far too much. She is aware that resentment can corrode a marriage, yet she continued to wallow in it. But then as the book went on, I began to feel sorry for her. I began to understand why she made such dubious choices, and how deeply her past influenced her. The book started on a good footing, but halfway through, I felt the pace suddenly increase, with nothing to show for it. The part where Gemma moved to her parents’ house with Rory seemed completely unnecessary, as she could just as well have seen the photos of the party sitting in her own home. Other than Gemma, I didn’t feel invested in any of the characters. Joe seems to be rather selfish. Not only is he not interested in looking for work, he is keen on uprooting the family and moving to Ireland, for his own selfish desires, while the burden of keeping the family finances going falls on Gemma. Not surprisingly, Gemma resents the compulsion to sell and start afresh. It puts a strain on the marriage, a strain that is already building up on account of the things that she is hiding from her husband. Rory seems unreal, talking like a much older child. Despite being only three, he didn’t speak like a child. My own kids used to surprise me at that age too, but this little chap correctly translated a French phrase, meaning, not in front of the child. And he isn’t even growing up in a bilingual household. We don’t see much of Caitlin, and Gemma’s colleagues, Lucy, Sophie and Brian. As a result, they all came out rather bland. Rachel was the only character who got a bit of a back story which enlivened her. On the other hand, Alex, a character who is very significant to the story, appears far more real, despite having the least visible presence in the story. I was slightly confused when the author allowed two women to use the phrase, the girl I used to be, from the title. I also thought the book could have been much shorter. All in all, I thought this one started well, but fumbled towards the end. I wasn’t too impressed with this one. Read Full & Detailed review at

After An unexpected run-in with a potential client, real estate agent Gemma decides to have dinner with him in hopes of gaining his business. After sharing too much wine, he helps her to her room, which seems like a helpful gesture. However, in the days that follow, she begins to receive threatening messages containing photos and items from that night that she does not remember. As she begins to uncover who this man really is, her past comes back to haunt her in an unexpected way. This book was easy to read and kept me turning the pages. If you enjoy a stalker plot with unanswered questions that keep you wanting to read more, I think that you will enjoy this one!

This book started a bit slow for me, but then it quickly became a page turner and I could barely put it down to go to work and the rest of my life. I definitely see how an innocent person could get swept up into a situation that makes them look really guilty. Scary!

3 stars. I believe it is my brains fault for not liking it more. Once the pieces started falling into place I made up my own ending and was let down when the book just fell flat on my idea. The plot is excellent, belongs in the psychological thriller category for sure. Gemma is a character you will root for and yell at for not doing what she should. The author does a great job balancing the thriller part with the normal life parts. Some of the secondary characters could have been defined more or played more of a role, sometimes it felt as though they were just decorations, like Brian. The ending was a bit abrupt, but then again I was expecting another layer of thriller. I will still highly recommend this book for anyone wanting a good puzzle.

This is definitely a page turner and not to be missed! Gemma Brogan is a busy woman. Married, with a small child, she does it all while her husband Joe stays at home and takes care of their boy. Gemma is exhausted and frustrated. When a handsome client comes to her real estate office looking for property, Gemma is more than happy to show him around. When they meet up by chance later, Gemma is thrilled to take him to dinner and hopefully make a sale. Things take an unexpected turn and soon Gemma is being bribed with explicit photos. Fearing she may lose everything, Gemma has no idea where to turn for help. I kept imagining myself in Gemma's position as I read this and I felt so bad for her. With social media and advanced technology, it is so easy to be victimized! This novel had a great plot and was filled with several twists and turns. I was never really sure which characters could be trusted until the very end! Definitely recommended!

I loved this novel. Mary Torjussen is quite the author. I thought it was a pretty fast read and it was quite interesting how Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. Will definitely recommend to my friends who love suspense/thrillers!

