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The Girl You Thought I Was

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No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret-at least not one that she's deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she's shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it neve No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret-at least not one that she's deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she's shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is. But when she's caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, the image Morgan has carefully constructed starts to crumble. She's determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth about her sticky fingers, but that's easier said than done...Especially once she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering. Soon, Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth or admit that she's lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she's falling for.


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No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret-at least not one that she's deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she's shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it neve No one looking at Morgan Kemper would think she had a secret-at least not one that she's deeply ashamed of. To everyone she meets, she comes across as sweet, pretty, and put together. But Morgan knows that looks can be deceiving. For over a year, she's shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is. But when she's caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, the image Morgan has carefully constructed starts to crumble. She's determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth about her sticky fingers, but that's easier said than done...Especially once she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering. Soon, Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth or admit that she's lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she's falling for.

30 review for The Girl You Thought I Was

  1. 5 out of 5

    Camila Roy ••RoyIsReading••

    RATING:4/5 e-ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review I ended up liking this a lot more than I expected. Having read Rebecca Phillips’s previous book These Things I've Done, my expectations weren't that high. I thought that particular book was average and lacking depth. This one, however, is the complete opposite. For over a year, Morgan Kemper has shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is. When RATING:4/5 e-ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review I ended up liking this a lot more than I expected. Having read Rebecca Phillips’s previous book These Things I've Done, my expectations weren't that high. I thought that particular book was average and lacking depth. This one, however, is the complete opposite. For over a year, Morgan Kemper has shoplifted countless pieces of clothing and makeup. Each time she tells herself it will be the last, and each time it never is. When she's caught and sentenced to thirty hours of community service, Morgan's determined to complete her punishment without her friends discovering the truth but that's easier said than done. Then she meets Eli, the charming, handsome nephew of the owner of the charity shop where Morgan is volunteering. Soon, Morgan is faced with an impossible decision: continue to conceal the truth or admit that she's lied to everyone in her life, including the boy she's falling for. I got attached to this story from the first chapter. It opens up with Morgan successfully shoplifting something. Then, the author describes how the act makes her feel afterwards. As you would expect, it's a mixture of guilt and regret. I have no firsthand experience with shoplifting or stealing but I can imagine the reasons people have for doing it. In this case, it wasn't an issue of money but revenge. When I learned about the factors that pushed the main character to adopt this behavior, I empathized with her. Her actions are not justifiable, of course. As one of the characters said: ''How can you be so selfish? Do you have any idea how much shoplifting hurts stores? They have to raise their prices. They have to spend extra money on security'' It's true. Stealing is a selfish, horrible act. But when it becomes a compulsion or a habit that you can't seem to shake, it can be referred as an addiction or a vice. In cases like this, professional help is required. As the story progresses, Morgan starts to realize that her actions affect those around her (her dad, sister, friends). She was really set in her ways in the beginning, making not-so-good decisions like lying to her loved ones. But she came to her senses in the end. I loved Eli and Morgan's relationship. I'm always afraid that romance is going to overshadow the point/purpose of a story, instead of complementing or contributing to it. This was not a problem here. Maybe there's still time to show him that the girl he thought I was is exactly the girl I'm hoping to become I love when the title of the book is mentioned in the story. Is that just me? Overall, I found this be a very unique story. The ending made me tear up a bit :( Definitely recommend it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thamy

    Morgan has been having it hard lately, now her mother left home for another man and her sister is away in college the only thing that makes her feel better is shoplifting. But when she's caught and meets Eli at the place she had to volunteer, her secret gets in the way of a real relationship with him. Phillips is a great writer. This is the third book I read and each of them had not only quality but also meaning; I really like how she focuses on family without it being the only thing, and it's al Morgan has been having it hard lately, now her mother left home for another man and her sister is away in college the only thing that makes her feel better is shoplifting. But when she's caught and meets Eli at the place she had to volunteer, her secret gets in the way of a real relationship with him. Phillips is a great writer. This is the third book I read and each of them had not only quality but also meaning; I really like how she focuses on family without it being the only thing, and it's always a different issue. The thing is that this was the less exciting of the three I've read. I can't can't what exactly went wrong. It wasn't the pacing, it wasn't that the main girl was a thief—I've never stolen a thing in my life but I could still relate to the mess Morgan created for herself. I just think Phillips has been more entertaining. Still, the themes here were great and diverse. Eli used to be a hockey player but an accident forced him to rebuild his life, just like Morgan had to rebuild hers without her mother. Phillips didn't run away either from all the drama a divorce ensues. Really, it's excellent material for book club discussions, for example. One side story I didn't like was Morgan's friend. I mean, the story itself was okay, one of her friends is in love with the other, who doesn't seem to return the feelings. It's only that it had absolutely nothing to do with the main plot, it was distracting and I couldn't care less actually. I guess this review is also all over the place. But I did like the book, I even wonder if I'd have enjoyed it more hadn't I expected more for knowing this writer. If you want well-written YA, this is a sure thing. Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Rebecca Phillips

