Mar 11, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: 3.19.2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: A

Summary (from Amazon):
Pretty girl
13 when she
went missing
to her family
to her friends
to the world
but still missing
her self
In Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery, sixteen-year-old Angie Chapman must piece together the story of her kidnapping and abuse. Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing—and ultimately empowering—page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.


That was literally the only thought I could form after finished Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley. My mind was totally fried after reading this book because it was so good, but absolutely put me through the emotional wringer. I was spent and exhausted by the conclusion.

Broken in three distinct, but vital parts, Pretty Girl-13 is the story of Angie, a girl who was kidnapped in the early morning hours during a Girl Scout camping trip. When she mysteriously arrives home three years later with no memory of what happened, she has to piece the missing years of her life back together.

Watching Angie struggle to come to terms with losing three years was hard. In her mind she was still 13, but when she looked in the mirror all she could see was a strange 16 year old. When it came time for her to go back to school, all her friends and peers were juniors while she was several years behind. Her parents were elated she was home, but unsure as to how to handle her and her amnesia. I felt their struggle as they fought to figure out how to accept and move on from what happened.

I wasn’t expecting the twist that came with Angie’s story—that while in captivity she formed several alter-egos to accept and handle the brutality and pain she endured (hence her amnesia). As a psych grad, I loved the way Coley explained multiple personalities and how they came to be and that each personality was its own person. Coley explained everything in a wonderful way so it was easy to understand. I also think it will help a lot of the stigma that comes when people hear about multiple personalities. “Schizo” is a derogatory insult hurled around all too frequently.

This book is not for the squeamish and deals with a lot of heavy subject matter—kidnapping, rape, sexual abuse, psychological trauma … The list goes on. But Coley handles each situation with a grace and tactfulness that is to be commended. The fact that she got me immersed into the novel that I cried multiple times and finished the book needing a long nap speaks volumes. I wasn’t just mentally involved in this book—I was emotionally and physically attached to it and Angie. For a book lover, there is no greater joy than when a book can evoke a physical reaction from you. This is one you simply can’t pass up.


  1. I am definitely looking forward to reading this. It's also nice to hear that you think it's credible as a psych grad.

  2. This sounds INTENSE Hannah!!! I really had no interest in picking this book up (it's because of that title font, I've seen it way too many times and my little snobby designer mind can't deal with it - I KNOW! I suck), but now I feel like I have to. I'm definitely going to have to shore up my courage though, clearly Angie goes through the unfathomable. Just tell me one thing - does it end happily? Or at least with hope?

    1. Ahh, yes. The "bleeding cowboy" font. God, that font was HUGE when it came out. It was everywhere. I will admit I used it pretty frequently myself for graphic designs. Honestly, I would have used a more scripted font to convey the emotion of the novel, but that's just me.

      LOL. Wow. Look at us picking apart a font. Lordy.

      It does end on a hopeful note. Too much happens for it to be swept away with a happily every after, but Angie makes great strides in her treatment and you know she's hit a positive turning point. I can't say much more because the big shocker comes towards the end and the hopefulness is a part of that, if that makes sense?

  3. It does sounds intense, and sadly, these things happen all the time :( I will probably read this one. Thanks for the heads up and for the great review Hannah!


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