Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley | Book Review

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz ColeyBook Title/Author: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Publisher/Release Date
: Katherine Tegan Books – March 19th 2013
Genre: YA Mystery, YA Contemporary
Series: No.
Other Books From Author:

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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

The last thing Angie remembers is being thirteen and at Girl Scout camp. When she finds herself in front of her house with no memory of why she’s standing there, she finds out from her very shocked parents that she’s actually been missing for 3 years and is no a sixteen year old. Angie has no memory of the last three years at all. She struggles to make sense of what happened and tries to remember and piece together the mystery of her kidnapping and captivity while trying to reintegrate back into her normal life — but her psyche is making that very hard.

I went into Pretty Girl-13 knowing it was going to be a pretty intense book — after all I saw a blurb saying it was reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case and I knew of her story of being kidnapped as a young teen and eventually found so I knew that sort of storyline was going to not be a light read. I was definitely right. Pretty Girl-13 had my attention from the start. Liz Coley immediately begins it in a way that unsettles and intrigues and the questions started flooding to my brain. Who did it? How did she escape? Why can’t she remember? What happened in those 3 years?

I have to applaud the way Liz Coley unraveled this mystery with, what I thought, was perfect execution. The mystery of who abducted her is weaved together with a psychological mystery too — why is her own mind shutting her out and causing her to not remember where she was for 3 years?  We get some pieces here and there and things are revealed in a way that just makes you hunger to know more and turn the pages faster. Sometimes we are learning things along side with Angie and sometimes we are meant to understand and piece things together before she does and have to experience her painful journey to figure out the tidbit we just figured out. It took me a little bit to get into it and figuring out who was narrating because there is the story and then there are these pages in italics but you quickly figure it out and understand what is going on. But even with made me even MORE intrigued and once you start to understand a little bit of WHAT is going on with her mental state it makes a ton of sense and becomes this page-turning mystery that I honestly had a hard time putting down.

I was a little scared as to HOW intense this book would be because I’ve read some kidnapping stories before and, even though they are all equally hard, some are way more graphic and disturbing than others. This one is quite disturbing — there is sexual exploitation — but it never went to the graphic side. All of the sexual abuse that I remember was very much alluded to or “behind the curtain” so to speak. The psychological aspect of this was absolutely fascinating. I don’t want to give too much away (because I think this is a good book to go in somewhat blind to)  but it was absolutely riveting and frightening to me.

Pretty Girl-13 was one of the most gripping stories I’ve read in a while. Angie’s story of being kidnapped and returning home with no memory of the last three years was riveting, chilling and made my heart heavy but also appreciate the ability of the human spirit to triumph and be courageous against all odds. The mystery of her abduction and the psychological state she is in was revealed in a way that made it impossible to put it down! It’s definitely not a light read and will twist your insides around but I really recommend it if you are okay with something a bit darker but not graphic or explicit.



Pretty Girl-13 Liz Coley Review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Think it sounds like something you’d like to read? What did you think if you have read it? Did you find the psychology part fascinating like I did?  Have you read any other kidnapping stories? They intrigue me but are super hard to read! I can’t imagine being a parent and having this happen or being the child and being ripped away and abused.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. This is one book I was looking forward to and hearing that it was so good is reassuring! Great review! ^_^

  2. Even though I have heard of this book I was for some reason never interested. However, I never even read the synopsis so I didn’t know what it would be about. That it would deal with such strong topics is new to me, but makes me wish to read it just more!

  3. I want to read this so bad!!

  4. Wow this sounds absolutely intriguing!!!!

  5. I’m glad to hear it’s not graphic–I thought this one sounded really interesting, but thought it might be too much for me. I can do really intense themes and ideas, but when those intense events get really detailed and graphic, it just becomes too much for me.

  6. Sounds like my kind of book! Looking forward to reading it! Great review 🙂

  7. I added this to my TBR list a little while ago, and now I’m even more excited to read it! This sounds like the kind of book you want to read in one sitting just to find out all of the answers!!

  8. I don’t know why but I thought this one was about genetic experiments or robots or something… now that I know it’s not, I’m putting it on my TBR!! It sounds great! I like that you said its not super graphic bc Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott was scarring!!

    PS- did you do a new design? If so it looks cute!

  9. The synopsis sounds really interesting! I’m actually really excited to read this now! Before I kind of shied away from putting this on my TBR list because I hate the cover (the typography is terrible). I’m definitely one of those people who judges a book by its cover. But your review has changed my mind 🙂 Awesome post!

  10. Totes adding this to my TBR list. I’m pretty sure I’ll be tense the entire time I’m reading it, but holy crap, it sounds so good. 🙂

  11. This sounds so good! You have inspired me to put it on my TBR list!

  12. Great review, Jamie! I agree, it’s the perfect book to go in not knowing much about it. I initially requested it because it’s a kidnap story, then found out there’s SO much more to it. I’m super happy you liked it. I had trouble getting into it at first but once I did, I really didn’t want to put it down!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  13. This one sounds really intense! I’m curious to see what the story behind her disappearance and lack of memory is, but I’m also really nervous because I get easily scared reading stuff like this. I may have to weigh it a bit more before deciding if I should read it or not.

  14. I haven’t read this but your review/feelings towards it make me think of how I felt when I was reading Room by Emma Donoghue. It can be so creepy especially when you think of stuff like this actually happening. *shivers*

  15. I recently won a copy from this book and I’m very excited to try it out. This book sounds intense and I can’t wait to see how the mystery unravels. Great review 🙂


  16. I hadn’t heard nearly enough about this one – so it hadn’t really caught my interest. I figured I’d get around to it…eventually. But after hearing SUCH high praise from you, I think I’m going to have to bump it up and pick up a copy ASAP! I love good psychological reads and I find mystery stories so tricky to do well, that I’m giddy hearing this one is excellent.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jamie!

    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After

  17. It sure sounds intense, but the psychological factor may be calling out for me to read it, especially with knowing that it isn’t graphic.

  18. I’m borrowing this from someone and I’m glad to know ahead of time how frightening and thrilling it is. It definitely sounds like one of those books that I have to be a bit mentally prepared for. Part of me is almost scared to read it because of how intense it sounds, but it sounds like a VERY good book.

  19. I LOVE a good psychological thriller, and one where a girl can’t remember three years of her life – the most traumatic three years she’ll ever experience – sounds like something I need to read asap! I really want to read the blurb, after reading how much you enjoyed it, but I’m also thinking if I can go in blind I’ll end up loving it even more – so now I’m torn!

  20. I’m all for a pyschological thriller, the last GOOD one I read was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which was just about a year ago so im long overdue for another one! Great Review Jamie, tis one sounds equally creepy and fascinating can’t wait to read it 🙂

  21. I was blown away by this too. I read it in a day. It’s not something I’d normally pick up but I got it in the mail and it sounded interesting. So good!

  22. Oh, yay! I’m really glad you enjoyed this one, Jamie! I definitely agree that Coley unveiled the mystery aspect at just the right pace and with just the right air of suspense. The red herring was also really appropriate, and for a while I thought it was that other dude (haha). Anyway, yeah.


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