26 March 2013

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Release Date: 19 March 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Get a copy! Amazon

Goodreads description:
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?

My Thoughts...
When I saw this on Edelweiss, I'm not even sure what made me decide to request it, but I am most certainly glad that I did.  Liz Coley has woven together an intense psychological thiller that will really blow you away--but I recommend going in with as little prior knowledge of the story as possible.

What I Liked:
First and foremost, I like the way that the story was written.  It is very much in Angie's head the whole time and I think that works perfectly for the story that Ms. Coley is telling. Angie is clearly confused upon her return home, having no recollection of the past three years.  She doesn't even realize that she's been missing.  Her struggle to figure out what happened to her is traumatic to say the least and it could really only be told from her very singular point of view.

The story that Ms. Coley tells is immensely intriguing and disturbing--nothing short of an emotional roller coaster.  As the details of Angie's story are revealed, as is what is happening to Angie herself right now, the story continually sucks you in.  Everything leads up to an ending that leaves you sad yet satisfied with a hint of continuing horror at what has happened to this young woman.  I think that's what it is meant to do and I think that for tackling such a difficult topic for a YA novel this one has done a great job.

What Was Dissatisfying:
The reactions of those around her.  Whether it was her parents or her friends, I simply found that ways that they reacted to her return to be slightly less than on par with what might really happen.  Her parents  went back and forth between understanding and supportive to cranky and annoying.  I understand that it might be confusing to them to have her back with no recollection of what happened, but I also wish that they could have been a little more...compassionate at times, especially her father.  Her friends were simply...unimpressive in their reaction to her return.  It's been three years, for heaven's sake! I appreciate that they still want to be her friends, but I think that it would be more shocking to them that she is back and less of a sense of let's just pick right back up where we left off.

I also found it difficult to believe that the media was truly kept away for such a long time.  The moment that she is recognized at school should have been the moment that the media began getting involved, at least a little.   A girl who returns after three years missing is a big deal and not something that I think would stay hidden for as long as it did.

Overall...
This is one that I did choose to purchase for my library and I'm excited to share it with teens.  While I hope that none of them ever have to experience anything like this, I think that it is an eye-opening read. Also, a lot of teens today simply are dealing with a darker side of life that I don't have any clue about and reads like this one are what they are often looking for.  For many of my teens, their escape into reading needs to some semblance of their own reality--as dark and scary as that may be.

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