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Extended Audio Sample The Girl She Used to Be Audiobook, 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: August 2012 ISBN: 9781469220192
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

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

    People

  • “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!”

    Booklist

  • 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 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 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 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 ~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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 1/6/2014

    " A very quick, light read. This book is about a 26 year old in the witness protection program. There is drama, suspense, and romance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hannah | 1/6/2014

    " Really enjoyed the book. Quick, easy read. Love story with some action and suspense. My favorite part was the Billy Idol excerpt. I liked how observant and witty she was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi | 1/6/2014

    " Perfect summer read for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 12/12/2013

    " Was glad I picked this up when working a few night shifts- read the whole thing! Liked the writing style as well as the story. Impressive for a first time author- hope he writes another soon! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Olivia | 12/2/2013

    " fast, enjoyable read -- i'd give it 3.5 if i could. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naimi | 11/27/2013

    " It was a fast read and a good plot. I wasn't crazy about the writing and at times, it was a little cheesy. I wish it had been a little better written because the story itself was good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 10/20/2013

    " This book was a page turner! I liked it-read it in one day!! Would be a good book club selection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trish Hobson | 9/16/2013

    " I really, really liked this book and was surprised by how captivated I was by it. During the first 20 pages, I didn't think I would like it, but it quickly pulled me in and I didn't want it to end. It's a quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Lou | 8/9/2013

    " Loved this book, read it in one sitting (stayed up too late). After the first few pages, where I had my doubts, I was completely hooked. An unusual love story with original characters. The woman tells the story and it is compelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shareen Wornson | 6/26/2013

    " Not a deep read, but pleasant. I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 5/6/2013

    " I really enjoyed the story and the relationship between the characters. However, I wish the ending had been allowed for more closure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 4/6/2013

    " Enjoyed this book. Found myself very invested in the main character and my heart broke for her "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheacatt | 4/3/2013

    " Ok, I finished this in one day. Book didn't come alive until Jonathan arrived on the scene, then it became fantastic. I wish he had made this a longer story, so much more he could have elaborated on. Hoping for a sequel! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerimelban | 3/18/2013

    " This was such a good book!! Some parts seemed like a documentary but the plot was rich and suspensful although not in a scary way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 3/11/2013

    " I read The Exceptions first & thought this was wonderful to fill in her side of their time together. I like Cristofano's style if writing, too... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey Mack | 9/15/2012

    " A bit formulaic but overall a very good effort for a first-time novelist. Very enjoyable, a quick read, and better than average. I would read another book from this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lyna Mace | 9/10/2012

    " REally enjoyed this! Couldn't put it down till I finished it. The ending was a little sudden though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marian Ferguson | 8/29/2012

    " Face paced, quick read for anyone who has ever wondered a bout the witness protection program. "

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About the Author
David Cristofano has earned degrees in government and 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 McSweeney’s. He currently works in the Washington, D.C., area, where he lives with his wife, son, and daughter. The Girls She Used to Be is his first novel.
About the Narrator

Emily Beresford earned her BA from Green Mountain College in Vermont, with concentrations in creative writing, music, and English. She returned to her Midwest roots after calling Vermont home for eleven years. She now lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband and lovely daughter.