Cover Image: When She Was Me

When She Was Me

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Member Reviews

I didn’t know what to expect picking this book up as I had not read from Marlee Bush before but I was blown away! This is an incredible thriller and recommend to anyone who enjoys thrillers.

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This is a very solid debut novel from Marlee Bush! There were many elements that I really enjoyed in this: unreliable narrators, dual timelines and POVs, suspense, isolated setting, and it was super atmospheric.

I really loved the strong bond between twin sisters Cassie and Lenora. The exploration into their bond and the idea of “the twin thing” was well done. The addition of the dark past timeline was fun, because it wasn’t ever specified whose perspective we are reading. This kept me interested and constantly guessing whose perspective I was reading. Much of the middle of this novel kind of lulled for me in terms of twists and action, but there were little sprinklings of mysterious figures appearing and ominous dreams and flashbacks. The last bit of the story does pick up and ends pretty strong with a twist I didn’t see coming. It moves quick, but I found it to be pretty effective. Overall, this was a very fast read, and I really enjoyed this debut! I am so excited to see what else we’ll be getting from Marlee Bush!

Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to read this ARC!

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For a debut novel, Marlee sure didn't hold back! This thriller is perfect in everyway! Missing person(s)? ☑️
Strong sibling relationship?☑️
Dual timeline? ☑️
Thrills, chills, spooky, and creepy? ☑️

When She Was Me follows twin sisters Cassie & Lenora, who live in a secluded cabin. Lenora is afraid to leave, even to go outside. Cassie is a true crime YouTuber.

A new crime happens in the area. Tilly, a 15 year staying in another cabin with her parents for the weekend, is missing. The only person who was outside that night was Lenora, but she sleepwalks and can't remember a thing.

This event brings back vivid memories from their past. Forcing Cassie and Lenora to face some hard truths, sometimes even questioning each other.

While this is definitely a slower burn, it's really easy to get sucked in because it takes us on a deep dive of the different personalities between Lenora & Cassie, who at times question each other and certain events, but are deeply and faithfully loyal to each other. They're all they have.

This was just a really great debut novel, and definitely one to add to your list if you're a thriller fan. The ending really through me for a loop, and it was SO good. You think you'll have it figured out, but I promise you, you don't. 👀 👏🏻🫣

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A strong debut, this thriller follows twins Cassie and Lenora as they unravel the aftermath of a murdered teen staying at one of the two other cabins next door, with the supporting character of Sarah - the new owner of the cabins.

The plot was solid, the characters were unique and well developed, and I will definitely read another book by Bush because this had a lot of good qualities.


I had a hard time getting into this one. I would start to get invested and then a flashback 'THEN' chapter would pop up with a different timeline and no indication of who the narrator was. I struggled to be present with the plot and the pacing felt off because of it. At the end of the book I could see why the author wrote it in that way for a big reveal, but it didn't work for me. I liked it, didn't love it.

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I have been reading so many books about twins and sibling relationships and I am NOT complaining. This book was amazing and constantly second guessing myself on what I thought would happen. Such a great, quick read of a thriller

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This book definitely falls into the "love it or hate it" category, and I'm proud to say that I’m firmly in the "love it” team. The slow, eerie buildup had me hooked from the start, and every time I picked it up, I was drawn deeper into the story. Sure, there were moments where things felt a bit slow, but the final chapters really delivered. 📚🔍

I truly enjoyed this book. The twin element added such a fun and creepy twist, keeping me engaged throughout. And while some might find the repeated secrets tiresome, I found it added to the suspense. The twist completely blindsided me, and that's exactly what I look for in a thriller. Even during the slower parts, I was still invested in uncovering the truth. Overall, I couldn't put it down, and I can't wait to recommend it to fellow readers who love a good mystery. 🕵️‍♀️🔒

Thank you netgalley for the eARC. 🥰

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When She Was Me was an addictive, creepy and sinister read. It was definitely a slow burn in the beginning but once everything started picking up and piecing together it was unputdownable. I am loving these twin thrillers recently. This is a debut but I found the writing to be stellar.

