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Extended Audio Sample The Girl She Used to Be, by David Cristofano Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,825 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Cristofano Narrator: Emily Beresford Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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, but the program took Melody’s name, her home, her family, and ultimately her innocence.

Now, twenty years later and still on the run, she’s been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others. But the one person she longs to be is Melody Grace McCartney. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in yet another new town, she’s stunned by a man who accosts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to find her, knows her, the real her, and it’s a thrill Melody can’t resist.

Defying the feds, she goes willingly with him. To the Justice Department, she’s nothing more than a pawn in the government’s war against the Bovaro family. But, as dangerous as Jonathan is, he presents her with the chance of a lifetime—the chance to embrace her past and present and choose a future all her own.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Intense…The emotions of a woman caught in Melody’s unlikely scenario ring deliciously, scarily true.”


  • “Something special.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Intense, romantic debut…Cristofano’s mad love scenario sizzles like garlic in hot olive oil.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This is a compulsively readable, skillfully constructed first novel with well-drawn characters and a plot that twists and turns to what seems the best possible conclusion, marking Cristofano as a writer to watch!”


  • A 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best First Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lucinda | 2/18/2014

    " The Girl She Used To Be (Grand Central 2009) is the story of Melody Grace McCartney, a witness with her parents to a mob hit by Tony Bovaro when she was six years old. After 20 years in the Federal Witness Protection Program, living under eight different aliases, Melody no longer knows who she really is. Alone since her parents were killed 12 years earlier, Melody craves connection and stability, but knows she is doomed to living under a series of forgettable aliases in unmemorable small towns across the country. The only comfort Melody has is her love for the certainty of mathematics, and her powerful baby monitor receiver that picks up the sound of a family she will never have. Bored with her current persona, Melody pretends to get a threatening phone call in order to connect with her caseworker, her only constant in the last 20 years. But retirement has given her a new bodyguard, US Deputy Marshall Sean Douglas. During their journey from Maryland to Wisconsin, Melody, now renamed Melissa, shares her life story with Sean, revealing the girl she used to be and never can be again. Then Tony Bovaro’s son Jonathan tracks her down and offers a future she never imagined. This compulsively readable debut novel was a finalist for the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. David Cristofano page at SYKM "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Renae | 2/7/2014

    " This book is so well written. Such a great story. In the beginning, I thought to myself "this story is wayyyyy out there and hardly believable", but that was trivial to the pull I felt to this author's writing. There is no excess word in this book. It's a short story; one that I enjoyed so much I wished it to be longer. My heart was aching as I thought of how this story would end. I assumed it would not give me the perfect ending I had longed for, but the author came up with the perfect ending afterall (just not the one I imagined!). Why can't every book be this enjoyable?! It's really a wild and frivolous story that would not be believable without this author's expert writing. I now feel I should go back and lower scores on previously read books to balance out this 5 star score . . . we'll see. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Janille | 1/10/2014

    " I liked the plot and the characters in this story - the author left a few gaps in the story line and in the character development that I wish he had done more work on, but it was a good story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by ~Brandy~ | 1/8/2014

    " I enjoyed the beginning of this book. It had some sarcasm, which is my second language. It also had some humor and I liked the story line. Then the dreaded cliche happened followed by an abrupt ending. I mean, all of my questions were answered by the end of the book, but it went a little too fast for me. I was left wanting. "

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