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Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.
Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy.
Unfortunately, I am only myself. I am only Amy Fleishman. I am one of the legions of middle-class girls who search malls for jeans that make them look thinner, who search drugstores for makeup to wear as a second skin, who are as sexy and exotic as blueberry muffins.
Amy will, I think, steal your heart from page one of this book because her slightly broken, pessimistic personality turns her into a real person--not just another character on the page. Many readers will find themselves identifying with Amy's struggles to find her place in the world amidst the many pressures and pitfalls of being a teenager (even though most of us PROBABLY weren't arrested on our prom night, if we went at all). Her snarky wit, which manifests itself in hilarious one-liners, will have you laughing out loud and taking notes so you can steal her humor later. Now, I'll admit that there were times I wanted to reach in and shake the poor girl because she's seriously a hot mess and she just needs to step it up a bit! BUT, I think sometimes these sorts of characters are the ones that really insert themselves into our memories and the ones that we can relate to because haven't we all made stubborn mistakes and decisions?
She shouldn't have been surprise I was messed up. Anyone forced to wear a pink tutu and a Miss America ribbon that read Novocain Princess while holding a rolling-pin-size syringe and touting her father's dental practice on basic cable was bound to end up with some problems. Not unexpectedly, drug related.
Ms. Burstein's writing truly brings together this story in a perfect portrayal of the turbulent adolescent years. I felt like she really captured the emotions of being a teenager--the ups and downs, disappointments and revelations. I'm young enough that I remember quite vividly my own moments of utter betrayal at the hands of "friends" and the moments of pure bliss that showed up at random, unexpected times. This story brings you back to your own experiences, no matter how different they were from Amy's. We all had moments where our parents were the bad guys and we were too cool for school, where we struggled to find a place to fit in and once we did weren't sure that it was really the right place.
Even I knew that the way things really were was the exact opposite of what my parents had told me. Hard work and a college degree no longer meant anything other than moving right back in with the parents who had lied to you about it in the first place.Pretty Amy is a realistic portrayal of the world that your average teenager lives in. Sure, there were moments that required a bit of suspension of belief, but the overall tone and story rang true for me. Amy's story isn't clear-cut--her path is messy and filled with moments of uncertainty and betrayal. If you're looking for a fun contemporary YA read with a snarky protagonist, you can't go wrong with Pretty Amy. I've already pre-ordered a copy of my own. :)