Title: Pretty Girl 13
Author: Liz Coley
Published: March 19th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
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?
This is a difficult book to rate, it’s not like I can say I enjoyed the book, it deals with too terrible subject matter for it to be truly enjoyable. Dealing with child abuse, molestation, rape and mental illness, this is certainly not a book for everyone.
Hell, it’s probably not a book I should have read either. Books like these make me want to go all supervillain and destroy the entire human race. We should not be allowed to live if we produce people who can inflict these terrible acts on another. I read a book like this and I am validated in my reasons for never wanting children.
Angie is certainly a strong character, surviving her ordeals as she did. Even if her mind had to shatter to get her through it. The main thing is she survived, and that meant she could start the long process of healing. That said, there were a couple of times I wanted to smack for some of the decisions she made.
The one thing that horrified me most of about this story was that the Little Wife personality, the one who experienced the rape, was referred to as Slut. Not only by Angie and one of the other personalities, but by a goddamn trained Psychiatrist of all things. In front of the girl’s parents. Nobody even blinked an eye. Not cool. So not cool. Angie herself eventually realizes the awful injustice of this, but by then it’s far too late.
Despite the dissociated nature of the story, it was quite emotional at times. I may not have broken down into full on crying, but I did get misty eyed on more than one occasion. My heart bled for the parents, and the way Angie tried to spare them further pain at the cost of her own healing.
Hugs to the author. I can only imagine how must this must have hurt to write. Thank you for writing it anyway. I do think it’s important that stories like these exist.
Liz Coley writes fiction for teens and for the teen in you.
Her first published work was science fiction short stories, published in Cosmos magazine and several anthologies.
Self-published YA novel Out of Xibalba features a contemporary teenager thrown back to ancient Mayan times. The story starts when the world ends.
Pretty Girl-13 from HarperCollins will be released in at least ten languages on five continents, in print, ebook, and audiobook.
There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.
Liz lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog, and a limping old cat. When she’s not involved in writing-related activities, she can be found sewing, baking, shooting photos, playing tennis, and singing.
Liz loves reading aloud.