Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, by April Henry

I have one of April Henry's books, Girl, Stolen in my classroom - I've never read it, but it was a crowd-pleaser among my girls this year. There was constantly a list of kids waiting to check it out, and now, after having read The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, I understand why!

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die opens with a girl coming to, knowing nothing about herself or her whereabouts, and over-hearing that she's supposed to be killed. Talk about starting in the center of the action! The novel follows this girl (whose name turns out to be Cady Scott) through her quest to figure out who she is, what happened to her family, and why a group of mysterious men (and a woman) want her dead. Despite claims that she's mentally unstable, a boy named Ty believes Cady's story, determines that she's in a state of dissociative fugue - meaning she essentially blocked all of her memory as a result of a traumatic event - and helps her find her family.

Similarly to in The 5th Wave, but in an entirely different way, The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die made me think about how easy it is to just believe things people tell you, and how hard it is to determine the truth. For instance, Cady's tormentors convince her that she killed a man and that her brother is dead...neither of which turn out to be true. This more psychological aspect of the novel was really interesting.

I now have to go back and read Girl, Stolen and Henry's newer novel, The Night She Disappeared. I can understand why my students love her work - this novel was action packed and it seemed like no words were wasted...every detail was essential, and left the reader with a pretty compact book with none of the boring, distracting descriptive paragraphs. Plus, the chapters were pretty short which is always a selling point with my kids. I can't wait to read more from April Henry!


  1. Thank you! My goal is always to write a page-turner. I would love to be reluctant reader's gateway drug. I also strive for accuracy - so the bioweapons stuff in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is accurate (although I invented a slightly more virulent strain), the information about being blind in Girl, Stolen was reviewed by people who were blind, and I interviewed a dive team member and used to work at a pizza parlor - which informed The Night Disappeared.

  2. Thank you for your comment! My students (and me, of course!!) absolutely LOOOOVE hearing from the authors we read :)

  3. I was also interested in your comments on The Fifth Wave, a book that's in my TBR pile. Which is actually above five piles, all in danger of toppling.

    I do answer every email I get in case one of your students ever wants to do that.