Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Release date: March 19th 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Psychological Thriller
Format: ARC
Pages: 344
Source: Review copy from author

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?

Wow, this book. It actually took me a little while to recover from it. Pretty Girl-13 is definitely not for the faint-hearted! I've honestly never read anything like this before, and I'm fascinated and disturbed at the same time. I know this book is going to plague my dreams tonight! This is an amazing debut from Liz Coley, and it's going to stay with me for quite a while.

The blurb of Pretty Girl-13 intrigued me immediately. Why couldn't Angie remember the three years of her life she spent in captivity? And of course I wanted to know everything about the alters. This book shocked me at every turn. It's dark, it's serious, and it's completely captivating. Angie has a lot to deal with when she returns home after three years with no memory of what happened to her. In fact, she still believes she's thirteen, and that not a day has gone by since that fateful night she went out of the camping tent at night. This book addresses issues that are way too much for most YA readers. This is definitely more of an upper YA book at the least.

Angie has something called dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, which I'm more familiar with. She has alternate personalities residing within her, which explains why she can't remember anything from the past three years. Her 'alters' have been living through her, doing everything they can to protect Angie from the horrors they chose to face instead. When she returns, all Angie wants is to find out what happened. And she does try, very hard. I admired her resilience and her ability to cope with everything despite how messed up her life was.

Angie has quite a few alters, all very different from her. I quite liked Girl Scout - she was the easiest to get to know. And how could I not love the little one called Tattletale? Little Wife is the bitchy one, but she has her reasons. And Angel, the only male alter, definitely lives up to his name. He really is like an avenging angel. And all of Angie's alters together have saved her life countless times. I loved this concept, and I love the fact that Liz Coley is bold enough to address this kind of stuff in a YA novel, something I've never seen before. Pretty Girl-13 is definitely a very daring novel, and Liz has pulled it off really well.

I think Liz wrote the perfect ending to this book. A lot of people wouldn't agree with me, but I really liked it, as well as the fact that some things were kept secret even after the book ended. I would like to know what they are, of course, but I'm sure Liz had her reasons to leave those secrets untouched. In a way this just made the ending even more effective to me, so I applaud Liz for writing it the way she did.

I seriously couldn't take my eyes off the pages until I was done. It's addictive, I tell you! I was completely pulled into Angie's story, and I loved it. I loved the writing, the depth of the novel, and the originality. There were some things that were quite predictable, as well as a few things that didn't really add up, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book. It's so starkly different from anything I've read! I'm definitely looking forward to more from Liz Coley, because I see enormous potential here. Pretty Girl-13 is a must-read, especially if you love psychological thrillers!

*Thank you to Liz Coley for providing an ARC for review*


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