Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Book Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

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?

Pretty Girl-13 could have been excellent. It is about a challenging and interesting subject matter that should emotionally engage its audience. But the truth is that I found Pretty Girl-13 over done and its subject matter overplayed.

It started well and I was instantly interested and engaged in what was going on. I had hopes the author was going to treat this subject matter with some realism but like so many other authors out there things seem to get out of hand and what follows are pages and pages of unneeded twists and drama.

Angie was abducted when she was 13 years old. She is forced to become a sexual slave for her abductor and spends the next three years of her life living in hell. Suddenly, she is sent home but has no memory of what has happened to her or where those three years have gone. She suffers from a multiple personality disorder that she developed to help her deal with her imprisonment. This book should have been just about that, about her recovery, about her disorder, about trying to get back to life after everything she has been through, but instead (because protagonists in these books seem to have to go to hell and back to get a happy ending) all this other stuff happens that is not needed. There are pregnancies, babies, fires, school drama, boy drama, family drama, slut shaming, abusive uncles…it just goes on and on and I just have to question why? Why was it needed?

The more I read, the more insane it seemed to get and I couldn’t quite believe it. Again, and I feel like I am constantly moaning about this in my reviews lately, why is the need to go over the top with drama so popular at the moment? In the last few months I have read this book, Pushing the Limits, Nobody But us and Hooked that all share this problem, they are all about serious problems, and they are all over dramatized to the point where I actually get angry. Are these issues, these real life issues that teens face every day not enough? I just cannot help but think that it is just not being taken seriously at all, and that makes me sad.

This is not personal against the author. I did think this book was well written and brave to attempt. It just appears to be a trend in YA writing at the moment, and it is a trend I just do not like. This book, I am sure, will do really well. Already other reviewers are raving about it and that’s fine. I know my opinion is not a popular one Pretty Girl-13 is not the first book to make me feel like this and it will not be the last.

2 stars

Published March 19th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips


  1. I understan your point of view, I feel the same sometimes it's like the writters never have enought suffering and keeps adding dark moments to their books.
    This sounds like a hard book to read, specially if so much drama is included
    Great review

  2. I initially thought that this was paranormal because of the cover and I never expected it to be contemporary.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories


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