    So yeah, I wrote a book about a teen shoplifter. This story was originally meant to be dark and kinda twisty, but it ended up being more about friendship dynamics and how quickly they can change, creating a new normal after your family has been ripped apart, and finding romance in unexpected places. I hope you all enjoy it!

  4. 3 out of 5

    Dahlia

    Enjoyed this one a lot! The voice reminded me SO much of Liz Czukas, a personal fave, that I literally forgot it wasn't one of hers at a couple of points; if you're also a fan, definitely grab this! I'm psyched anytime a YA does something new, and since I've never seen one discuss kleptomania before (though IIRC it didn't use the word, a choice I am curious about), this was a particularly interesting read. Longer RTC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Morgan had a dirty little secret, which she thought she hid well, and she did, until she was caught. Now Morgan had to battle to preserve her "good girl" image, while earning back her father's trust and fighting the compulsion to steal. • Pro: Phillips captured those emotions related to Morgan's addiction so well. I experienced her highs and her lows, the adrenal rush, and the guilt that followed. It pained me to watch Morgan struggle, and I was hoping she could get to the root of her problem bef Morgan had a dirty little secret, which she thought she hid well, and she did, until she was caught. Now Morgan had to battle to preserve her "good girl" image, while earning back her father's trust and fighting the compulsion to steal. • Pro: Phillips captured those emotions related to Morgan's addiction so well. I experienced her highs and her lows, the adrenal rush, and the guilt that followed. It pained me to watch Morgan struggle, and I was hoping she could get to the root of her problem before she lost everything. • Pro: Rita was a really wonderful character. She found beauty in the pain, and I am happy people like her existed in this world. She was someone, who knew the whole truth about Morgan, and still believed in her, and I loved her for that. • Pro: Eli, dear sweet Eli. Eli sort of lost a lot and decided he wouldn't wallow in self pity, and this made me want to grab hold of him and hug him forever. I loved his optimism and his ability to look for the good parts. He was really special and yet flawed, but his flaws were forgivable, because he had such a big heart, was so kind, and was sort of an all-around good guy. • Pro: The romance was quite wonderful. I think Morgan and Eli complimented each other well, and they found their calm in each other. • Pro: The characters in the book were so messy and real. They had struggles and shortcomings, and they had to work through all these things. Though they had their own issues, they were all still there for Morgan when she really needed them, and I appreciated how they tried to support Morgan during her recovery. • Pro: Though I was sometimes disappointed in Morgan, I was always sympathetic towards her. I have to commend Phillips on this, because it not easy to make people care about a character, who at first seems self-centered, selfish, and self-serving. As Phillips pulled the layers away, we learned a lot more about Morgan, and I found myself hoping things would improve for her, that she would make better choices, and that her family could find some healing. Overall: A compelling and realistic portrait of a girl in crisis, who I hoped would be able to put her life back together. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Morgan Kemper has a secret. Outwardly, she is smart, pretty, and has a solid group of friends. But inside, Morgan is a mess. She is so angry that her mother had an affair and left the family to go off with the new man. Since her mother left, Morgan has developed a new hobby. She shoplifts. She started small with lip gloss from the drugstore but, with knowledge gained online, now she is stealing clothes from mall stores. She feels guilty but she can't seem to stop. Then she is caught stealing $186 Morgan Kemper has a secret. Outwardly, she is smart, pretty, and has a solid group of friends. But inside, Morgan is a mess. She is so angry that her mother had an affair and left the family to go off with the new man. Since her mother left, Morgan has developed a new hobby. She shoplifts. She started small with lip gloss from the drugstore but, with knowledge gained online, now she is stealing clothes from mall stores. She feels guilty but she can't seem to stop. Then she is caught stealing $186 sunglasses from Nordstroms. Her father is called and, since they believe she is a first-time offender, she's given the option of completing an online course and doing 30 hours of community service. Her dad finds her an opportunity to volunteer at a thrift store run by one of his former co-workers. At the thrift store, Morgan meets Eli. She tells him that she's volunteering because it will look good on her college applications. The two become friends and even begin a romance. All the while, Morgan is keeping this big secret from him. He tells her all about the accident that ended his promising hockey career and about his current interest in horticulture but she shares just the smallest bits of her life. At home, her father and sister are encouraging her to give her mother a chance, to listen to what she has to say. Morgan is still so angry with her that she isn't willing to give her a chance. Things deteriorate even more when her friends find out about her shoplifting which changes their relationship. Then Eli finds out and that relationship blows up too. This was an intriguing story about a girl who makes bad decision after bad decision. It was almost painful to read. It does have a hopeful ending though as she begins to rebuild her relationships with her mother, friends and Eli.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The Girl You Thought I Was is a standalone Young Adult contemporary romance. But it is also a YA book that deals with a serious issue. The narrator is 17 year old Morgan. It is Summer Break before her senior year of high school. Morgan has major family drama and now lives with her dad. She has resorted to shoplifting. The premise of this book was interesting. I liked that we got to actually witness Morgan shoplifting, even though it made me super anxious. I liked Morgan's relationships with her fri The Girl You Thought I Was is a standalone Young Adult contemporary romance. But it is also a YA book that deals with a serious issue. The narrator is 17 year old Morgan. It is Summer Break before her senior year of high school. Morgan has major family drama and now lives with her dad. She has resorted to shoplifting. The premise of this book was interesting. I liked that we got to actually witness Morgan shoplifting, even though it made me super anxious. I liked Morgan's relationships with her friends and sister. And I was fascinated by what happened with her mom. I also enjoyed the store where she volunteered. And I liked Eli. The beginning was a bit slow for me. There wasn't one particular thing that was wrong with this book. I just wanted more. The second half of the book did get better for me. But overall I wish that this had been a book that I could not put down. Thanks to edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to read this book.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Amber (Books of Amber)

