Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

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Pretty Amy
Lisa Burstein
Release date: May 8th, 2012
by Entangled Publishing

Goodreads / Purchase

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. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

*A copy was provided by Entangled Publishing for review purposes*

Turned out being much more intense than I expected, Pretty Amy is a contemporary novel filled with disasters and mistakes, during a hard journey to self discovery.

Amy lacks self confidence. She always has. This is what causes her to have trouble fitting in as well as constantly worrying about what others think of her. Her voice is very melodramatic which makes her sounds like a genuinely lost, broken teenager. High school is hard and demanding in a lot of ways – especially socially; It would be easy for a lot of readers to relate to her. I did myself to a certain degree, I understood her completely and I get it. I really do. Nevertheless, I still found myself getting bothered by her constant crestfallen attitude. This became such a problem even for her, that she was ready to sacrifice her whole life for friendships that were not in any way worth it. And again, I get it. I get that she finally finds some friends with who she fits in – or at least better than before – so she would do everything to keep this friendship. Still, it’s like she’s so blinded by this want, that she fails to see that these so-called friends, are clearly not worth sacrificing a future for. I always have a hard time connecting with this sort of selfless, hardheaded personality. Regardless, Amy does have a knack for getting you to feel for her; I truly did. I also enjoyed her sarcastic tone. Her internal dialogue can get pretty amusing.

Amy’s mom, she needs her own lovely paragraph. *stab stab* If I ever had to maim a fictional mother, Amy’s would be the one I would choose! Easily one of the most cold-hearted parent I’ve met fictionally; her exaggerated anger and seemingly uncaring attitude towards Amy and her situation definitely riled me up. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t even listen to what Amy had to say. I don’t think she never even asked, or found out, what really happened. On the other hand, why wouldn’t Amy just explain? Her mother simply assumed Amy was a drunk drug addict who deserved everything she was getting. I’m sure some parents are like that so I won’t say it’s unrealistic, but it still made it terribly hard for me to believe.

This is a tough story. It’s filled with loneliness and regret. Longing and self doubt. But it’s a story that has heart. It addresses real issues that too many teenagers encounters. Peer pressure, reckless decisions, loyalty, insecurity – really, every teenager goes through bouts of these at one point or another (though not always as deeply). It’s a great portrayal of high school angst. I thought it was well written and easily engrossing, which is why I still quite enjoyed it even though I didn’t completely connect to Amy herself. If you enjoy contemporaries with a raw, tense vibe, but also comical at times, I think Pretty Amy would easily capture your attention!

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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18 Responses to “Review: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein”

  1. Nicola

    Awesome review, Giselle! I’m really interested in this one. I’m loving contemporary books this year so will absolutely be checking it out. 😀

  2. Sam

    This definitely does sound more intense that the cover and synopsis suggests! But I’m glad to hear there is also humour. Great review Giselle! 🙂

  3. Amy

    *sobs* We had a different rating on a book. Awesome review chick!! I too wanted to get all stabby with Amy’s mom. I mean my mom was a bit like that, with the whole not listening thing, but she wasn’t just a cold hearted evil woman like that. My mom actually had me on court ordered curfew because she thought I was a troubled teen lol. I so wasn’t that bad. I just liked to hang out with my friends and didn’t like my step dad so I didn’t want to be at home. *shrugs* I think what appealed to me was the realness of the book. Sorry you didn’t like it more muffin!!

  4. Giselle

    Thanks ladies.

    @Amy: I know right? But I still liked it, I was also expecting something light and fun so it probably played into it.

  5. Candace

    Yeah this is definitely not a light read! And Amy’s mom made me angry too! And I wanted Amy to explain things but I remember when I was a teen and false rumours were spread about me and my parents thought it was true since it was adults accusing me of things. I quickly realized it didn’t matter what I said, they didn’t believe me. So I REALLY wanted Amy to tell someone the truth but I kind of got why she didn’t too. Glad you liked it okay anyway!

  6. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Great review Giselle. I’ve had my eye on this one, but wasn’t too sure about it. To be honest the cover kind of turns me off. But, I find I’m really into contemp right now so I think I will definitely give this one a go. Thanks!

  7. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    Sorry you didn’t connect w/the characters do well. I hate when that happens to me. PA was heavier than I expected, but I actually appreciated that.
    I connected a lot w/Amy. I think her story could have a great deal of value for teens.
    Great review!

  8. Melliane

    I don’t know if this one is for me but it sounds like a beautiful story. And the cover is really nice. thanks for the review.

  9. Giselle

    @Andrea: I agree! A lot of teens could relate to Amy!

    @Candace: Oh I know I get it too. Some parents are even worse than her. Still, I wanted to slap her so bad! >.<

    Thanks, ladies!

  10. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Wow, based on the cover and the synopsis, I expected this book to be a little more.. light and fluffy. More a chick lit, but it sounds like something deeper. Still not sure if it’s really a book for me, but I think that the whole lonely and insecure aspect is something I could relate to.

  11. Danny

    I was always intrigued by this book and I was eager to read some reviews about this. It does sound a little on the intense side, which I didn’t expect to be honest but still, it does sound good and I’m totally adding it to my list 🙂

  12. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Great review, love. Pretty Amy is on my list of books to read and review, and I am looking forward to seeing how high school life is portrayed. I, too, have a hard time connecting with characters who are so angsty and stubborn, so I hope I don’t get too irritated by Amy.

  13. YA Anonymous

    What’s with blurbs/covers setting readers up for a completely different tone?! I’m glad I read your review, Giselle, because I would not have been expecting something quite so angsty. Now at least I won’t go into the book thinking one thing and being disappointed that it’s something else. Great review, Giselle! 🙂


  14. Vegan YA Nerds

    This sounds fantastic, Giselle! Normally a cover like this would put me off, even though I love contempt YA but now that I’ve read your review, I really need to get a copy of this!