Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
March 19, 2013
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?
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 shocked me to the core with its honest and unnerving look at child abduction. I did not expect to be drawn into this one as much as I was, but I just couldn’t stop reading. It’s horrific and terrible, yet extremely fascinating to read about an experience like Angie’s. I was disgusted at times with the discoveries she made about her time with her abductor, but they were so telling and powerful. Coley handles a chilling story of a teen’s abduction and subsequent abuse with such a delicacy that it’s so incredible. I cannot recommend this book enough!
When PRETTY GIRL-13 opens up, Angie still thinks she’s 13 and somehow walked home from her camping trip, her last real memory. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s been missing for three long years and suspected to have been abducted by a predator. But Angie can’t remember any of that. She still feels 13 and is so disturbed that she can’t remember a thing from the last three years that she’s been gone. Was she raped? What’s with the scars on her body? And why is she waking up to things in the wrong places? As she begins to discover what’s really going on and what happened to her, the difficult healing process she embarks on begins to make Angie whole again.
Liz Coley really knows how to shock a reader! I can’t count the amount of times that I was gasping out loud as Angie learned more about herself and her past. I felt so sad for Angie throughout it all. She doesn’t know how to interact with her parents anymore and feels hurt at some of the things they do. She doesn’t feel like she fits in in a world that has changed so much from what she remembers. But Angie has an incredible inner strength that raises her up enough to get her through her treatment and face what she hasn’t been able to until then.
PRETTY GIRL-13 is a grim and crazy psychological YA that I fell in love with from the start. I did feel like a few things were wrapped up a bit too quickly, but overall this is one special book. Coley handles the serious issues in a touching way that will resonate with readers.