    I’ve decided that I love Rebecca Phillips’ writing and I’ve put her on my auto-buy author list. That’s right, it’s official. I loved the book she released last year, These Things I’ve Done, and as soon as I saw that The Girl You Thought I Was was available to review, I had to nab it. And it definitely didn’t disappoint. Rebecca Phillips has a way of writing characters that makes you fall in love with them. Morgan is a shoplifter, and societal norms say you should hate her for that, but when her I’ve decided that I love Rebecca Phillips’ writing and I’ve put her on my auto-buy author list. That’s right, it’s official. I loved the book she released last year, These Things I’ve Done, and as soon as I saw that The Girl You Thought I Was was available to review, I had to nab it. And it definitely didn’t disappoint. Rebecca Phillips has a way of writing characters that makes you fall in love with them. Morgan is a shoplifter, and societal norms say you should hate her for that, but when her backstory is unravelled you can’t help but feel for her. Her parents’ divorce affected her massively, and despite the crimes she has committed, she is a good person who is trying to be better. I thought she was a fantastic protagonist. I loved Morgan’s relationship with her father and her sister. Morgan lives alone with her father and her cat, and the father/daughter bonding was one of the best parts of the book. The relationship between Morgan and Eli was also lovely. Their progression felt natural and really sweet. I didn’t like that the book fell into the Second Act Breakup trope, but whatever. I loved it anyway. This book confirms what I thought after reading Phillips’ previous book, and that is that she writes fantastic relationships whether they’re platonic or romantic. This is where her skills truly shine. I’m definitely going to have to go back and read the author’s backlog, because I feel like I’m going to love all of her books. And I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!

