Friday, March 08, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

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Pretty Girl-13
Liz Coley
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication date: March 19th 2013
by Katherine Tegen Books

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?

-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-
This is the perfect example of a book you should go into completely blind. I did not read the synopsis beforehand (I think I may have months ago but I couldn’t recall anything), nor did I even know the genre. I went in with zero expectation, and came out of it baffled by how it blew me out of the water!

Since I think everyone should do like me and go in without a clue, I will not ruin the moment for you either. But I can safely tell you the very basics without changing your reading experience: Angie went missing, then she comes back suddenly, and with absolutely zero memory of the past three years of her life. Three years that, to her, has never passed. Thus she finds herself still in her 13 year old mind, but with a 16 year old body. This, to me, was unbelievable. Leaving me turning the pages frantically to try and get a grip of what exactly has happened to her, WAS happening to her. There are events at the beginning that leave your mind stunned; fascinated, mostly. But soon enough you begin to understand what she’s going through, and it opens up a whole new world of intrigue and wonder.

The story is raw and gritty, it left me both horrified and in a puddle of my own emotions. Upon turning the last page, all I wanted to do was burst into tears. As the story progresses, we learn exactly what happened to Angie, slowly, piece by shocking piece, until everything fits together at the end. This wonderful, strong, and brave soul really grabbed at my heart. I loved the protagonist and I adored her friends. I do have one qualm with the latter, though: When her friends see her–their missing and presumed dead friend–for the first time after three years, I was not convinced by their reaction. It was underwhelming. I’m also not sure about how the media could have been kept away for so long, or how easy it was for her to re-emerge herself into society without any chinks, not to mention her recovery’s progression. These are all easily forgivable in hindsight, though, being a YA novel. Yes the story could afford to be tighter and stronger, had it been more thoroughly dissected, in psychological terms especially–it would have also needed to be longer to achieve this–but the book progresses rather quickly and into a direction that essentially makes these qualms inconsequential to get to the heart of what this story wants to be.

For a review on this novel, my plan is to keep it short and to the point and I think that’s been achieved. We get into very hard topics, told in an amazingly effective way; intense, piercing, and all-consuming. Now, look away. Look. Away! And just read it!

4 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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33 Responses to “Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley”

  1. Johanna

    That was an amazing review. I just went immediately to Amazon and preordered this book. It’ll be published in 11 days. Seems like such a long time!

  2. Amy

    Awesome review!! I am about 30% done right now and am totally hooked. I actually woke up at 2am with my nook on my pillow lol!!! Like you, I went in pretty much blind. I read the synopsis months ago when I added it to my TBR list, but haven’t read it since. I am so intrigued by the story right now. At first I was really confused though. I seriously re-read the prologue like 3 times haha! Anyways, fabulous review. I can’t wait to uncover what really happened.

  3. Christianna Marks

    Gah, I need this book right now! Sounds like just the thing I would enjoy! I loved your review and that you didn’t give anything away. I have a feeling that a blind eye and this book would do nicely together!

  4. Nick

    Well, now I regret not requesting this title when it was available on Edelweiss thinking it wasn’t my kind of book. Good thing it comes out in a couple of days so I can get to read it soon. I love these kinds of books that leave you emotionally scarred for a long time after reading it. I love the sound of the protagonist and I’m dying to know what exactly happened to her. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the book despite the issues you had with it, Giselle. Fabulous review as always!

  5. Faith Sullivan

    I couldn’t agree more. I try to go into every book as blind as I can. Makes for a more enjoyable reading experience when you have a very limited idea of what you’re in store for.

  6. Molli

    I had such trouble with my review, and I tried not to go TOO into detail, but I may switch mine around a little, because I agree with you – go in not knowing! I didn’t recall the particulars of this one, just knew it was a kidnap story, so I was in a perpetual state of “whaaaaaa!” the entire time, but it was for the best. I didn’t know what to expect.