The multiple POV's made for an engaging read, the narrators were very unreliable. I had no idea who to trust. I didn't know what was real, what wasn't. The past and the present timelines were also great, once they all came together it was even better.

The ending shocked me and took me by surprise. It was nothing I could've imagined, I was sitting there with my mouth open at that final plot twist. Honestly very well done !

🎧 The narration by Imani Jade Powers was very good. She was able to play both twins so distinctively that you knew who was talking. I felt the emotions through her voice, the fear of the characters. Stellar performance.

✨️ Thank you to @netgalley, @dreamscapemedia, @poisonedpenpress & @marleebush for my gifted ARC & ALC in exchange for an honest review.

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Cassie and Lenora are identical twin sisters living in Maryville, Tennessee. From the very beginning Marlee Bush teases us with a dark past event and unstable internal dialogue. It's a slow plodding beginning that honestly took me forever to get through because I kept losing interest but by the end this author won me over. I liked it a lot. Overall a good debut.

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This book follows two twin sisters with a troubled past. Throughout the book the reader is trying to put together a puzzle of why the twins behave the way they do, and what led them to isolation.
The story itself was bone chilling, I found myself constantly checking to see if my closet door was closed. It leaves you with that eerie feeling that only good thrillers gives their readers. However the story itself was a little difficult to follow. After finishing the book I understood that the reason for that was due to the plot twist. However I feel like maybe their is a way to make the time jumps more understandable to the reader. I felt like the confusion really took from the story.
Overall the twist was amazing, the mental health aspect of the book was delievered flawlessly. I really enjoyed reading this thriller.

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When She Was Me hadme totally confused by the last 50 pages. Not a bad confused though a good one, I had no idea what was coming unil BAM it hit me.

Cassie and Lenora have been living at a campground for years now. As far as the world knows they are running from their mother, trying to stay safe from her. Lenora refuses to even leave the cabin that they live in. She goes out to the bathhouse and then back to the cabin counting her steps along the way. She is petrified of the thought of leaving, the thought of Cassie leaving her as well.
Cassie stays to protect her identical twin Lenora and also a little out of guilt. When they were in utero Cassie was the stronger of the two girls and she took nutrients from her sister causing Lenore to be smaller and have a harder time. The least Cassie can do is take care of Lenore no matter what.
The campground they live in is secluded which is perfect for them until the owner passes away and his brother sells the campground to someone else. Thats when all the trouble starts. A family with a teenage girl comes to stay and not long after the girl, Tilly disappears.
Lenore is scared, she was sleep walking again and the night that Tilly disappeared she woke in her bed covered in dirt with only vague recollections of what happened the night before.
Cassie isn't sure what to do, she isn't sure if Lenore is being completely honest with her about that night and about another night a long time ago when Lenore made a choice that changed their lives forever.
Now it seems as though everyhing is unraveling and the sisters are helpless to stop it.


I want to thank #Netgalley and #poisonedpenpress for the chance to read #WhenSheWasMe by #MarleeBush in return for a fair and honest review

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"She was me. I was her. We were the same."

Identical twin sisters, Cassie and Lenora, live permanently in a cabin at a almost deserted campground. Lenora never leaves the cabin due to a past trauma leaving her agoraphobic. Cassie will do anything for her sister. Love, protect, cherish....always.

After the death of their landlord a new owner takes over and she rents out the third cabin to a family. Mother and father along with their teenage daughter. It's not often Cassie and Lenora see many people so they do what they do best. Observe.

Then the teenage daughter goes missing leaving Cassie and Lenora terrified and paranoid. The safety net they so carefully built around their lives slowly begins to shatter revealing hard truths they have spent their lives running from.

"They don't warn you about this in school. They warn you about men in vans offering you treats to get inside. They warn you of drug use and STD's. But no one ever warned me about the dangers of my own thoughts. No one ever told me that there could come a time when trusting myself would be difficult and hating myself would be easy.

What to do when the monster is you."

An odd story, even odder characters, and oddly compelling. These sisters were absolutely fascinating and I just had to know what happened to them to make them how they were. How their relationship became so strange and co-dependent.