What a great Suspense Novel! I couldn't book the book down because each chapter reveals a little more with each page. This is my first book from this author, and I really enjoyed her style of writing, so it won't be my last. This may sound weird, but I love books with short chapters, makes me feel successful as I'm tearing through the book! Lol I finished this book withing 24 hours because I kept wanting more! If you love suspense, definitely pick up this book.

Mary Torjussen's "The Girl I Used To Be" missed a level of sophistication for me. This book was one I could put down and come back to without the drive of finding out what's next. Though not compelling, this was an entertaining read.

This was not my favorite book. The story was okay. I had trouble staying with the book. I would give this book 2 stars.

I loved my introduction to Mary Torjussen with Gone Without a Trace, so I dove into The Girl I Used to Be with complete confidence that it would pull me in and captivate me. Indeed, this was a powerful story that left me waiting for the other shoe to drop as Gemma's life was turned upside down by anonymous harassment and old wounds reopened by painful memories. The queen of plot twists once again takes a plot that seems straight forward on the surface and leads readers toward a thought-provoking conclusion. I am amazed at how the story transformed from what I expected it to be about to something that went deeper, all while still managing to be very suspenseful. Mary Torjussen knows how to hold her audience captive and it shows as she brings the threads of her story together with fantastic pacing and realistic characterization. There was not a single moment that I wanted to stop reading and say, "When is this going to go somewhere?" I knew from the first chapter that Gemma's story was leading to something explosive and mind-boggling and Mary Torjussen proved me right, and then some! Obviously, I'm dying for her next amazing novel! *ARC provided via First to Read in consideration for review*

The Girl I Used to Be was a solid 4. I felt very tense while I read this book wondering what would happen next. The main character, Gemma Brogan, was a likable character; although I haven’t been in her situations I could empathize with her fully and wanted the messages to stop! Gemma Brogan owns her own real estate company while her husband stays home to care for their three year old son, Rory. This worked out perfectly in the beginning but now poor Gemma is working 7 days a week and is missing her son grow up and is starting to feel stressed and a bit resentful of her husband being he favored parent. Gemma goes to a real estate conference and stays the night before; she is looking forward to a stress free night along in her hotel until she runs into a potential client she met a few weeks prior. David is charming, easy to talk to, a potential big sale and is also saving Gemma from talking to a colleague she would rather ignore. Gemma tells one little lie to her husband, she sticks with the quiet evening she initially planned for herself- an early night with room service not a night of dinner and too many drinks with a handsome, charming, SINGLE man, who she is hopefully turns into a potential home buyer. She wakes up the following morning very sick from drinks and not remembering much of the night before but the hangover is minimal in comparison to the nightmare she can’t seem to shake. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish, and will be keeping an eye out for future reads from Mary Torjussen and going back to read her debut novel, Gone Without a Trace. *** Thank you First to Read for providing me an ARC of The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen in exchange for my honest review.

I think that this would make a great beach read. Something you can put down and pick back up later. I liked it for its twists and turns but I found the narration to be a bit redundant. I found it to be a bit distracting from an otherwise entertaining and gripping read. I think that this book shows the potential of the author to be great and therefore I am going to be keeping my eye out for her.

I think that this book will be the book of the summer. It was extremely compelling and I loved the main character Gemma. She was definitely conflicted and damaged, yet strong in how she handled what she was dealing with. I could not put this book down and will be looking to reading all other books by the author. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read!

I enjoyed this one! It contained a good amount of twists that were not terribly unrealistic (as I tend to find a lot of twists in books unrealistic). The plot was enjoyable and the characters were well thought out. I have to admit I did kind of figure it out before I got to the end and I try not to do that to let myself be surprised, but this book was kind of easy to figure out. I would still recommend this to friends!

3.5 stars. This was an absorbing psychological thriller that had me castigated from beginning to end. There's not much I can say about the plot without spoiling it, but it involves threats from a mysterious stranger and a connection to events from the past. I really enjoy Mary Torjussen's writing style and liked the way this one turned out better than her last novel.

