Sunday, March 17, 2013

ARC Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
352 Pages

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.


I feel like this novel needs to come with a warning. Not one that says "KEEP AWAY," but "ENTER IF YOU DARE." Because Pretty Girl-13 is a daring novel that broaches a subject that is not often discussed in young adult fiction. It's controversial, it's gritty and it's mentally draining. It is not for everyone, but I think that those who can handle the subject, will find themselves strangely entranced by this young girl's horrible tale.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from Pretty Girl-13. The summary didn't make much sense to me, and I kept away from reviews so as not to spoil myself. I'm so glad I did. Reading this book would not have been the same had I been given any inkling of its content. I recommend that others with an interest in this novel do the same. It makes for an amazing experience.

Angie disappeared without a trace in the woods during a trip with her Girl Scouts troop, only to reappear three years later. She doesn't remember any of that time. Her last memory before "waking up" in her old neighborhood with extremely sore feet is leaving the campsite to go to the bathroom. To solve the mystery behind it all, she must unlock the memories with professional help. But the revelations may destroy her and everything she thought she knew about herself.

I'm honestly afraid I'm going to say too much and spoil it for anyone who reads this review, so I'll stop there and just rave about the rest of the book.

The characters in Pretty Girl-13 are intense. There is so much that could be said about them, Angie especially. Angie's story is inspiring. I didn't always agree with her decisions, but the way she handled everything that happened to her was absolutely amazing. Her strength and (most of the time) her maturity made for a character that the reader can truly grow to love. The minor characters are not as easy to get along with. I, personally, had trouble with Angie's parents. Some of their actions and interactions with Angie made me sick to my stomach. Angie's therapist, detective and good friend were wonderful additions to the books. They fit in perfectly and made the book feel very realistic.

The plot is steady, and strong, for the most part. I had some minor issues towards the end, but the beginning and middle were very solid. Things moved at a gradual pace that fit with the themes and setting of the novel. 

I was left feeling emotionally destroyed. After finishing the novel, my palms were sweaty, my heart was racing and I was jittery from all of the emotions that had welled up inside of me. These kinds of stories have always been morbidly fascinating for me. Many people feel the same way, which is why I believe that many people will like this. This is not an easy subject to tackle. Emotionally distressing, disturbing and a total mystery, Pretty Girl-13 will hold its readers captive from the very first page.

I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review from the publisher via Edelweiss.


  1. Wow, Emily. Such an awesome review. I have not heard much of this book or the Elizabeth case. But I am definitely going to read, when I have the time
    It looks like my cup of tea
    Your reader,

  2. I am hopefully going to be reading this one soon, I have an arc of this one and I think that I will enjoy this one because I admit that I am addicted to crime shows and I watch a lot of those types of shows so I can't wait to read this one.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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