"Take her out back and finish her off."
She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that two men are arguing over whether or not to kill her.
And that she must run.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
April Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen and The Night She Disappeared, and the thriller Face of Betrayal, co-authored with Lis Wiehl. She lives in Oregon.
Read an Excerpt
The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
By April Henry
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2013 April Henry
All rights reserved.
DAY 1, 4:51 P.M.
I wake up.
But wake up isn't quite right. That implies sleeping. A bed. A pillow.
I come to.
Instead of a pillow, my right cheek is pressed against something hard, rough, and gritty. A worn wood floor.
My mouth tastes like old pennies. Blood. With my eyes still closed, I gently touch my teeth with my tongue. One of them feels loose. The inside of my mouth is shredded and sore. My head aches and there's a faint buzzing in one ear.
And something is wrong with my left hand. The tips of my pinkie and ring finger throb with every beat of my heart. The pain is sharp and red.
Two men are talking, their voices a low murmur. Something about no one coming for me. Something about it's too late.
I decide to keep my eyes closed. Not to move. I'm not sure I could anyway. It's not only my tooth that feels wrong.
Footsteps move closer to me. A shoe kicks me in the ribs. Not very hard. More like a nudge. Still, I don't allow myself to react. Through slitted eyes, I see two pairs of men's shoes. One pair of brown boots and one pair of red-brown dress shoes that shade to black on the toes. A distant part of me thinks the color is called oxblood.
"She doesn't know anything," a man says. He doesn't sound angry or even upset. It's a simple statement of fact.
I realize he's right. I don't know anything. What's wrong with me, where I am, who they are. And when I try to think about who I am, what I get is: nothing. A big gray hole. All I know for sure is that I must be in trouble.
"I need to get back to Portland and follow our leads there," the other man says. "You need to take care of things here. Take her out back and finish her off."
"But she's just a kid," the first man says. His tone is not quite so neutral now.
"A kid?" The second man's voice hardens. "If she talks to the cops, she could get us both sent to death row. It's either her or us. It's that simple." His footsteps move away from me. "Call me when you're done."
The other man nudges me with his foot again. A little harder this time.
Behind me, I hear a door open and close.
"Come on. Get up." With a sigh, he leans over and grabs me under my arms. Grunting, he hauls me up from behind. His breath smells bitter, like coffee. I try to keep my body limp, but when my left hand brushes the floor, the pain in my fingers is an electric shock. My legs stiffen and he pulls me to my feet.
"That's right," he says, nudging me forward while still holding me up. "We're going to take a little walk."
Since he already knows that I'm conscious, I figure I can open my eyes halfway. We're in what looks like a cabin, with knotty pine walls and a black wood-burning stove. Yellow stuffing spills from sliced cushions on an old plaid couch and a green high-backed chair. Books lie splayed below an emptied bookcase. Someone was obviously looking for something, but I don't know what, and I don't know if they found it. Past the red-and-white- checkered curtains lie nothing but fir trees.
With the guy's arm clamped around my shoulders, I stumble past a table with four wood chairs. One of them is turned away from the table. Ropes loosely encircle the arms. A pair of bloody pliers sits on the table next to what seems like two silver-white chips mostly painted pink.
I look down at my limp left hand. Pink polish on three of the nails. The tips of the last two fingers are wet and red where nails used to be.
I think I know where I was before I ended up on the floor.
I keep every step small and shuffling so that he's half carrying me. It's not easy because he's not much bigger than me, maybe five foot nine. The guy mutters under his breath, but that's all. Maybe he doesn't want to get to where we are going any more than I do. The back door is about twenty feet away.
Outside, a car starts up and then drives away. The only other sounds are the wind in the trees outside and the man grunting every now and then as he tries to make my body walk in a straight line.
Wherever we are, I think we're alone. It's just me and this guy. And once he manages to get me out the door, he'll follow instructions.
He'll finish me off.
Kill me.CHAPTER 2
DAY 1, 4:54 P.M.
We keep walking toward the back door of the cabin. Except the guy holding me up is doing most of the walking. My left knee bangs into the nearest chair. I don't lift my feet, letting my toes drag on the floor. I'm trying to buy myself some time. Trying to figure out how to save myself. My half-closed eyes flick from side to side, looking for a weapon. Looking for anything that could help me. But there's no iron poker next to the woodstove, no knives on the counter, no old-fashioned black telephone on the wall. Just gaping drawers and emptied-out cupboards and a big mess on the floor — cookie sheets and cans and dishtowels and boxes of cereal and crackers that have been upended and shaken empty.