    That said, good review, Giselle! I like the sparse review – you told everyone just enough to whet their appetites. I was upset with how her parents reacted. I just wanted to shake them, hard, especially her dad. UGH.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  7. Bailey

    Sounds like such a good book! Going to have to go in to this one with tissues on hand it sounds like. I love it when I read a book and I’m not fully aware of what it’s about and then it blows me away. Best feeling! Great review! Cant wait to read this one. 🙂

  8. Sarah Elizabeth

    I half want to read this and half don’t want to read it cause I hate books that make me cry or feel depressed! So unsure whether to grab this quick or not at all! Great review 🙂

  9. Renae M.

    I definitely agree that this book was fascinating and gripping from the very beginning. I had no idea that Dissociative Identity Disorder was a real thing, or that the mind could do the kind of things Angie’s mind did outside of a sci-fi novel or something. Completely amazing.

  10. Kate @ Ex Libris

    This was a very intense book. I think, at time, it tried to be too much, but I thought the author did a good job at showing how hard Angela had to work to reclaim her life.

  11. Shooting Stars Mag

    I do really want to read this one so I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. The author was near me recently, but I was unable to go due to work. Bummer. I’m sure it would have been great and I would already own the book by now.

  12. rainbowsnbooks

    I have been meaning to check this book out…but just didn’t feel good about it. Idk what it was exactly, but your review changed that! I’m so excited to start this now! Also I see you are reading 17 & Gone, I’ll be looking forward to reading your take on it.

  13. Evie Seo

    Sounds awesome, Giselle! I have this one for review, too, though I will be reading it in May for my Contemporary Month. I’m sure excited for it, it looks amazing! I haven’t read the synopsis (I usually don’t), and it seems like the right decision in this case 🙂 Great review, as always!

  14. Candace

    I have read a lot of mixed things about this one but your review has me thinking I definitely need to read it! I like going into a book kind of having zero idea what it’s really about. I think I tend to like it more that way.

  15. Silverlight

    You had me at “left me both horrified and in a puddle of my own emotions” YOU feeling that way, totally has me 100% believing that this book is everything you said and more!!

  16. Eileen

    EEK! I’m glad that you loved this one so much! I agree, everything was really gritty and it was so insane how she didn’t remember three WHOLE YEARS of her life. AHH. But yeah, some of the reactions where underwhelming.

    BUT SERIOUSLY. Angie seriously got hit with the unfortunate end of life because she had SO MUCH going on with her life and I was like FREAKING OUT.

    Awesome review, Giselle! *fangirls away* (I’ve been really hyper these days. I blame my lack of sleep. I DON’T KNWO WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME MY INTERNAL CLOCK IS BROKEN *taps over and over again* *doesn’t know when to leave the comment box* *wanders away*)

  17. Henrietta @ Leisure Reads

    It’s such a great experience reading what you have to share while wondering if this is the type of stories that I’d like to read. You don’t know how many times I’ve purchased books that are totally outside of my comfort zone just because I’ve read an awesome review from you. I now feel as though I must go ahead and learn about what had really happened to this girl named Angie. Thank you, Giselle!

  18. Lauren

    I have this one waiting on my e-reader and now I’m even more excited to get started. I also have zero story expectations going in, so hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised like you.

    It sounds like a challenging, emotional read, but sometimes those are the best kind! Angie sounds like a wonderful protagonist. So excited to read this! Beautiful review 🙂

  19. Lyn Kaye

    Okay, I am taking your advice and I stopped reading the review. I hope I can get this in my collection and discuss the book with you!

  20. YA Anonymous

    Ooh, I love the feeling of being pleasantly surprised by a book. And I love reviewers who understand that and don’t spoil anything in their review! 🙂 I’ll keep an eye out for this when it comes out.


  21. Jenn Renee

    great review. I love going into novels blind… but I hardly ever do it. I am too curious for my own good. I am hoping to listen to this book soon on audio and I will go in blindly. I promise!

  22. Megan K.

    So glad you enjoyed this! 🙂 Most of the time I’m pretty vary of thrillers or mysteries, because they don’t actually thrill. I’m glad that this wasn’t the case with this book; I’m really looking forward to it! Great review, Giselle!