  9. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves 💕 books📖, cats😻 and naps🛏

    After Morgan is caught shoplifting, she’s sentenced to community service in a charity thrift store where she meets Eli, the owner’s perfect nephew. Unable to tell her friends, Morgan says she’s volunteering for college applications. At home with her newly single father, she shuns her mother’s calls. Secrets can only stay hidden for so long and Morgan fears her life will implode when others find out. THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS is an important introduction to why some people shoplift as a response After Morgan is caught shoplifting, she’s sentenced to community service in a charity thrift store where she meets Eli, the owner’s perfect nephew. Unable to tell her friends, Morgan says she’s volunteering for college applications. At home with her newly single father, she shuns her mother’s calls. Secrets can only stay hidden for so long and Morgan fears her life will implode when others find out. THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS is an important introduction to why some people shoplift as a response to life stressors. Morgan gets good grades, doesn’t drink and stays out of trouble into, her home life implodes. Anger isn’t an excuse for stealing, but insight into how she chose that pathway. I understood why she’d want to hide that from her friends, shame and embarrassment. I’ve worked with teens with similar issues. I thought her path toward insight felt authentic. Part romance, part friendship, part family and part self-discovery THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS is an excellent contemporary read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah {Literary Meanderings}

    Review soon!

  11. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this free book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Having never read a book about a main character who has kleptomania was really refreshing. Not only that, but Morgan was a character I could get behind. She makes mistakes, but she has that same fire, that same heart, as I do. I could really identify with her and her struggles. The Girl You Thought I Was is a book about journeys and forgiveness. It's a book that celebrates the joy (Disclaimer: I received this free book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Having never read a book about a main character who has kleptomania was really refreshing. Not only that, but Morgan was a character I could get behind. She makes mistakes, but she has that same fire, that same heart, as I do. I could really identify with her and her struggles. The Girl You Thought I Was is a book about journeys and forgiveness. It's a book that celebrates the joy in the journey - the mistakes, the detours, and the necessity for company. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  12. 3 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS by Rebecca Phillips follows Morgan Kemper and her struggles to find herself after she is caught shoplifting a pair of designer sunglasses. The thing is, that wasn’t Morgan’s first time doing it and she can’t help it if it isn’t her last. She knows it’s wrong and she sometimes can’t stand herself for doing it, but it’s become an addiction and one she finally has to face the repercussions of. Now that she’s sentenced to thirty hours of community service, Morgan finds her THE GIRL YOU THOUGHT I WAS by Rebecca Phillips follows Morgan Kemper and her struggles to find herself after she is caught shoplifting a pair of designer sunglasses. The thing is, that wasn’t Morgan’s first time doing it and she can’t help it if it isn’t her last. She knows it’s wrong and she sometimes can’t stand herself for doing it, but it’s become an addiction and one she finally has to face the repercussions of. Now that she’s sentenced to thirty hours of community service, Morgan finds herself volunteering at a thrift store, planning to lay low until completing her dues. That is until she meets the owner’s nephew, Eli, and Morgan is faced with the challenging decision of keeping the truth from everyone around her or exposing herself with the risk of losing her friends and the boy she’s falling for. After reading --- and loving --- Rebecca Phillips’ other novel, THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, I knew I had to review this! Phillips’ writing style is so raw and relatable which is something I adore about her novels. Even though we should be annoyed with the petty shoplifting Morgan commits (and trust me, you do get a bit mad), the way Phillips portrays Morgan’s thoughts has the readers empathizing for her as the novel progresses. At one point, I didn’t even want her to reveal the truth because of how much it could ruin her happiness. I do have to say though, it was interesting to see the depths behind theft and how it may not be because you want something, but that the satisfaction you get when stealing means much more than the item. Even if we as readers don’t agree with the act itself, it does give us a better understanding on Morgan’s mindset and how she responds to certain situations. She may have made a lot of mistakes as the novel went on, but it just highlights the character development you see towards the end which is always something to admire. I also loved the relationship she had with Eli because, let’s be real, they were adorable! They had such lovely chemistry and stood by one another through other tough circumstances they faced. I enjoyed getting to know Eli’s backstory and it made him an interesting character and not just “the love-interest.” I also liked how the romance wasn’t overstepping the message of the story; instead complimenting the events and two main characters. Speaking of characters, I thought that Morgan’s friends were also really fun to read from, but the one’s that stood out to me the most were her family. Morgan’s home life is kind of sticky because her mom left them after having an affair, so that is brought up a lot in the story. I think key people though were her dad and sister. They were really the undying support system in her life and brought some cute (and super real) scenes. There’s even her adorable cat, Fergus, whom you can’t help but love --- even if you’re not really a cat person like myself. Overall, there wasn't any particular thing that was wrong with this book, even if it was a little slow at the beginning. Once you really get in to it though, it’s incredibly hard to put down (no joke, I finished it in one sitting)! I would recommend this to fans of Robin Benway, Erin Watt, or anyone interested in contemporary fiction in general. It’s definitely a unique story you wouldn’t want to miss!