He has to take one hand away from me to open the door. Don't act. Be, a voice whispers inside my head. I picture my consciousness dwindling. I let my body go limp, and slide from his grasp. It's tough to stay slack when my fingertips hit the rough wood. The pain arcs up my arm like I just stuck my fingers in a light socket. Still, I keep tumbling loosely to the floor as if I'm completely out.
Playing dead. Hoping I won't be dead soon. Maybe if he thinks I'm unconscious, he'll let his guard down.
With a sigh, the man steps over me, and kicks the door open, letting in a wave of cold air. He leans down and rolls me over so that I'm face up again. It's so hard not to stiffen, especially as every bit of me feels tender and bruised, but I bite my tongue and try to remain loose. Then he grabs me under the arms and begins to drag me backward, grunting at every step. His chin brushes the top of my head.
He can't see my face. I wonder if that's a mistake. It will be easier to kill me if he doesn't have to look into my pleading eyes. Doesn't have to see my lips tremble as I beg for my life.
My feet thump over the sill. I open my eyes again. I see a worn earthen path stretching back to the cabin, my feet in blue Nike running shoes, my legs in skinny jeans. Reddish brown stains splotch the thighs. I wonder if the blood is only from my fingers.
I let my hands, even the broken one, trail along the ground. Under my fingertips, I feel cold earth, ridged with footprints, muddy in spots. A stick about as big around as one of my fingers. And then my good hand closes on a rock, small enough to fit into my palm, rounded on one side, with one sharp edge.
If this man has a gun — which seems more than likely — the rock won't help me much. Even David had the help of a sling when he used a stone to kill Goliath.
The going is easier now. Pine trees surround us and my heels slide over copper-colored needles. I can't imagine this guy, who by now is breathing heavily, will drag me for miles and miles. Soon he'll drop me, take out his more-than-likely gun, and shoot me in the head. Or the heart. Or maybe both.
I'm going to die and I don't know why.
I don't even know who I am.
I wonder if he'll bother to bury me. Or maybe he'll just leave my body for whatever lives in these woods.
No! The thought is so fierce I have to clamp my lips together to keep from shouting it. I can't wait for him to choose what happens to me. I can't just wait for him to kill me.
He's dragging me past a small tree. I stick out one leg and hook my foot around the trunk. We jerk to a stop.
"Come on now." He sighs. "Let's not make this harder than it has to be."
He lifts me to reposition his grip. I manage to get my feet under me. He's so close his breath stirs the hair on the nape of my neck.
I don't know what I'm going to do until suddenly I'm doing it. My right elbow drives back like a piston, landing square in his belly. He grunts in an explosion of air and starts to fold up. The bottom of my right fist is already swinging down to hammer his groin. And then I swing my hand up, twisting it until the back of my fist hits him square in the face. Hard. And made even harder by the rock I hold in my hand. Under my knuckles, I feel the bridge of his nose crack.
I spin around to face him. His eyes are half closed in pain. Blood runs from his nose, red as paint. His right hand reaches out to grab me. My left hand rises, bent at the wrist like the neck of a crane, and knocks his hand away. Then my hand snaps back and claws down, fingers spread, my remaining fingernails digging into his cheeks, leaving furrows that immediately fill with blood. He cries out and puts his hands to his face.
Leaving his throat unprotected. I draw back my hand, my fingers close together and bent at the second knuckle. And I drive them into his throat as hard as I can.
And then he's lying flat on his back, not moving.
I'm not sure he's even breathing.
All my moves were automatic. I didn't have to think. Didn't have to remember anything.
Whoever I am, I already know how to do this.CHAPTER 3
DAY 1, 4:58 P.M.
The guy who was going to kill me is lying on the ground, silent and still.
Now what do I do?
My first instinct is to run.
But I'm pretty sure he has a gun. What if he wakes up? He could shoot me before I even make it back to the cabin.
I nudge his shoulder with my foot, ready to jump back if he moves. But he doesn't. He's a white guy, maybe thirty or a little older, slender and on the short side, with thick black hair cut very short. He's wearing dark jeans and a black soft-shell jacket with a hood. His eyes are half open, his mouth slack.
Is he dead?
I kick him in the side about the same way he kicked me. Without a lot of conviction.
He still doesn't move. But he's definitely breathing.
Although it's not exactly breathing. It's more like gasping. Ragged and uneven.
But at least he's not dead.
I lean over him, my heart racing. I can feel every beat in my ears, in the hollow of my throat, in my mangled fingertips. I'm so afraid he's going to sit up and grab me.
I have to find his gun. But what if I'm wrong about what he was going to do? What if he doesn't even have a gun? Because I think I've really hurt him. Maybe I didn't understand what I heard. Maybe I didn't understand what I saw. Maybe there is a different explanation for what was happening, and it doesn't involve him killing me.
