The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe – A book review

Who knows how long it has been since I wrote a review? Actually I know, it has been almost 6 months. But here I am with one. So read on to find how The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe turned out for me.

the Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe book review cover

About The Girls I’ve Been

Book Name: The Girls I’ve Been

Author: Tess Sharpe

Genre: Fiction – ThrillerYoung adult

Characters: Nora and Lee O’Mallery, Wes, Iris

Setting: Clear Creek, CaliforniaThe USA

Have you read The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe? What is your first book of the year? What is your favorite con artist book? Let us talk. Share on X

Plot Summary of The Girls I’ve Been

Nora O’Malley and her friends were not prepared for being held hostages when they went to the bank that morning. Neither were the robbers prepared for these normal looking teens to foil their heist. They were especially not prepared for Nora to be an ex con artist.

Before she became Nora O’Malley, she was a number of other girls – a prop for her mother to lure gullible men into their sweetheart trap. She was raised to be a con artist herself until she escaped.

Did the hostages survive? Did the bank heist succeed? You will have to read The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe to know more.

Book review of The Girls I’ve Been

The Girls I’ve Been follows a multiple timelines – a bank heist in the present and Nora’s numerous cons in the others. While I loved the present timeline, the narrative style of some of the other timelines didn’t sit well with me. Too distracting from the heist part, if I may.

I really enjoyed the strong and complex background stories of each of these characters and their complicated family dynamics.

The Girls I’ve Been had so many beautiful and strong relationship angles. I loved that the romance (Sapphic or any other kind) didn’t entirely take over any of them, and the platonic friendship was exceptional.

I especially adored Nora’s very dependable and devoted sister Lee, the only adult in The Girls I’ve Been who deserved to be with these teens.

The Girls I’ve Been is full of strong women and smart girls, and I hope you will love Iris as much as I did. And another yay for the strong LGBTQIA+ and good mental health representations.

What worked for me

  • The Girls I’ve Been is a fast paced young adult book that maintains the action and suspense until the end.
  • I loved the friendship between the three teens as well as the beautiful Sapphic relationship between Nora and Iris.
  • Morally grey characters are my favorites and grey characters who try hard to be good are the best.

What may have been better

  • The Girls I’ve Been has quite a few flashbacks that kinda slowed down the pace. I felt the narrative style of the flashback became annoying after a while.

Content warning

Child abuse (mental, physical & sexual), surviving said abuse, domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, More from CW from the author’s site.

Bottom line

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe is a perfect page turner that you will enjoy if you are into young adults. It has great representations and MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS. Can’t wait for the Netflix adaptation with Millie Brown Bobby!

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Let’s chat

Have you read The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe? What is your first book of the year? What is your favorite con artist book? Let us talk.


  1. claire @ clairefy

    I’ve never heard of this one before, but I did enjoy Sadie, so I may check this one out after reading your review. I do find, though, that sometimes nonlinear/nontraditional narratives for storytelling between flashbacks and the present day can become confusing when not executed well. One of my first reads of this year was a nonfiction book called The Ugly Truth, which was about the rise and detriments of Facebook.

    claire @ clairefy

  2. Kal @ Reader Voracious

    Oooooh this one sounds really good and you recommending it to fans of Sadie kind of solidifies it for me. Great review!

  3. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    The premise is so interesting and seems like such a turn-about on the expected. I think the flashbacks would get tiresome but it still sounds like a page-turning read.

    • Gayathri

      Yes it was a good page turner!


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Gayathri has been reviewing books since 2010. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she works as a writer and a digital marketer. Head over to meet me!