  13. 3 out of 5

    Alanna

    Honestly, I really wanted to like this one - I've been enjoying YA Contemporary more and more of late, and I was excited to read The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips as a break from my typically Fantasy and Sci Fi reads. Unfortunately, I was quickly disenchanted, and as I read, found myself growing to be more and more disappointed by this book and the story Phillips decided to tell. Now, let me begin by saying that (initially) I really identified with Morgan. Her parents, like mine, are Honestly, I really wanted to like this one - I've been enjoying YA Contemporary more and more of late, and I was excited to read The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips as a break from my typically Fantasy and Sci Fi reads. Unfortunately, I was quickly disenchanted, and as I read, found myself growing to be more and more disappointed by this book and the story Phillips decided to tell. Now, let me begin by saying that (initially) I really identified with Morgan. Her parents, like mine, are divorced. She is separated from her sibling by a move to university, which I experienced when I moved away to school five years ago. She has a small, tight-knit group of friends, similar to my own highschool friends. And she is, according to her own standards, living in poverty, such that she can validate stealing dozens of luxury items. And that's what got me, because I've been there. I've been in that place where there isn't enough money for all those pretty, shiny things I want (want, not need) - where I couldn't have everything my friends had, because we didn't have the money. Honestly, I've probably been in a worse place than Morgan - she always has food on the table, her dad literally hands her $20 bills so she can go out for lunch with her friends, and she has a car that he pays for. So I apologize, but I really cannot sympathize with Morgan's need to steal luxury items, like pricey bathing suits and $200 Nordstrom sunglasses, just because she feels that she ought to be living in the lap of luxury, but isn't. Welcome to the working middle class sweetheart - it sucks, but it's life. Honestly, her ridiculous bratty-ness totally turned me off to feeling any sympathy for her story/position, and made much of this book a struggle for me to read.  Furthermore, I didn't see what Phillips outlined as "friendship dynamics and how quickly they can change, creating a new normal after your family has been ripped apart, and finding romance in unexpected places". All I could see was a story about a bratty, spoiled teenage girl. Sorry Phillips, its not working for me - as someone who has lived, and is living this life, I can tell you that Morgan's plight is far from something that will stir sympathy from those who've actually lived in poverty, or on the brink of it. So far from it. So far off tone it almost hurts. Despite this, there were still aspects of this book I quite enjoyed. Morgan's friends, and the group dynamic they have going on, felt startlingly real, and the cheesy friend hangout sessions felt more realistic than most. Just as her friends did - Phillips did an excellent job developing Morgan's friends into individuals, rather than a clustered group hive-mind, so it made sense that their reactions to her "secret" life were differed and, honestly, they made the story that much more powerful, considering how utterly awful Morgan was.  Overall, The Girl You Thought I Was by Rebecca Phillips was well-written and had some excellent character development going on, especially in terms of the non-primary characters (Morgan's friends, her family, and Eli), but all of that was overshadowed by the fact that the story Phillips was trying to tell was just so off-key. As someone who has essentially lived Morgan's life, I felt alienated and embarrassed by the story, and completely removed from the surrealism of Morgan's life. I'm honestly not sure why this is he story Phillips decided to tell, but it hurt, and it certainly won't be one I'll be re-reading any time soon (1/5). 