I drop the rock and pull up his jacket, cringing, still worried that he might twist around and grab me. And there it is, in a leather holster threaded through his belt. The gun seems to be made of black plastic, but it looks nothing like a toy.
I don't want to take it. But I know I have to. So that I can shoot him if I need to. I remind myself that this is certainly what he was going to do to me.
But what if I miss? Is it loaded? Does it have a safety? With shaking hands, I slide it out. The whole time I half expect his hand to close over my wrist, but he doesn't stir.
It's a lot heavier than I expected. It weighs at least a couple of pounds. I check the sides and the top, but I don't see anything that looks like a safety. I don't really have a pocket that I can put it in. Even though it can't be much above freezing, I'm not wearing a coat, just Nikes and jeans and a chunky red sweater with no pockets. I stick the gun down the back of my waistband and hope I don't end up shooting myself in the butt.
I have to figure out some way to slow him down once he regains consciousness. Because despite how his breathing sounds, sooner or later he will, right? Maybe I can tie him up with his belt. With shaking fingers, I unbuckle his brown belt and start to tug it free. Even as his body rocks back and forth, he stays completely limp. I'm torn between fear that he'll move and fear that he'll stop breathing altogether. Finally, the belt slides free from the last loop. His gun holster falls to the ground.
Nothing changes. His body is still slack. His breathing still hitches. His eyes are still half open. It's only now that I notice where his head landed when he fell. Right on a rock. It's not much bigger than the one I was holding, but it's smeared with blood.
Bitter acid fills my mouth. Did I break his skull? Is he going to die? Did I kill him?
But I had to do what I did. I had to.
And if he comes to, I have to make sure he can't kill me. Grunting, I push him onto one side. It takes all my strength. This must be what they mean when they talk about dead weight. In his back pocket, there's the square outline of his wallet. I pull it out and put it in my own back pocket. Then I make a loop out of the belt. One of his hands is pinned under his body and I tug it free. His breathing pauses, but he never stiffens, never even moans. I slide the loop around his wrists, tighten it, and then wind the belt to make a sort of knot. But I don't think it will hold very long if he tries to get loose.
I push him onto his back, onto his bound hands, and hope it will at least slow him down a little. I feel something in one of his front pockets, a rectangular shape that has to be a cell phone.
Gingerly, I fish out the phone, and then a set of keys. On the ring is a flat black plastic triangle with two buttons. A fob, the kind that opens a car. I know that much. What I don't is if I know how to drive a car. Or if there is even a car back at the cabin for me to drive.
I have a feeling I'm going to figure things out in a couple of minutes.
I sure hope the answer to both questions is yes.CHAPTER 4
DAY 1, 5:09 P.M.
I run back to the cabin, following the path and the two faint ruts my heels left. I'm holding the gun. I just hope I can pull the trigger if I have to.
The cabin door is still ajar. I don't hear or see anyone. I step across the sill. It's as cold inside as it is out.
When I take two more steps inside, I see a face. Staring back at me.
I jerk to a stop, my heart leaping in my chest.
It's a girl. Her mouth opens as if to sound the alarm that I am free. That I am alive. When I am supposed to be neither of these things. I scream and raise the gun, holding it with both hands.
The girl facing me does the same.
It's a mirror, of course. A mirror with coat hooks hanging above it. One of them holds a coat that covers most of the frame. I kick through the mess on the floor, push the coat aside, and stare at myself. At me. At who I must be.
Only it's a face I don't recognize.
Snarled blond hair that falls to the shoulders. To my shoulders. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen? Wide blue eyes. Straight nose with a bit of a bump at the bridge. Lips that look swollen. Skin so pale that the freckles on my cheeks stand out like flecks spattered from a paintbrush. Am I always this pale, or is it from shock and blood loss? What I think is the beginning of a bruise shadows my jaw. My heart pounds in my throat and bloody fingertips. I want to throw up.
Instead, I open my lips to look at my teeth. Even and white. I slide my index finger in my mouth and touch the tooth that felt loose before, the bottom left eyetooth. It wiggles. I snatch my hand back, afraid I'll make it fall out. I've already lost so much: my fingernails, my name, my identity. I don't need to lose my tooth, too.
I peek out the red-and-white-checkered curtains next to the front door, then push one aside when I see nothing and nobody. Just an empty dark blue SUV and trees and a muddy road. I tuck the gun in my waistband then take the keys out of my pocket and press the fob. The taillights of the SUV flash, and something inside me loosens. I'll be able to get away.
