by Liz Coley
Published by Katherine Tegen Books Release date : March 19th 2013
Genres: Family, Mystery/Thriller, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: Purchased | Format: Hardcover
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • Audible • The Book Depository
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Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological thriller about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity and then piece together her own identity.
When thirteen-year-old Angela Gracie Chapman looks in the mirror, someone else looks back--a thin, pale stranger, a sixteen-year-old with haunted eyes. Angie has no memory of the past three years, years in which she was lost to the authorities, lost to her family and friends, lost even to herself. Where has she been, who has been living her life, and what is hiding behind the terrible blankness? There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.
With a tremendous amount of courage and support from unexpected friends, Angie embarks on a journey into the darkest corners of her mind. 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 people responsible, or is there another way to feel whole again?
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.
Back when Pretty Girl-13 was released, I had seen it around on blogs and raving reviews were clogging up my feed on Goodreads, but I never gave this one a second glance. Why? Because, as we have discussed many, many times, our taste change over time. At the time, I didn’t pick up many “touchy subject” books, so why would I? After seeing it on sale though (for $1.99 STEAL) I snagged it up.
I started Pretty Girl-13 randomly. I say that because, it wasn’t on my schedule and was actually collecting dust on my shelf. But I was in a slump and was ahead of schedule for my reviews books, so I started it one night. This book… *sigh* this book is really, really difficult to discuss and honestly, I am having a real hard time collecting all my thoughts on this together, as a whole. There are a few things I liked but I have so many issues with this book.
To start off– this book was brutal. It’s one of those books that will pull you in and holds on tight, constricting your heart and forces you sit and finish, because you have to know what happened. I loved that this book explores something I personally, have yet to read about. Dissociative Identity Disorder or, DID. It was so fascinating how Liz explores this psychological disorder and how it effected Angie and learning everything about the “alters.” However, unraveling the details behind this disorder, and why Angie had it, was heartbreaking, brutal and again, hard to read.
Angie was hard to relate and connect to. I feel this is mainly due to the lack of depth to her character. Her narrative was inconsistent and she was way to flippant about the whole thing. Initially, when we first “meet” Angie, she has no recollection of the past 3 years, thus believing that she is 13. But her characterization was all over the place. I just don’t see how she could go from an innocent, 13-year old girl to a brave, take charge of your life 16-year old girl. It didn’t sit right with me, at all.
I didn’t “connect” to ANY of her “alters” either but I had a little bit more sympathy for them vs Angie. (Yes, I realize they are the same person, but then again, they are NOT) I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of WHY. Especially since one confession would make me sound like an inconsiderate A-whole, so let us move on.
We learn about what happened to Angie over the course of the book, through her Alters. I actually applaud the way this was done. I was never confused on which Alter we were “hearing from,” and slowly learning from each one, specifically, what their role was and how they felt, was fascinating. A little –okay a LOT– disturbing too. But to be real, this was the only thing I liked about the writing.
There is such a thing as too much, and there was just TOO MUCH going on here. Her parents, for starters. There were just too many things that were not right with how they acted and what they did. Her so-called friends. their reactions to her return were odd and appalling. I know kids can be mean, especially in High School, but they were on a whole new level. There was an introduction to a romance as well. WHY this was done, I have no idea. I wish that whole ordeal was nixed.
There was a lot more than just Angie’s disorder and abduction too, View Spoiler » Like, her Uncle « Hide Spoiler and the twist at the end that was necessary and in no way plausible View Spoiler » C’mon. The odds of that baby being adopted by her neighbor?! *snort* « Hide Spoiler And with each new revelation, I just kept thinking, “What else!?” WHAT ELSE can this poor girl have suffered through?
So you see, my thoughts are jumbled all over the place. In one hand, we have a fascinating psychological thriller, focusing on DID (which I loved) that kept my attention and fascinated me. In the other, there were so many things I really disliked and I thought there was just too much going on. In turn, made it seem so unrealistic in my eyes.
Overall- I did enjoy it. However many issues I had, I still felt gutted and like my heart was breaking. I think a lot of my issues with it were personal, and others will enjoy this much more than I did.