Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley
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.
Publication Date; March 19, 2013
This book was good, but I feel like it could’ve been so much more. I think there needed to be more internal narrative in order to allow readers to get inside Angie’s head as she struggled with not only her memory loss, but the “alters” that took over while she was held in captivity.
The setup was intriguing. Angie’s last memory is being thirteen and getting accosted while camping with her Girl Scout troop. When she comes to, she’s sixteen and walking down the street to her home. Her alters protected her from the ordeal and Angie must not only find a way to integrate her other personalities, but also deal with being a thirteen year old trapped in a sixteen year old body.
As far as characters go, Angie’s alters were much more likable than the actual Angie. I think the author did a good job of demonstrating Angie’s immaturity, but I never felt like I connected with her as a character. I would’ve liked more of a snapshot of how Angie was handling everything internally.
What was intriguing about her multiple personalities was that each fulfilled a certain responsibility in order to help her survive. There were so many horrifying things that Angie went through and their goal was to shield her from the pain and anguish of the ordeal.
A few of the twists were gut wrenching while others were a little too unbelievable. I think there was enough drama surrounding the central plot that a few subplots could’ve been trimmed. Instead, more focus should’ve been on Angie’s emotional healing.
Overall, Pretty Girl 13 was an enjoyable psychological drama with very dark undertones. Due to some of the depictions of abuse in the book, I’d recommend this for older YA readers and adults.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!