Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Amazon Vine
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Psychological, Mystery
Page Count: 352
Rating: [5/5 stars]
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. (summary from goodreads)
PRETTY GIRL-13 is a book that flew under my radar. I don’t usually read contemporary fiction, because I like something supernatural or magical to spice up a world. But once I read the first few pages of the book, I couldn’t finish it fast enough. I devoured PRETTY GIRL-13 in one sitting, blocking out everything around me and getting annoyed every time I needed to take a break.
The book starts with Angie returning home from a camping trip. Or so she thinks. When she greets her parents, she’s shocked by their reaction. They claim she has been missing for the last three years, and that she’s now 16. But the last thing Angie remembers is her Girl Scouts camping trip; she thinks she is 13.
From there, PRETTY GIRL-13 takes off. I usually try not to spoil the plot when I review a book, but in this case, I REALLY don’t want to say anything more. I went into the book blind, which I think is the best way to read it. If you’re debating reading this book, try to avoid spoiling yourself.
I can say that this is a dark psychological mystery. The author goes into some dark topics that you usually don’t see in a young adult novel. Angie’s story is chilling, terrifying, and emotional. At the same time, it’s inspirational and hopeful, because Angie is not a victim. She is a survivor. And let me tell you, she survives a lot.
Looking back, there are some aspects I could critique, but I’m not going there. I was fully immersed in the book while reading. When I finished, I felt empty, because there weren’t any more pages to turn. I read upwards of 100 books a year, and very few leave me with a physical reaction. I already know PRETTY GIRL-13 is going to be one of my favorite books of 2013, and it’s only April.
It is a fast read, so if you’re in doubt, give it a try. And while I read it in the space of a few hours, it’s a book that has stayed with me in the two weeks it’s taken me to write this review. Oh, lastly I do have to say that the prologue threw me for a loop, since it’s written in second-person POV, but almost all of the book in third-person. You’ll see why the prologue is different when you learn Angie’s story.