16 March 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Expected Publication: 19 March 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Mystery

Source: Publisher for review


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?

My Thoughts

Imagine disappearing from your life for three years and when you come back, you don't remember even being gone, let alone where you were. Angie finds herself in exactly this situation after she is kidnapped whilst on a camping trip and the next thing she remembers, she's standing in front of her house three years later.

Angie's homecoming is emotional and awkward - her parents and friends have moved on and she doesn't feel comfortable in her own skin, and everything is made even more difficult by the fact that although everyone wants to know where and who she has been with, Angie cannot remember.

It's not hard to feel a huge sympathy towards Angie - she's a completely lost soul who doesn't fit into her life anymore and feels like she was only missing for a matter of hours, not years. But as well as being lost, throughout the story she is also incredibly brave and wants to move on with her life and be a normal teenager, which makes it really easy to like her. However, I found her family to be quite inconsistent - her mother swerves between involved and understandably over-protective to seemingly completely unconnected, and there are several family-related plot lines that didn't feel resolved.

The plot is dark and creepy, and a real page turner as Angie discovers more and more about exactly what happened to her during those three lost years, and I really liked where Ms. Coley steered the story - there's no sugar-coating events and everything that Angie experiences is written with a great deal of care and consideration. However, I did find the writing style to be a little clunky and uncomfortable until I was almost half-way through the book - it felt like there were far too many ''Angie said'' and ''Angie did'''s for the story to flow smoothly.

Pretty Girl-13 wasn't an easy read, and there were several moments that took me by surprise, but overall it was an intriguing and creepy read. It's a good mystery and quite shocking in places, but the inconsistency of Angie's parents, unresolved plot lines and the awkward writing didn't always sit well with me. 


  1. It's interested it's being marketed as YA elsewhere, the UK release is on an adult imprint. I found it all a bit predictable and didn't think Angie showed enough emotion.

    1. That's a very good point. It may also have been the style that just stopped it from coming through.

  2. I keep seeing this one pop up but am not convinced yet that it is one I want to read.

    1. I'm not sure if you would or not :) there are certainly other, more intense books out there along the same lines.

  3. I didn't like this book - I found the plot to be nothing new and the way it was carried out further irked me. Glad to see you managed to find something good in it though.

  4. I agree, I really enjoyed the creepiness and the mystery. I thought a couple of plot points were kind of weird, *tries not to spoil anything* especially resolution with the MC and the neighbour's baby (how she wanted to babysit it, etc). Horror movie stuff right there.

  5. This sounds pretty interesting. I'm not sure if I'll read it or not though.

    Great review, Kat!

  6. Hmmmm, you have me rethinking this. I'm trying to remember the family plot lines and failing. X_X Why is my memory so awful? I guess maybe the mother didn't bother me just because she's pregnant, which means her hormones are crazy, so she might swerve back and forth. Eh. I really liked this one, but I did think the writing style was clunky. I definitely agree on that. I didn't see any reason to use third person instead of first.



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