The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Tojussen grabbed me from the start. It is a psychological thriller that illustrates how things are not always what they seem and the long shadow of events from 15 years ago. It is also a great example of how social media can be used to harm people. Some folks have complained that the book was too slow but I didn't find it that way. It kept me involved from the start and as it rushed towards the ending I couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend it and will read other books by this author.

I had never read this author before. I really enjoyed this book. She was able to pull me in from the beginning and keep me interested. I wanted to know more the whole time. I look forward to her next book.

This book was perfectly fine. It had a perfectly fine mystery, perfectly fine characters, and a perfectly fine ending. I actually thought it was going to be twisty and surprising—there seemed to be hints of darker plot twists that never came to anything. I forgot it almost the minute I stopped reading it, and had to refresh my memory before writing this review. I’m not sorry I read it, but I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. 2.5/5 stars.

A life spiraling out of control… Owning a real estate company is hard work for a married woman and mother of a three year old but it was Gemma Brogan’s aspiration and a job she values. She has an arrangement with her husband, who stays at home to raise their son, which she sometimes regrets, she envies the time spent with their son that she seems to miss more and more of due to the demands of the job as the sales market is slow. All marriages are a give and take but compound that with lies and things can unravel quickly. Why the lies? We all tell the small lies, when we want time to ourselves and/or don’t want to deal with something in a particular moment, and those rarely cause harm. But when you actively seek to keep a secret from your partner and there are things you’re unhappy with in your marriage then everything spirals out of control and Gemma has something to hide from the husband that she loves: an indiscretion with a prospective client that has turned menacing. While in London for annual industry training Gemma had dinner with a charming man she had shown properties to before and she drinks too much and then doesn’t remember what happened afterwards. Soon packages, emails, and texts containing photographs, videos, and suggestive items begin arriving, including a recorded conversation where she seriously complains about her husband. What this person wants from her is not made apparent but the harassment increases in its intensity. Gemma has to keep this away from her husband for she could lose her family if she doesn’t. Paranoia rapidly sets in as she tries to resolve the situation alone; she questions everything that happens and the motives of everyone around her. The loss of control takes a toll on her physically and doesn’t go unnoticed, it causes her to reminisce about another time in her past when everything had fallen apart. Has karma come a calling? This psychological suspense thriller was unputdownable, the way the author pens the characters draws you deeper and deeper into their lives. The reader is trying to figure out what is going on as much as the main protagonist: a distraught woman with relatable flaws willing, needing to fight for what she loves. She’s in a nightmare scenario that could cost her everything, the conspiracy that’s working against her is wicked when revealed; a karma comes full circle but whose karma? There are multiple twists to this engrossing story which is set in England so there are British phrasings. An advanced reading copy was obtained from the publisher’s First to Read program.

A great and fun thriller. Had me guessing all the way

This book didn't grab my interest I think due to repetition of Gemma's thoughts of discontent with her life in Part 1. I get that she worked long hours and didn't get to see her son. There was nothing likable about her selfish and lazy stay at home husband. Part 2 was stronger and faster in pacing of the action but I was checked out of caring what happened to any of the characters by that time. It felt terrible as a reader to be so turned off by the characters. This is the strongest adverse reaction I've had in a long time.

This book started out slow, but once I got about halfway in, I couldn't put it down. Some of twists were a little bit predictable, but still a great read!

