Monday, March 11, 2013

ARC Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Pages: 352 pages
Format acquired: Paperback (ARC)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: March 19th 2013
Source: Received from publisher for an honest review (Thanks, Christine!)
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)


This book too me out of my reading plateau. I had stopped reading for a while because none of the books I had were interesting enough to read beyond chapter 5. I though Pretty Girl-13 was going to be one of them, but boy was I wrong!! From the very moment I turned to page 1 and started reading, I was hooked. I couldn't even put the book down to answer the phone or go to the loo. I just sat there, getting lost in the story as 3 1/2 hours ticked by. Yes, this was one of Those books.

The book starts off with in a camping site in the forest. Our lead, Angie is then taken by a stranger and a little voice inside tells her to hide. The next scene comes with Angie in front of her house, carrying a bag of unfamiliar clothes 3 years later. I don't know why, but this story is not something you can talk about without spoiling it. The gist of it is that Angie's mind created alter-egos so that she would be able to bear and cope the abuse she got while she was held captive by the strange man. It was her mind's defense mechanism to cushion the blows that would definitely traumatize her were they (the alter egos) not there.

Some people may think that the part where Angie's mom was mentioned to be pregnant was a complete waste of time and shouldn't have been in there and did nothing for the plot, I'd like to think differently. For Angie, being lost for 3 years seemed impossible to her, but it still happened. And when her parents, friends and everything around her has changed, she craved the normalcy of her old life back. Something she now can't have, and that baby is one of the constantly present reminders why. Because even when she tries to act like everything is normal and she didn't go missing for 3 years, she still did. And  that baby proves to her that things HAVE changed and that people have learned to go on without her. How would do you think you feel like if you were kidnapped and forgotten about?

This book may either strongly grip you or make you think its a joke. There are no lukewarm sides to this. I feel like it's another creative, more intricate version of Living Dead Girl. In LDG, though, she was fully aware and had a presence if mind during the entire ordeal with her abductor. Here, Pretty Girl-13 shows us that not all of us can just suck it up and still be strong in the end. (SPOILER-ish: She DID stay strong in the end. You go, Angie!) PG-13 shows us an alter situation that may or may not happen to anyone. In my heart, though. I loved how this book was a new, fresh idea that would stick with me forever. The only thing I can say is that if you love reading mystery or altering POVs, than you should definitely give this book a try.


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