Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: March 19, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

So... this book... WOW. I went into this book not knowing too much about the story (which is the best thing to do for this book), except for people saying how good it was, and just let Angie tell her story to me. I started this book and refused sleep until I got to the end because I needed to know how Angie got through everything. I'll be honest, I was a huge emotional basket case at the end (and quite a few times through this book),

Angie was thirteen when she was kidnapped, this is the story of her return and how she must deal with everything that has happened to her. This was a difficult book to read, because of the content, but it was so beautifully written as everything slowly unravels for Angie. When Angie comes home, she believes that she has just come back after a camping trip and doesn't realize she has been gone for three years, thus begins a story where Angie must reacclimate to this new life.

I really felt for Angie what she went through realizing that she doesn't know anyone around her anymore, and   then she has the issue of not remembering what has happened to her, she has so many problems to overcome. As Angie starts remembering things she has to decide how to handle everything that is coming out, and through all this she is trying to protect her parents. I found Angie to be such a strong character to go through what she had.

I could really tell that Liz Coley did quite a lot of research for this book, I really enjoyed learning about why Angie doesn't remember, and having it explained so much. This book was really informative in that aspect and really made me more interested in this idea.

My thoughts when I finished this book was how this is a book about one person's strength to deal with such a tough situation, and the strength to save yourself. But even more so this book is about loving yourself, and learning to trust again. This isn't a book that has huge twists, hints are dropped for the readers along the way, but some of the ideas are still shocking. I will admit that some plots that are brought up were difficult to believe and I don't think they added much to the story (one that comes up very close to the end in particular), but by that point it didn't really change my opinion too much, I had fallen in love with the character of Angie.

This book won't be for everyone, but I suggest giving it a chance, the things that happen in this book will stay with you, and really make you think about your own strength.

To learn more about Pretty Girl-13 and Liz Coley, go to the Harper Collins Canada website.


  1. I second everything you say here. It was a great book and clearly very well researched like you said. Wish there were more books like this!

  2. Great review Andrea! I too admired how Angie was so resilient and able to handle what had happened to her -- it was an empowering message. It's amazing what the brain can do in a time of stress, isn't it?

    I thought I'd be quite emotional with this book (I cry a lot when I read), but I think the mix of the alters telling the story and the fact that it was in past tense removed me from the story a bit and so I didn't end up getting emotional --- although I did get full of rage, and could feel myself going red at the dinner and Thanksgiving scene.

    I also left a reply to your comment on my review if you wish to see it!

  3. Yes yes yes! Love this review!

    I definitely agree that Coley's research was really evident in this. A lot of realistic fiction seems undercooked, like the author is just using pop culture stereotypes and basing her book off those. SO not the case here!

  4. I'm intrigued! Thanks for the review, I may check this one out.



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