I have never read a book by Mary Torjussen but I am a fan now! I always know a psychological thriller is good when I can’t forget the characters and I don’t want to put the book down. Sometimes I dream about the characters. In The Girl I Used To Be, Gemma Brogman and her husband Joe have a little boy Rory. Joe is a stay-at-home-Dad while Gemma works long hours, seven days a week as a real estate agent. One day Gemma shows a nice looking man (David) a few apartments. Then she heads to London a few days/weeks later for a conference and who is in the restaurant of the hotel but David. He walks her to her room since she is super tipsy and she wakes in the morning not remembering the night before. She soon starts receiving weird messages and photos that she doesn’t remember being taken. Who is blackmailing her? And who is this David? Part one of the book moves along smoothly with small things happening but I never felt like it dragged. We learn about Gemma and her husband and we meet her co-workers. We know Gemma is not happy that Joe stays home all the time now and wishes he would go back to work so she could take some time off to spend with Rory. We learn that Joe wants to get out more with his friends and I think he secretly is jealous of Gemma that she is out all the time. Part two really kick up the psychological warfare and reveals what is really happening. I had a very hard time putting this book down. I wanted a stormy day so I could curl up on the couch and read it in one sitting. I will be recommending this book to all my friends and family who enjoy a good psychological thriller.

Wowzer what a book! Thank you to First To Read and Penguin Random House Publishers for the ARC of The Girl I Used to Be. This one is a page turner for sure. It’s the best example I’ve seen on how social media can be used to torment someone and send them into a pure panic. The past isn’t really the past once it appears on the internet. This story is a really good mystery thriller with a little bit of creepy that won’t let you put the book down!

2.5 stars (rounded up to 3) The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Tojussen started out with a lot of promise but I found it slow and predictable for the most of the first half of the book. Something about the cadence of the writing itself kept throwing me out of the story. The second half definitely moved at a brisker pace, however if you're a reader that reads a lot of this genre (domestic suspense) none of the reveals are particularly surprising and the ending felt rushed after a slow burn to that point. It was light and had entertaining moments

Suspenseful book that kept my interest. You may figure out the plot twist a bit earlier than the author wanted , but it was still entertaining. The ending was tied up rather abruptly and a bit too easily , but I still recommend this book.

I struggled with this one. The first part was just very slow. I understand you have to build the story and the characters, but man it felt like a slog. The only thing that really kept me reading was several reviews that said it picked up in part 2. And they were right, the second part was definitely better than the first. A bit predictable but still good. Even with the flaws, I’m rating it 3 stars.

This claustrophobic thriller really gets its pacing right at the halfway point, when we get additional perspectives and the plot thickens. Until that point, it's a bit slow, as Gemma meanders through jealousy at her husband and son's relationship that blinds her to the full extent to which she is being threatened with incriminating photos, videos, and mementos from a night at a hotel that she can't remember. Some of this seems a bit implausible given what happens to her in the prologue, which purportedly has her so on guard she sleeps with the lights on. Overall, though, the office and family dynamics are very interesting, and we see the web where she's caught and yell at her to get out when she doesn't, like a thriller audience familiar with the tropes. A strong argument for stiff penalties and investigations and speaking out for these types of incidents, as getting away with it empowers scum to push further and further, so future victims might have much more permanent damage.

A great psychological thriller. Started out slow but once it picked up I couldn't put it down! Suspenseful with a few twists and turns. A very unique story that I definitely recommend!

4.5/5 - This is a cracking good psychological thriller that I inhaled over the course of 2 days. It's atmospheric and suffused with a level of ever increasing dread until events come to a page turning, crashing denouement. Gemma is the sole breadwinner of her family and is off at an overnight conference when she has dinner with a client and probably has one too many drinks. She feels terrible the next morning, probably way more terrible than one too many drinks would account for, but she writes it off to her just getting older until she receives a picture of herself appearing to kiss the client in the hall outside her hotel room. She can't remember this or any of the other "mementos" that start pouring in to her phone and email. Desperately trying to figure out what's going on before she has to come clean to her husband about what she can remember of the client dinner, she starts to tie events to a terrible night that happened during her final day of high school 15 years earlier. An imaginative, unique plot with developed interesting characters, The Girl I Used to Be will not be the last Mary Torjussen book I read.

