Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Talk & Giveaway: PRETTY GIRL-13 by Liz Coley

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I like and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Angie is walking down the street, holding a bag of clothes she knows doesn't belong to her. She just wants to go home after a Girl Scout camping trip. When she walks in the door and non-chalantly says "Mom, I'm home," she doesn't understand why her mother drops to the ground in tears... or why the person in the mirror is three years older than she's supposed to be.

Missing since she was 13, the now sixteen-year-old Angie goes through therapy to find out where those lost three years went to, and what she was doing during them. But there are some secrets you can't even tell yourself, and Angie's mind has built walls that turned into people. One was meant to please her captor, one was made to cook and clean, one was made to work for survival... and one was born for vengeance.

Urged by her parents to undergo a new treatment that will erase her multiple personalities and restore Angie to her full self, she must first decide whether she wants to know what each one has endured for her sake... or not.

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4 comments:

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks for the reminder about this book, which I've been meaning to pick up for months. Liz is an excellent writer!

AS Olivier said...

I read this book a while ago - very haunting, very excellent.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Yes! Pretty Girl -13 is an awesome book!

Frank Verdun said...

I was floored by the events in this novel. The author certainly doesn't pull any punches in the brutality of the plot and some of the characters surrounding Angie. (Somewhat reminiscient of Alice Sebold's Lucky.)

But I liked how grounded and smoothly flowing the writing was. The temptation to write this story in a raw, brutal language more reflective of the story must have been great. I'm glad she resisted. Many writers wouldn't have. Other possible paths come to mind, such as writing the story in short, disconnected scenes focusing on snippets of powerful images of confusion and brutality or writing the whole thing as disjointed diary excerpts from multiple perspectives. An overly ambitious author might've ruined this well-flowing narrative. Coley didn't--a testament to her disciplined skill and her wisdom to tell it straight and sticking (occasionally clinging with white knuckles and split fingernails) to Angie's perspective through it all. Today's YA audience is thirsty for edgy material and Coley delivers but keeps the writing style under tight control, which this novel needed to avoid a chaotic flight into delirious and wild abandon.