Review: Pretty Girl-13 – Liz Coley

Release Date: March 19th
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 352
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 

I didn’t know too much about Pretty Girl-13 before I read it, and it took me some time to wrap my brain around the writing which starts off being told in a third-person narrative, and then switches later on to being first-person. However, I got used to it, and once I stopped over-thinking it, I really enjoyed the storyline itself.

I found some of the twists that become uncovered to be quite disturbing.. but the story itself IS quite disturbing in nature anyways. The story is about Angie, a 16 year old girl who has come home suddenly after being missing for 3 years. She has no recollection of being away for that long… she feels like she was only missing for 2 days and in her mind still feels 13.

After going to a psychologist, Angie is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also sometimes referred to as multiple personality disorder. There are at least 4 other personalities with Angie that she has created to help bury the layers of trauma she suffered in the last 3 years.

Slowly with counselling, Angie is confronted with shocking truth after shocking truth about her life, and tries to piece her life back together.

As a former psych university student, I loved this book as I am fascinated with DID. But I think this book would appeal to many people in general because of the dark gritty aspects of it, as well as that element of reality about it. In many ways it’s reminiscent of the Elizabeth Short kidnapping story and as humans we’re naturally curious to know more about these types of stories.

I really felt for Angie and by the end of the book, I had a lot of respect for the way she handled the situation she becomes faced with. I actually felt quite emotional towards some of the personalities she had created. I wanted to hug Tattletale and protect Girl Scout.

It’s unusual to come across a YA book with this type of subject (The last one I read with similar themes was Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott), and it’s morbidly fascinating. If you’re easily creeped out or disturbed, this may not be the book for you, but otherwise I will definitely be recommending this book! Fantastic solid read!

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