This book was definitely better than Gone Without A Trace, the author's first book, but I wouldn't rush out to buy this one either. I found it rather irritating that the main character kept talking about how much she didn't get to spend with her son. Part I did seem to drag a bit and it did pick up in Part II, once you really started to get into Rachel and Gemma's story. I felt that we should have had a little more of the story with Alex in the beginning because the one reveal was kind of lost on me. Overall, it was an okay story.

I absolutely loved this book. I read it in less than 24 hours. It’s an excellent thriller and also deals with some very timely topics. Great for book clubs.

Started out a little slow but it didn't take too long for the suspense to grab me. Lots of twists & turns that keep you hooked until the end! Thank you First to Read for the advanced copy.

This was a fabulous read. It was one that once started just can’t be put down and I love that in a book!

ks Browse ? Community ? Search books 11 Debbie Krenzer Debbie Krenzer's Reviews > The Girl I Used to Be The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen 12691311 Debbie Krenzer's review Mar 28, 2018 · edit it was amazing bookshelves: first-read-wins, ebooks WOW! WOW! WOW! This book took only a short time for me to really get interested in it. And, when it took off, WOW!, it took me on a whirlwind of a story. There were so many plot twists, the author should be looking to some whiplash lawsuits. HA! JK Seriously, I am still shaking, thinking that dude could be out. He's evil incarnate. I do have to say, this was the second book by this author that I have read. I went back and read my review on the first one and remembered the book. I do remember Hannah getting on my nerves, a lot. However, I can say that I will remember this one for it's plot twists and just the overall suspense that I lived in while reading the book. Don't start this book at bedtime! Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read program for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

I was blown away by this book. Part One is a bit slow but it totally paid off in Part Two. It has some minor twists as well as some solid writing. Trigger Warning: sexual assault

I had a hard time getting into this book at first. Something about the writing just really bothered me. About halfway through the book, I started to really like it. I actually guessed a few of the twists (though I thought I was likely wrong, ha!), but there were still many things that surprised me. I thought the ending was done well and interesting. I will be reading more Mary Torjussen books in the future!

The Girl I Used to Be was a predictable book but I couldn’t put it down. Gemma was a likable character and the story flowed nicely. I’ll definitely be reading more by Mary Torjussen.

To start with I thought this was a much better book than Gone Without a Trace, the previous book by Mary Torjussen that I had read. That said, I thought the book was probably about 30 pages too long. Gemma is being harassed by someone she thought was going to be a client. This is coming on top of some frustrations in her marriage, her working herself to exhaustion, missing time with her child, and not having fully dealt with an incident in her past. I thought the author did a good job of pulling all of those things together and I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

The Girl I Used to Be was unusual to me. I felt like I had read this plot before but there were also enough differences that I still felt compelled to read it as fast as I could. Gemma had a really upsetting event in her past that, years later, comes back to haunt her in a big way. Through all the twists and turns of the story, you want her to come clean, take her lumps and let the chips fall where they may. But, at the same time, you can also understand why she's doing what she's doing. I really liked the ending and felt that the author, Mary Torjussen, did a good job of keeping things interesting. I would definitely recommend reading this one!

I liked this book a lot, even though it was a bit predictable and the ending felt kind of forced. It's a very well paced thrilled and Gemma is a likeable heroine, even when she makes bad choices, bc you know she's in a tough situation and always tries to do the right thing. A nice quick read, and you won't wan to put it down. I would recommend the book, and I will definitely ready more from Mary Torjussen. Thank you to the First to Read program.

This is a really strange phenomenon for me - I found this book to be pretty predictable, but I could not stop reading it! It's a easy-to-consume thriller written in a way that makes it difficult to put down.

I just finished this book. I started it this morning and haven't beem able to put it down. The pace was very fast moving. There were twists that i did not see coming. I really enjoyed Gemma. She was a strong heroine who is dealing with her past, her family, jer co-workers and a customer who is stalking and threatening her. I would recommend this book and will definitely read more by this author.


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