Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

 Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do—people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?
Hardcover, 352 pages

Expected publication: March 19th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

Pretty Girl-13 is a powerful novel dealing with heavy, real-life issues.  Even with the disturbing subject matter, the author managed to write a sad but beautiful story.  The story circles Angie post-abduction trying to figure out her new life and what happened while she was gone.  It focused a lot on the psychology of such a victim rather than the event itself.  The real mystery of the novel was not who abducted her, but the mystery of Angie’s own head -- the reason (or reasons) for her amnesia.

I loved the realistic way the author explored the difficulties of coming home after such an experience.  Even though Angie has been through enough for ten lifetimes, her homecoming isn’t all sunshine and roses.  Her parents have to readjust to her essentially coming back from the dead, her old friends have moved on each in their own directions.  Angie has to navigate through the drama of friends and family, though with a stumble and a fall here and there.

I was impressed with how Angie progressed gradually from her thirteen year old mind into a sixteen year old one.  Her thoughts and actions fit those of a thirteen year old, but over the novel, her behavior started to change.  It was subtle and easy to miss, flowing right along with the story.
The only thing that bothered me was that their seemed to be a lot of coincidences that hung from the edge of being unrealistic.  I take that back; there were a few things that were completely unrealistic.  I can’t really spell them out as they would be spoilers, but since they occurred so far into the book, it didn’t really bother me.  I was already engrossed beyond recovery and merely raised an eyebrow at my book.

Since this story deals with a more vexing subject matter, I would recommend it for more mature readers rather than younger teens (or immature older people).  I definitely think it is worth a read for anyone who finds the possibilities of the human mind fascinating.

Final Thought: 8 out of 10 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads


  1. Very interesting. I'm glad to have your opinion on this one, Momo.