Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

7 Comments

Pretty Girl-13 (from Goodreads)

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?

No doubt this book will stay with me for a long time – it was simultaneously gripping, disturbing, and fascinating. And even though I figured out most of what had happened to Angie way before she did, I still wanted to keep reading. I had to *know*, as much as she did.

I liked how it was split into parts and the eventual switch from third to first person – I was actually so absorbed, I didn’t notice the change for about 10 pages.

This is a book I’d recommend because of the uniqueness of the subject matter, but I did have some issues:

The author’s note at the end admits that this sort of therapy would normally take years, not just months, and I understood the need to speed it up for the sake of moving the story forward, but I wish there was more focus on how disruptive the alters actually were – in some places they came across as merely a nuisance and not as the completely disruptive forces they were.

If I were losing hours at a time of my life, I would be freaked the eff out (as would my parents); I’d probably need to be institutionalized for fear I’d harm myself or others. I doubt I could go to school and carry on “normally,” because my behavior would be so erratic. Which Angie’s presumably was, yet her neighbors let her regularly watch their baby? Hell no, I would not let her babysit my kid when she’d just returned after three years and was so freaking traumatized, she’d blocked out all her memories of what had happened. Parts of that subplot felt too forced and convenient.

I also wanted more emotionally in regards to a few other things that happened – I don’t want to spoil anything, but Angie has this major memory that has to do with her family, and it felt like it was brushed under the rug after the big reveal.

Second to lastly, I had my doubts that her sudden reappearance, after three years missing and presumed dead, could ever be kept under wraps for months. Not in this day and age, with social media. It just takes one person to post about it on Facebook or Twitter and it’s a domino effect after that.

Finally, there were a few little things that felt extraneous, like the s/l with Abraim and her mom’s “condition.” And the whole Livvie/Greg pointlessness.

The concept of this story is so fascinating, but I wish it had been more…

I’m not even sure of the word I’m looking for, but as odd as it sounds, considering all the memories that came out, this could have been a darker and more psychological book. As it was written, it felt like it barely scratched the surface into Angie’s mind.

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Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

7 thoughts on “Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

  1. I like this concept, especially as I dive into writing a (very different) book that has a memory loss/ loss of time element. Fascinating! If you come across any other books like that, let me know! ha.

  2. You know, I’ve been wondering about this one for a while now. Thanks for the thorough and honest review! 🙂

  3. Hadn’t heard of that one, but it sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. I’m eager to read this one.

    Sometimes I wish a book were darker.

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