Excerpted from The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry. Copyright © 2013 April Henry. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Should have been longer, as it only took me 2 days to read it, but other than that was great! I really appreciate there not being any cuss words or sexual things, other than kissing! Thank you to the author for that! The begining is very action- packed and i love how we are as confued as she is, but it is an exciting kind of confused. Great read!
I just loved this book. It kept on the edge of my seat the whole time. I never wanted to put it down.
As soon as I read the synopsis for The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die, I HAD to get my hands on a copy ASAP. However I was still cautious in limiting my expectations because I was burnt way too many times by thriller books. Also I wasn't the biggest fan of April Henry's previous book. However I am happy to inform you guys that this book was so freaking amazing. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one sitting. April Henry was able to capture me from the first page and only released me on the last page. The novel starts with the main protagonist, Cady, coming to (she didn't feel like using the word "wake" is correct in her circumstances) on the floor of a cabin, all bruised and bloodied and hears someone say "Take her out back and finish her off". The kicker is that Cady doesn't remember anything. Not her name, her life, memories and past. So imagine how freaked out she is, and I was, when she realizes this, during her dire situation. However Cady, I have to admit, was hardcore. She was fierce and while she had the usual doubts and fear, anyone would be in her situation, it still didn't overshadow her logic and judgement and I love that her intuition and gut feeling was always right and she followed it. What made this novel such a thrill is that we were in the same level as Cady, we know nothing about her world. Also, the need to know why two men tortured her and wanted to kill her made me read and flip the pages faster. If you guys are looking for a romance, then this book isn't for you.This book doesn't need romance to keep us interested. Heck, I always say I love it when books have a little bit of romance, even if it isn't prominent, but for this book, I guess there is the potential for a romance with the guy Cady meets, who ends up helping her. But that isn't the priority here; we aren't that shallow right? I was glad that Cady could find someone who was willing to help her. Ty, was such a nice guy, I never once doubted that he didn't have Cady's best interest. Concerning why Cady was kidnapped to begin with, I would rather not say, but the story wraps up wonderfully by the end when you finally find the reason. April Henry did an amazing job in this novel and while I would have given it 5 stars, a sentence in the novel left a bitter taste in my mouth. Linking terrorists to people of strong faith, which isn't always the case, just a stereotype. So while I enjoyed this novel a ton, I just couldn't love it unconditionally for that one sentence. All in all, The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die will appeal to all thriller and mystery fans. With a cover and synopsis like this, who wouldn't want to read it? especially since it is only about 230 pages, making it a very fast read. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by Henry.
This book had me on the edge of my seat for one sitting this book is great.
This book makes your heartpound
This was a very good book, it started off kind of creppy but it was a very good ending.
Avid reader here. Really impressive story telling. Worth every penny I paid and it was a bargain for the best read I have had this year. My first by this author, I'm looking forward to discovering the rest.
I really want to read this but i dont have any money can some one give some plz
Fast paced and exciting. I would recomend this one. I'm not a big fan of present tense writing, but other than that it was a good story. Well worth it, especially for fans of YA thrillers.
Got @ my school library still reading it but amazing so far !!!!! Read it ,one of the best i have read
I’m not so sure about the nail-biting aspect of this thriller as I didn’t feel this way about it as I listened to it on audio but perhaps, I would feel differently had I actually read the novel instead. I thought the novel moved quickly and I was intrigued as to what was actually transpiring but it wasn’t a suspenseful read for me. The novel begins with the main character waking up on the floor of a cabin. She doesn’t remember anything about her situation as she slowly awakens to the voices of two men discussing her fate. With death in her immediate future, she eventually makes her way outside and yet again, she has no idea where she should go. She has this, “damned if I do and damned if I don’t” thought process running through her head as she contemplates putting the pieces of her life back together. It’s like a huge mystery and all the pieces of her puzzle are blank. I liked how she figured things out one step-at-a-time and how she didn’t go all crazy and stupid in the process. I liked how things moved along quickly and she didn’t get all wrapped up in the moment. The novel doesn’t go deep and it’s a novel where you can just listen and enjoy it. It was an enjoyable novel to just take in, to sit back and enjoy the ride.
i really like this book i am going to read this alot :)
Fast paced and fun! great read
Love this book
Very thrilling and exciting! Recommend it!
It was really good i love the beggining the nmost but i feel ad for hef t the sane time
Its a thriller. She loses her memory, wakes up in a weird cabin, and on top of everything else she hears two men aruging over whether or not to kill her.
I have not yet read this book but of what people are telling me about it. It sounds like a very good book
This was a very good book. I never wanted to put it down. It does get a little confusing towards the end. I have read other books by this author which were great as well. I would recommend this book to teens and young adults. I would also recommend this author and all her other books.
awesome story. kept me turning the pages!