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner

    Ehh... It was fine, I guess. I wasn't wowed nor especially displeased with this book despite it's interesting take on shoplifting.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Lucy (That Book Gal)

    rtc

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teenage Reads

    Plot: The Kemper family was the four of them: a mother, a father, the oldest Rachel, and the youngest Morgan. They lived in a house, had family meals, and generally seem like the typical American family. That was until their mother left. Morgan remembered the day her mother broke her father’s heart, by having an affair with another married man who worked at the same car dealership as them, and he was also her father’s friend. Morgan saw her mother as a monster, with both her and Rachel chooses to Plot: The Kemper family was the four of them: a mother, a father, the oldest Rachel, and the youngest Morgan. They lived in a house, had family meals, and generally seem like the typical American family. That was until their mother left. Morgan remembered the day her mother broke her father’s heart, by having an affair with another married man who worked at the same car dealership as them, and he was also her father’s friend. Morgan saw her mother as a monster, with both her and Rachel chooses to stay with their father, their mother moved to the next town over and got a new job. Rachel dealt with her grief by smoking pot and drinking vodka in the woods, but then left for university and gotten herself straighten out. Morgan dealt with her grief in a different way, by petty thief. A candy bar here, a lipstick there, these items just appeared in Morgan’s bag from a slight of hand trick. Soon she became bolder, moving onto clothing, stalking a store, to even buying a lock pick. When she is not out actively stealing, she spends hours on shoplifters Tumblr blogs, gaining skills and tricks that she uses later on. Afterwards, Morgan always felt like trash, but in that moment, when she walks quietly away from the store with her stole good in her bag, she felt on top of the world. All good things come to an end, and when a sparkly pair of sunglasses caught her eye, that Morgan knew she had to have, her lucky streak ran out. Instead of pressing charges, because this was Morgan’s first time being caught, she had to do community hours in order to repay her debt to society. Working at her father’s ex-co-worker’s, Rita, thrift store, Morgan manned the register, put the labels on items, and swept around the shop. The only other worker there was Rita’s nephew, Eli, who thought Morgan was there volunteering out of the goodness of her heart. Striking up a conversation, Morgan soon realizes Eli, and his family, are perfect. She also realizes that she is falling for Eli, and Eli for her. Yet, how can she date someone so perfect, knowing how screwed up her family is, and the reason why they even met was because she was avoiding juvie jail? Other drama come up to bat, where in her friend group of Sophie, Zach, Dawson and Alyssa, Dawson tries to make the moves on Alyssa who does not seem him in the same light. Rachel is coming home for a week during the summer, and begs Morgan to go to their mother’s and hash out their feelings for what happen last year. With only her father and Rachel knows Morgan’s sticky fingers, Morgan has to find out how to tell everyone who she really is, and take the risk of losing everyone in the process. Thoughts: Rebecca Phillips filled this book with the typical high school drama, but with a twist. Morgan Kemper, our main gal, is a shoplifter. From makeup to clothing, Morgan had her system down, until one time she does not. Yet, besides that aspect, Phillips has written a pretty tame book. Sure there is family drama with the mother, friends’ drama between Dawson and Alyssa, and then boy problems with Eli, none of it seems truly connected to Morgan. Like these dramas play out throughout the book, and Phillips makes Morgan react to them, but that relation does not make you feel for her. After all, besides the emotional trauma that causes Morgan to steal, it is all Morgan’s fault for not being honest with these people. It is understandable with Eli, because Morgan just met him, but what about her friends? Especially with all the stuff she and Alyssa has been through, at some point Morgan should have let her in and tell her what she has been doing. The ending was extremely predictable, but made you feel good anyway, and where there are still some loose ends to the plot, Phillips does her best by wrapping them up, or leaving them as a work in progress.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Dazz Ross

