Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
 Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: March 19th 2013
Pages: 352
Genre:  YA Psychological Mystery/Realistic Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


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 knew from the blurb this would be a powerful read and it was. This book absolutely blew me away and kept me thinking about it days and days after I finished. I love psychological mysteries, dramas, or thrillers. To get into the mind and make me feel like I am in the mind of the main character is very serious stuff and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I can’t find the words that my brain wants to use to explain how phenomenal I thought this book was. Wowzers! Most of the reviews I have seen for this book are good even great, some not so much, so it may not be the book for everyone, but I can’t get over this book, book hangover for sure. I can’t even put my finger on what took this book over the edge for me. The characters and the story were just both amazing. The idea, the psychological issues, the mystery, the pain, the healing, it was all there and it ended on a good note… so yay for a happy ending.. although this book was not about the ending it was about the journey, Angie’s journey and it was quite a journey. I know I am rambling now, so I will get on to my thoughts in detail…

Angie shows up on her street in the middle of the night dirty, tired, and confused. Last thing she remembers is being on a girl scout camp out and getting lost in the woods. She doesn’t know how she found her way home or how far she walked but she is now home. She enters her home to find she has been missing for 3 years, and she doesn’t have any memory of those 3 years. She still feels like the 13 year old girl that went missing. She doesn’t recognize herself in the mirror, she doesn’t feel like she has matured, grown, or changed. She is questioned by the police, her parents, her friends, and even a psychologist about those 3 years. The psychologist does get down the bottom of Angie’s memory loss and that in turn helps Angie discover what really happened in those three years.

I don’t know much about DID or what used to be called multiple personality syndrome so going into this book was very interesting to me and quite new. I loved the way the story was told, the voice that the author gave Angie was just spectacular and it felt so incredibly real to me. I can’t say how accurate the voice or the character is to someone who has experienced DID but the author did explain she did extensive research on the subject. I really want to express how much this book made me thing and how much time I spent in wonder of how the brain protects itself. I did learn quite a bit about DID reading this book and the afterward from the author, and it just amazed me. I really could ramble about the mysteries of the mind and DID and everything involved but that is not what I want my review to focus on, I just wanted to mention it. I really don’t think it would have affected me as much if it were written differently, I do believe the author did an exceptional job on portraying a DID victim and what it was like in her everyday life living with alters. Angie was just a wonderful character and I feel like I really go to know her and her alters.

Angie’s character cannot be defined by just her. In order to know Angie, you have to know her alters too, altogether they are one person, separate they are parts of Angie that have learned to deal with certain issues in Angie’s life. Angie, as herself, was a very calm person, she didn’t like to make waves and she was very kind, quiet girl. She wasn’t particularly shy but wasn’t really outgoing either. She was just coming into herself at 13 when she disappeared. Her alters made her strong, protected her, made her resourceful. I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of her alters. It was a wild ride spending time in Angie’s head.

There were so many great supporting characters in this book. I loved her psychologist. It was wonderful to see how much she cared for Angie and it was Angie’s side and only Angie’s side that she was on. She cared about helping and healing Angie and if catching the bad guy came along with the job, then that was just an added bonus. She was very patient and honest with Angie and never failed to be there when Angie needed her. I also liked the cop on the case very much. He seemed a little harsh and pushy at first, he is a cop and wanted to solve the case, but the more he learned about Angie’s situation, the more he was there to help her. Angie’s parents were great too. They did have a hard time knowing what to do, what to say, what is out of bounds, and what is oksy.. but they never gave up and never stopped trying.

There were so many things going on in this story.. It wasn’t just about Angie’s disappearance, it was a puzzle and eventually all the pieces were found and put in their place. At this point, Angie could heal and move on. It was just so awesome. I need more adjectives for sure!

I think after this book, the author was put on my no questions asked just read her books list. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries and psychological issues, or anyone who just curious about the book. Take a chance and read it.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! I'm so glad you liked this. I want to read it badly, and when I read another great review by a blogger who I know has similar tastes, it just makes me more excited for it. Thanks!

    1. I hope you get to read it soon. The audio was just excellent. I would recommend audio if you like to listen to books.

  2. You have been introducing me to all kinds of thriller awesomeness. This sounds AWESOME. It is going on my wish list immediately.


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