The Girl She Was Before by Jess Kitching


Jess Kitching weaves critical issues whilst brilliantly carving a great crime/ mystery novel in The Girl She Was Before


Photo credits: Nabihah Plaatjes

As someone who is able to deduce or guess possible suspects, even I was taken aback when I finished this book. The author's skilful writing had me considering possible conspiracy theories, yet in the end, I was blown away with her ability to somehow pull the wool over my eyes.

It was an incredible feeling to finish a book that not only managed to achieve this, but to display the actual reality of society without sugar-coating issues, and narrating it exactly how it is in the world today!

Jess Kitching delves into bullying in ALL aspects: Teen, Adult and Cyber-bullying. At times, the bullying chapters were so intense that my insides felt as if they wanted to curl up and cry. However, it is with this intensity and realness that allows you to understand the long term effects as well as the impact that bullying has on a person, as well as society as a whole. 

I cannot emphasize enough how well written and "real" this novel is:

The fact that everyone turns a blind eye to bullying whether it's a child, an adult, or it's online; is so indicative of real life because I know from experiences, that people do not give a "shit" (mind the language), if it's not happening to them.

The characters also portrayed relatable people, so much so, that I felt the urge to slap some of them for their blatant disregard to recognise their own privilege! (I won't tell you who now, but once you read the book, please let me know so we can chat about it! :) )

The Girl She Was Before also touches on the topic of social media influencers and their lives... and livelihood, so if you are keen to understanding some aspect of influencers, have a read.


Overall, I can honestly say that I loved this book and at one point I got so annoyed that I'm not getting a chance to finish it, by getting interrupted (with real life 😩); that for the last few chapters, I stayed up until midnight reading alone in the dark while everyone was asleep, even though I needed to wake up the next morning at 5am! 

I love that the author throws me off completely! 5/5

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"A crime thriller with a brilliant twist you won’t see coming!!"

"Powerful, packed full of gruelling details that will linger with you long after the book has finished."

Nat lives a picture-perfect life, but it wasn’t always this way. A victim of horrific bullying when she was a teenager, Nat will do anything to keep distance between the girl she was before and the woman she is now.

But when her best friend is murdered and people begin to point their finger at her, Nat’s new life quickly begins to unravel.

To Nat, it’s no surprise that the crime happened at the same time as the return of her biggest tormentor, Chrissy Summers. A woman with a violent streak who destroyed lives when she was younger and isn’t afraid to do it again.

Face to face with the past she so firmly keeps behind her, Nat’s sanity wavers as her determination to reveal Chrissy as the monster she knows her as, rises to dangerous heights.

The question is, can Nat prove Chrissy is a killer, or will Chrissy get to Nat and her family before she has the chance?

You can’t outrun the past…

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Author: Jess Kitching
Publisher: Kingsley Publishers
Publication Date: 31 October 2021

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Nabihah Plaatjes is the Co-Founder of

She is an Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Change Agent, Published Contributing Author, Journalist, Marketing and Social Media Specialist, a Bachelor of Arts graduate, and has been writing since the age of 9.

Nabihah is passionate about Brand Awareness and Brand Loyalty and uses her knowledge in these fields together with her copywriting, editing and proof-reading skills to bring brands to life. is a primary example of how she can build your brand.

Find her at: Instagram: @nabihah_dp / @ilovezacom Twitter: @nabihahd / @ilovezacom Facebook:  LinkedIn: Nabihah Plaatjes / YouTube: SoundCloud: E-mail: is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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 #iloveza❤️🇿🇦 #AfterFajrGrind Accolades:

2021 Winner of Brand South Africa's Nation Pride Play Your Part Award

2018 Winner of Tech Savvy Boss Award at the Roshgold Young Business Achiever Award

Nabihah Plaatjes Accolades:

2023 CEO of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA)

2018 Contributing Author to SAFFRON: A Collection of Personal Narratives

2017 Recipient of Owami Women & Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Award

Ziyaad Plaatjes Accolades:

2021 Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans: Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media 

2020 Contributing Author to There's a Story in Everyone

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