Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books on March 19, 2013
Genre: Abuse, Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: ARC From Publisher
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Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Pretty Girl-13 completely took me by surprise! This book is really heavy. It’s dark, gritty, and deals with some seriously intense issues. I adored this book, but not in the usual girly, giddy, fan-girl-scream way. I adored Pretty Girl-13 in the sense that it really shook me to my core and left me speechless. It’s an extremely sad and emotionally draining book, but it will leave you with dark and heavy thoughts that are sure to change you.

My biggest fear going into Pretty Girl-13 was that the “alters” would be confusing. These “alters” are Angie’s other personalities. She developed them as a way to cope with extreme physical and emotional abuse. But I was afraid that these multiple personalities would make the book extremely confusing, especially if we were hopping from one personality’s point of view to another. But don’t worry—none of those fears became a reality; Liz Coley does a wonderful job crafting this book with zero confusion. It’s definitely intriguing and a bit freaky to think about, but it’s not confusing. For the most part, we don’t actually see from the other personalities’ points of view (there are a few minor exceptions). Usually when we hear from them it’s in the form of a physical letter or recording from one personality to Angie. This more ‘physical’ way of hearing from the other personalities made it really easy to relate to and almost just view them as separate people.

On a similar note: don’t be freaked out by the second person point of view in the prologue. I have to be honest, it scared the shit out of me. Second person isn’t something you come across often and I was confused, scared, and worried. It kind of put me off on a bad foot with Pretty Girl-13. But the rest of the book (or at least 99% of it) is formatted in a more traditional third person point of view. Now and then we do get the second person narrative, and that’s when we’re reading from an alter, who’s sort of talking to Angie as “You”. (I’m afraid I’m making this sound confusing, but I promise—it’s not.)

Liz Coley did a fabulous job of slowly revealing the information about Angie’s capture. We only learn bits and pieces at a time, but each new piece of information is a twist in the story. It’s bomb drop after bomb drop, and things just get scarier, creepier, and more traumatic. But Angie was a fabulously strong main character and I was amazed at how well she took everything. She was a real trooper, and I loved that about her! I also loved the integration of therapy. I’m usually one of the people that’s a little bit skeptical of therapy, but this book did a great job to demonstrate how therapy can really help a person overcome traumatic experiences, and it was brilliant!

Pretty Girl-13 is certainly a dark book and you can’t go into it light-hearted, but I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an intriguing, fascinating, and devastating read all in one. This book is just as hopeful as it is traumatic, and I love how Angie and Liz are able to point out the light amidst a sea of darkness.

The Verdict

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24 comments

    1. It’s totally a mind fuck! But an awesome one. The second POV did scare the crap out of me but luckily it didn’t exist much outside the prologue. It honestly really put me off the book at first. But then it switched to third person and all was good!

  1. The publisher sent this to me, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. I am glad it’s good. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Devastating. Scary. Intense. No light-hearted. Gritty. Um, where do I sign up? This book is so me and what I’m into right now that I’ll have to get ahold of it sooner rather than later. I’m really interested in that second person narrative (I admit, you confused me a little but I’m hoping the book rectifies that) and multiple personalities playing out on the page. Very interesting and awesome review. : )

    Jessie Marie recently posted: Stacking the Shelves (3)
    1. I hope you get around to reading this book Jessie Marie because I would LOVE to see what you think!!

    1. LOL I’m glad I wasn’t the only one freaked out by the “you”! I’m glad it went to a more ‘normal’ third person after that!

  3. Yay, I’m so glad you loved this as much as I did (I really haven’t found anyone else who did, haha). I agree—Pretty Girl-13 isn’t a book you love in a fangirlish sense, but more in a huge punch to the emotional gut type of way. At the end I was kind of mentally exhausted. Angie’s story is so powerful, and Coley did a fantastic job in handling the mental health aspect and making it interesting without overloading the reader with information.

    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts recently posted: This Week In Books (3/17/13-3/24/13)
  4. I was kind of initally put off by this book, not because of the plot, but because of the book cover (which I don’t like at all). However, bloggers have been raving about this, so I should probably give this book a shot 🙂 I’ve never read a second person view point! That’s so intense!

    Janita @ Book, Interrupted recently posted: New Feature! Top Notch Covers
    1. Yeah the cover is kind of weird. I think I almost never read the summary because I’m not crazy about it. But the book itself is excellent!

  5. I’ve been dying to read this one for ages Ashley, I’ve had it on my TBR in my room since the day it came out but haven’t gotten around to it because of the whole abuse thing and personality thing, even though its the reason I bought it because it intrigued me. Blogger have been constantly raving about this one and I think your review was the final push to get me to finally read this one! Great Review Ashley 🙂

    1. Oh Lily I hope you love it! I know it is a tough subject and pretty gritty, but I promise that’s what makes the book so intense and awesome!

  6. OMG right? This was almost a 5 stars for me I loved how gritty it was. I mean, I was horrified and I couldn’t keep reading it was really so much heftier than I had expected. To be honest I don’t think I even noticed it was in 2nd person and I’m the same way. I rarely get into them. So happy you enjoyed it!

    1. I’m glad you loved this one too Giselle! It was totally creepy and sad, but that’s what kept me glued!

  7. EEEKK oh my gosh! I loved this book! Its was just so dark and emotional, tugging at my heart strings repeatedly! I found myself crying (mostly crying), laughing, distraught, shocked, the list was endless! The plot kept turning and once Angie found closure in one part of her life another opened up. I kept yelling at the book (im weird like that) and once my my mom walked in on me…. Ahem anyways OMFG i just didnt expect to see half things that happened, part 3? WOW! Now im going to stop my comment now cos i have i feeling id pour my heart out so ciao! ^.^

    PS I HATE YUNCLE BILL! DIE U CREEP!

    Emmm… Ignore that……

    1. AHHHH I KNOW!!! This book was INCREDIBLE!!! O_O It’s just so ridiculously mind boggling! I adored it! 😀 I’m so happy you did too!!!!

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