Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins Imprint)
  • Publication date: 3/19/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

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?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing-and ultimately empowering-page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

My Thoughts

I don't even know where to begin with this review. I really liked the book, but it was totally disturbing too. I don't know that I ever connected with Angie, but I think it's meant to be that way. She isn't even connected with herself. This was a bit on the predictable side, but I loved seeing it all unraveled and was so intrigued by the story. It is very psychological and gripping. The subject matter is tough, but it was done so well that it held my attention even when I wanted to cringe or cry for her.

Angie is completely lost. She literally doesn't know herself. She went missing from a camping trip when she was thirteen, and has now somehow arrived home as a sixteen year old. In her head she has completely lost the past three years. She still thinks she is a thirteen year old girl and she needs to slowly try to figure out what happened to her and why she has no memory at all of the last three years. Even now that she is back at home with no memories of what happened, she is losing large chunks of time in her days and doesn't know why. It's like she completely disappears from her own head. She was very determined to get to the bottom of it all, but also very scared and still felt like she had to hide things. I liked her character, but also thought she made some bad decisions. Though in the same situation I might do the same thing.

The storyline is intense. This book moves at a slow and steady pace. You are unraveling the past three years piece by piece and putting things together. This is one of those books that I really wish I wasn't so perceptive with because I think that the mystery of it all is really fascinating and how it all comes out is done really well. I did think that it was all a bit fast though. I understand that for book purposes it would have really bored us to draw it all out though. I also think that how she dealt with it all was a bit too easy. I really thought the way her parents reacted was very realistic. I may not have agreed with a lot of things, but it's explained and I got it.

I know this review seems totally vague, but I can't really say anything without it potentially spoiling the book. This was a fantastic psychological mystery, with some tough issues in it. Had I connected with the characters it would have probably been very emotional too. It's not to say that it didn't trigger some emotions because it definitely did, but I didn't feel like I was fully invested in it. I did really want to hug Angie and help her. I felt angry and disgusted at some of the events in the book. I think that it was really well written and held my interest from the beginning to end.


29 comments:

  1. I have this one up for review next and Giselle told me to read it completely blind, so I'm not reading your review yet. But I am so happy to see that it got 4 flowers! Everyone seems to be liking this one quite a bit!

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    1. Definitely better going in blind. I kept my review really vague and it's kind of a non review review lol! I had forgotten what it was about before reading it so it really made it interesting.

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  2. I saw a couple of early reviews from this book praising how suspenseful and intense the book is. I didn't request the title because I didn't think it would be my kind of book, but I'm kind of regretting it now. It sounds like such a great psychological thriller. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Amy. I need to get to it if the library ever gets a copy.
    Fabulous review, Amy!

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    1. I passed on a few that I knew I wouldn't have time for and wish I hadn't too. (Like Pivot Point) This is really a great book. You should request the library to get it. I know my library, even if they don't have a book, they can get it in from any of the libraries in the area.

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  3. Wow, this one sounds a bit intense. Nice review!

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    1. It really was, but it was great!

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  4. Great review. I'm almost finished reading this one as well and I liked the story. I agree, its hard writing a review without spoiling :)

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    1. This was a super hard review to write. I didn't even really want to put the synopsis up since it's much better going in not knowing too much.

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  5. I had seen some negative reviews of this one so I had set it aside, but today I have seen some really positive ones that has me wanting to pick it up now. I really want to know what was going on for those 3 years!

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    1. I didn't really read any reviews going into this. I knew from Giselle's review it was better to go in blind and since I had basically forgotten what it was about I didn't want to ruin it for myself.

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  6. This book is hard to read huh? There are some parts that just broke me down.

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    1. OMG! I was so angry and sickened at some of the things that happened. It was hard to read at times, but man was it good.

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  7. Oh wow, that's an intense premise! I've seen a lot of people reading this one lately and hadn't realized it was such a psychological thriller.. it totally reminds me a bit of Lovely Bones or something... disturbing, is right!

    Great (thankfully vague) review Amy! :)

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    1. I knew it was psychological, but I didn't realize how deep that went. This was really interesting and I thought it was pulled off well.

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  8. Very intense. I'm not sure it's for me but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. It has some really dark and disturbing subject matter in it and it's always a lot more intense when you are talking about a child. It was great, but some of it was really hard.

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  9. This is a case where I wish the blurb gave less information. Not sure if this one is too dark for me, but I loved your review!

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Yeah, I had forgotten what the blurb had said so this was great for me. When I read the blurb again after finishing I was like, "why would they give that much information?"

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  10. huh... this does sound intense. I don't think im such a fan of the slow and steady pace.. I kind of like my books to be past paced. Great review anyways!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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    1. I like a slow steady pace if the story is interesting. This one had me totally intrigued.

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  11. I need this book! I'm so excited for this!

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  12. Omg I'm so happy that you loved this one! When I went into it I had NO clue what it was even about and at first I thought it was sort of a paranormal you know how her personalities were talking to her etc. But then I was like WHOA this is some psychological mind shit and I totally love it! It was really disturbing though omg some parts truly horrified me but I couldn't look away! It was almost a 5 stars for me! I also agree that it was a little fast and her recovery could have been more realistic but it would have had to be much longer and maybe even worked better as an adult novel if she wanted to go that route. Great review, Amylicious!! :D

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    1. By the time I read it all I knew was that she had gone missing and came back and didn't remember it. I had forgotten all the other stuff so when all the different personalities came out I was like OMG what is happening!! I thought it was awesome!!

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  13. I agree. This book totally freaked me out, which is not easy in books! My only real complaint was about the sped up timeline, because the psychiatrist lady was like this will take years to do and they finish in like weeks. And I'm like...O_o?

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    1. Yeah, the speed of recovery bothered me too, but the book would have been like a million pages if they had done it correctly, or would have been missing large chunks of time and wouldn't have been as good.

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  14. Great review! Will have to keep a look-out fot this one! xx

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  15. I read this book recently too! I totally agree, this book was disturbingly amazing and I couldn't really owrk out what I felt about this book until like 2 days later. Angie recovered pretty quickly didn't she? Oh well... this psycological (is that how you spell it? LOL) book really kept me on the edge of my seat! Lovely review Amy ;)

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  16. I bought this one and I am anxious to receive it. I just finished 17 & Gone and it sounds like they have similar themes, maybe? I hope I like this one like I liked that one. Though it was far from perfect for me. Glad you enjoyed it, Amy!

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