Book Title/Author: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
Publisher/Release Date: Katherine Tegan Books – March 19th 2013
Genre: YA Mystery, YA Contemporary
Other Books From Author: Out of Xibalba
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 that..it 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.
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.