    This is not a belated April Fool’s joke, don’t worry. The feelings for this book are genuine. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard about The Girl You Thought I Was. Compared to Phillips’ first book with HarperTeen (which I was wary of until Luke told me it wasn’t that bad), I was drawn to it immediately. Not only did it make me think of some gossip regarding one classmate at my high school, but it also reminded me of, in a sense, This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes. So when I recei This is not a belated April Fool’s joke, don’t worry. The feelings for this book are genuine. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard about The Girl You Thought I Was. Compared to Phillips’ first book with HarperTeen (which I was wary of until Luke told me it wasn’t that bad), I was drawn to it immediately. Not only did it make me think of some gossip regarding one classmate at my high school, but it also reminded me of, in a sense, This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes. So when I received the ARC of this from my local bookstore, I was definitely curious to check this out. I’m happy to say that it went above and beyond my expectations, with a great story, well-developed characters, nice writing, and a romance so cute, you may find yourself needing a fan or water. It may not be the most groundbreaking YA contemporary (some may find it safe and predictable), but I still really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it. The strongest part of The Girl You Thought I Was was Phillips’ writing. Her style worked very well for this kind of story. It was descriptive while being casual, and it had a few emotional scenes here and there that did affect me. But it also applies for the story she created and her characters. Each character is well-developed and feels important to the narrative (with their own pasts and conflicts), plus the pace moved well. I never found myself getting bored with this. What really clicked, though, was Morgan herself. Phillips has said it was hard to make a shoplifter redeem themselves in the eyes of the reader. Some may find Morgan annoying, but I got behind her immediately. There are times where she can come across as a liar, selfish, and whiny, yes, but those are flaws that make us human. Her journey towards discovering why she was shoplifting in the first place as well as coming to terms to tell her friends (and future boyfriend) was well thought-out and worth the wait. The aftermath I saw coming, but Phillips does wrap everything up, and I know that can sometimes be a worry. I also got behind the romance more than I expected, which is strange. Maybe some of it had to do with Eli’s physical description (hello, childhood bias, my old friend), but I actually really liked it. Even though Morgan had to dodge corners about her past, it developed well and it went places I didn’t expect. Plus, Eli was pretty charming, so Morgan falling for him did make sense. I hope other readers will think the same. Overall, The Girl You Thought I Was was a success. I’m glad I had a chance to read it and I’m curious as to where Phillips will go next in her future books or in These Things I’ve Done (which I need to read soon).

  18. 3 out of 5

    Alicia

    I'll lead with the thing I was most disappointed in first, to get it out of the way. Why did there have to be a romantic element to the story? Could it not have simply been a fantastically straightforward delivery of a girl in crisis- one who is frustrated by the actions of her mother, feeling the weight of living with her father while her sister is living a better life in college and working that is really surviving and not living though the father is doing his darndest, and who steals. Then sh I'll lead with the thing I was most disappointed in first, to get it out of the way. Why did there have to be a romantic element to the story? Could it not have simply been a fantastically straightforward delivery of a girl in crisis- one who is frustrated by the actions of her mother, feeling the weight of living with her father while her sister is living a better life in college and working that is really surviving and not living though the father is doing his darndest, and who steals. Then she's caught. The two stories work amazingly well together: SPOILER: The representations of the simultaneous issues Morgan is dealing with leading up to her final year in high school affects Morgan in profound ways and by default, Phillips' readers. Readers become emotionally attached to Morgan and is a testament to the writing abilities of Phillips. Real world problems, real world consequences, real world solutions. But I wish minus Eli because girls don't always have to grow or feel valued or able to move on with the help of a boy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This book had an interesting premise that basically I felt was left unexplored. The main character, having issues with shoplifting, should have developed into a lot more conversations, realizations that this was symptom and not the problem. The back and forth with both her parents sounded true to me, although, once again, we have a main character who keeps everything bottled up and rarely says what she is REALLY thinking. I wish author's would stop doing this. I know it advances the plot line but This book had an interesting premise that basically I felt was left unexplored. The main character, having issues with shoplifting, should have developed into a lot more conversations, realizations that this was symptom and not the problem. The back and forth with both her parents sounded true to me, although, once again, we have a main character who keeps everything bottled up and rarely says what she is REALLY thinking. I wish author's would stop doing this. I know it advances the plot line but it is a cheap trick and done, redone so many times. I would kill for a character that would actually say she thinks. The interaction with her friends was okay and the back and forth with her boyfriend was also plausible. However, I struggled to rate this book highly because it is sooooo slow. From the beginning chapters that are full of promise, to the middle which goes on and on with basically one direction, but it takes forever to get there. This was not a horrible book, but it could have been cut by at least 50 pages.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maryalice