This book does something I normally don't like and that's rehashing the same thoughts time and time again but for some reason it did not bother me here. I was so wrapped up in the lives of these sisters that I simply didn't care. If anything, it made me more curious, wondering and waiting, for that AHA moment.

And when that AHA moment came I assure it's a doozy. I had in no way predicted this and it turned this story inside out and upside down. I freaking love when an author does that.

This book probably won't be for everyone due to the slow burn and circling thoughts but it entertained me thoroughly and I was 100% invested in the outcome. This is a very promising debut from an author that I'll be eager to check out again in the future. 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press from my complimentary copy.

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Twin sisters, Cassie and Lenora, live in a secluded woodsy area and are in Cabin Two. They have a deep dark past and Lenora seems to suffer most from the past that she never leaves the cabin and she seeks help from an online therapist. The only time she leaves her cabin is when she goes to the washing area outside of the cabin and when she sleepwalks. Cassie does her best to protect her twin sister as much as possible.

Sadly, one of the neighbors in another cabin passes away and a new family comes in. A new owner takes over as well, but allows Cassie and Lorena stay. One night, Cassie meets her young neighbor, Tilly, who is smoking outside when she isn't supposed to. They strike up a conversation, but shortly after their acquaintance, Tilly is murdered. Tilly's mom is the prime suspect and she is taken to jail.

This definitely eases Cassie and Lorena's nerves down, but what's going on in this area? They were safe and quiet all of these years and now there's too much going on in this secret place.

What is going on? Who killed Tilly? What happened to Cassie and Lorena's past?

I enjoyed this book and I didn't. I loved the overall storyline, but I did feel like the book was confusing when I was reading about the past. It was very unclear with who was the main character in the past stories. The ending had a pretty interesting twist, which I have mixed feelings about.

I also like it when the title makes total sense with the story, but I feel like this one didn't really. I felt like it was trying to have so many twists and turns to keep the reader curious, but it just didn't work for me.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

In the hauntingly atmospheric thriller "When She Was Me," Marlee Bush weaves a tale of suspense that delves deep into the psychological complexities of identity and trauma. Set against the backdrop of an isolated Tennessee campground, this novel follows the intertwined lives of twin sisters Cassie and Lenora, whose bond is as enigmatic as the woods that surround them.

Bush masterfully crafts a narrative that oscillates between the present and the past, revealing the layers of a shared history that both unites and divides the sisters. The disappearance of a teenage girl from a neighboring cabin triggers a cascade of memories, forcing Cassie and Lenora to confront the sinister truths they've buried.

The story unfolds through alternating perspectives, allowing readers to navigate the murky waters of the sisters' psyches. Bush's prose is sharp and evocative, creating a claustrophobic tension that mirrors the characters' inner turmoil. The campground becomes a character in itself, its oppressive silence punctuated by the whispers of trees that hold secrets just out of reach.

As the mystery unravels, Bush challenges the reader's perceptions, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator, truth and deception. "When She Was Me" is not just a psychological thriller; it's an exploration of the lengths we go to protect ourselves from our darkest fears.

The novel's pacing is deliberate, with a slow burn that builds to a crescendo of revelations. Each chapter adds a piece to the puzzle, and just when you think you've grasped the narrative's direction, Bush steers you down an unexpected path.

"When She Was Me" is a compelling read that offers more than just chills—it invites introspection. It's a testament to Bush's skill as a storyteller and her ability to craft a world so vivid, it lingers with you long after the final page is turned. For those who seek a story that thrills the mind as much as it terrifies the heart, this novel is a journey worth taking.

SCARY BOOK...

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This was definitely a case of the wrong book at the wrong time for me. The plot advanced at an extremely slow burn to the point that I frequently lost interest and had to actively work to pick the book up again.

It has all the elements of a taut psychological thriller, but never puts them all together at the same time. The author likely used vagueness to ratchet up the suspense, but it only served to frustrate me.