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Though her parents recently divorced and her older sister is now off at college, to everyone else Morgan Kemper appears to live an ideal life. She and her dad have adjusted well to their new apartment and are getting by together. Things aren't always as they seem; however, and when Morgan is picked up for shoplifting at the mall, her carefully constructed life begins to crack. Able to hide her crim I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Though her parents recently divorced and her older sister is now off at college, to everyone else Morgan Kemper appears to live an ideal life. She and her dad have adjusted well to their new apartment and are getting by together. Things aren't always as they seem; however, and when Morgan is picked up for shoplifting at the mall, her carefully constructed life begins to crack. Able to hide her crime from all of her friends, Morgan is spared the embarrassment of a trial by volunteering and taking an online shoplifting class. While volunteering, she meets Eli, the boss Rita's nephew. Rita knows why she's really there, but Morgan can't bring herself to tell Eli. As she falls for Eli and volunteers throughout the summer, Morgan struggles with her urge to shoplift. She still has not processed her mother's infidelity and used shoplifting to feel some control in her life. In order to move forward and heal, Morgan needs to accept herself and her life for what it is. THOUGHTS: Pressures placed on teens and the aftermath of divorce as well as sibling, parent/child, and teen romantic relationships are all addressed in an authentic way. At times predictable, readers still will root for Morgan to get her life together. This is an excellent addition where realistic, character driven books (with a little romance) are popular.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Clifford Christensen

    Another of my recent mental illness novels. This one is about a girl who shoplifts as a way of dealing with the ruination of her family. It was an interesting look at how people feel the need to hide that which they think will make them unlovable. Her relationship with her father is probably my favorite part. The way that the character experienced feelings of being an impostor, and her fear that if people knew her "true self" they would not care for her, was compelling. I think that the feelings Another of my recent mental illness novels. This one is about a girl who shoplifts as a way of dealing with the ruination of her family. It was an interesting look at how people feel the need to hide that which they think will make them unlovable. Her relationship with her father is probably my favorite part. The way that the character experienced feelings of being an impostor, and her fear that if people knew her "true self" they would not care for her, was compelling. I think that the feelings she experiences are true to the experience of many of us in life. I really enjoyed this read, and its story of redemption. Highly recommended.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Bookworm LLC

    Rebecca Phillips is a favorite of mine. This is the second book I have read and have not been disappointed with either book. The Girl You Thought I was is a story about a girl who is abandoned by her mother and the only way for her to deal with the pain is to steal from the mall or other stores in her community. She keeps this secret from her friends until she is caught stealing from Nordstroms. The events that take place after she is caught stealing set into motion a struggling change in her lif Rebecca Phillips is a favorite of mine. This is the second book I have read and have not been disappointed with either book. The Girl You Thought I was is a story about a girl who is abandoned by her mother and the only way for her to deal with the pain is to steal from the mall or other stores in her community. She keeps this secret from her friends until she is caught stealing from Nordstroms. The events that take place after she is caught stealing set into motion a struggling change in her life that isn't always easy to handle. Great read by a great author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy for our young adult collection in my library. I must say this was another book on the point-of-view of how the life of a teenage girl really is. There were at least five conflicts in every chapter that the protagonist had to overcome that involved everything from anxiety, to trouble with sexuality and of course social issues. A wonderful read if you like stories such as Everything, Everthing and 13 Reasons Why. 5 Stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I received this book in exchange of an honest review. Our main character Morgan is caught shoplifting a pair of sunglasses and she can either do community service or have the charges follow her forever. She meets a cute guy Eli at the thrift store and struggles telling the truth about why she works there to both him and her friends. This was a fast paced story and it was pretty cute. We see Morgan figure out why she was shoplifting and her struggle to stop. This is a great book for anyone intere I received this book in exchange of an honest review. Our main character Morgan is caught shoplifting a pair of sunglasses and she can either do community service or have the charges follow her forever. She meets a cute guy Eli at the thrift store and struggles telling the truth about why she works there to both him and her friends. This was a fast paced story and it was pretty cute. We see Morgan figure out why she was shoplifting and her struggle to stop. This is a great book for anyone interested in this topic or for those who like to read YA.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Received a copy of this book from Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway. Thank you very much! ! I thought the story was ok, it wasn't bad but it definitely did not pull me in. I think for me it was all the inner dialogue, I wanted more of the coming clean and fixing the relationships that was damaged.

  26. 3 out of 5

    CHARMAINE Sunga

    The main character was likable. She had issues and I loved her relationship with her father. He was such a nice dad, which was what she needed. I loved the time she spent volunteering and her love interest. He was so cute and charming. He was perfect for her!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    What a challenge for a writer to make a petty thief likeable!

  28. 3 out of 5

    Tari

    A good story that reminds us of the importance of honesty and forgiveness.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy Nance

    I liked the story it was interesting and held my attention. The first 3/4 of the book was a bit slower than the last 1/4 of the book. It does contain a lot of swearing.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Nikki S

    Review to come.

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