I thought the creepy setting in the Tennessee woods was brilliant. The author’s description of the isolation definitely helped set the mood. I’m not a big fan of the evil twin trope which is a huge part of this book, hence the wrong book for me reference. The pace does pick up in the last 15% of the book and the dots start to connect. That being said, this was an impressive debut and I am interested to see what Marlee Bush writes next.

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the advance copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

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What an incredible debut novel! I loved the story jumping back and forth in time and the multiple POVs.

This story hooked me from the beginning and left me guessing up until very end. I cannot wait to see what this author does next!

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Thank you so much to the publisher and netgalley for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Unfortunately, there was not a lot that I liked about this book. I did like the forest setting and the creepy vibes.

I didn’t think the story made a lot of sense. There seemed to be too much going on. It also had a trope that I hate, where there’s something in the characters past that is referenced a lot but we don’t find out the truth until later. Like stop referencing it or tell us what happened! I also didn’t connect with the characters or the story.

I hope others love this one.

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Cassie and Lenora have been inseparable since birth, but even more tethered since a traumatic incident in their past. They have kept under the radar and to themselves for 15 years, and have more recently made "home" a cabin on a secluded campground in Tennessee. When the owner dies and sells the campground to a woman, Sarah, there is a new face around...but otherwise, their arrangement shouldn't change. They will stay in Cabin Two, and Cabin Three will continue to be rented out to vacationers.

When a young teen vacationing with her family in Cabin Three goes missing, the twins start to wonder what the other is hiding. They don't lie to each other. But have they been? There is no denying that they would do anything for each other...but how long are they willing to overlook the other's transgressions?

This book sucked me in immediately. Marlee had a way of sharing just enough info at just the right times to make me want to keep reading "one more chapter"....until there were no more chapters. The personalities of each twin are perfectly illustrated through events and flashbacks. The dual POV makes it that much more intriguing.

It is so hard not to rant and rave about this book without spoiling, so just know...you will not see the twist coming and there are several "gasp out loud" moments. Thank you Marlee Bush, Poisoned Pen Press, and Netgalley for the advanced copy!

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This was a promising debut from Marlee Bush. A slow burning mystery with a shocking ending. I do enjoy a story about sisters, and twin sisters are even more interesting.

These sisters couldn’t be much different, but the one thing they had in common was their love for each other and the lengths that they would go to for each other. Both were battling demons, with dark and messed up secrets from the past. We are drip fed information about that night very slowly. They live in a cabin in a secluded campground and very rarely see other people.

While ai enjoyed this story, I did feel that it dragged in some places. I am more of a reader of fast paced thrillers, but it was nice for a change for things to be dragged out and build the suspense.

Thanks so much to Poisoned Pen Press for the early copy to read. Publishes on May 7th.

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Oh. My. Gosh. I don't even know where to start. How on EARTH is this a debut novel? This book is easily making its way into my top books of the year thus far. I inhaled it in less than 24 hours, I couldn't put it down, I just had to find out what the heck was going on.

The deep, beautiful love between these sisters is so unbelievably raw and vulnerable and tragic and touching and a little bit unhinged. The heartbreak just pours from the pages and I couldn't get enough of them.

And believe me when I tell you, of all the directions I thought this was going, not in my wildest thoughts would I have been even remotely correct about where it ended. I was caught so completely by surprise, my jaw was on the floor.

Marlee Bush is absolutely an author to be keeping your eye on and I already can't wait for her next book.

I absolutely loved it, and you will too, I promise.

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WHEN SHE WAS ME by @marleebushwriter ✨
ARC REVIEW • PUB DATE 05.07.24

an incredible debut thriller that will keep you guessing until the end 👏🏻

A story of twins : one who is afraid to leave the house & the other who is a true crime podcaster who live in a secluded cabin. A new crime in the area brings back their vivid, disturbing past.

I enjoyed this book and will highly recommend to my thriller friends 🖤

Read if you love:
-missing persons
-unbreakable sibling bond
-twin trope
-dual timeline (flashbacks to the past)
-spooky/creepy elements

4⭐️

Thank you so much to @netgalley @poisonedpenpress & @dreamscape_media for my advanced ebook + audiobook! 📖 🎧

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