Book Talk: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley


Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Amazon • Goodreads

*description from goodreads*

   Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological thriller about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity and then piece together her own identity.

When thirteen-year-old Angela Gracie Chapman looks in the mirror, someone else looks back–a thin, pale stranger, a sixteen-year-old with haunted eyes. Angie has no memory of the past three years, years in which she was lost to the authorities, lost to her family and friends, lost even to herself. Where has she been, who has been living her life, and what is hiding behind the terrible blankness? There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.

With a tremendous amount of courage and support from unexpected friends, Angie embarks on a journey into the darkest corners of her mind. 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 people responsible, or is there another way to feel whole again?

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.

 

I just got back into reading (probably as a result of pre-finals week procrastination), and I read this book in two days. Monday night I picked up my kindle, and other than some classics I hadn’t finished, this was the only book that I hadn’t started. I tapped it, and escaped into Angie’s world for three solid hours. Then finished it while walking between classes the next morning.

I really, really loved this book. Liz Coley’s description was fantastic, and the story of what happened to Angie is a horrifying mess, but with a deeper meaning unlike anything else I’ve read lately. It felt to me like Angie’s situation was very unique, and that there are very few books out there that cover this topic in this specific way, especially that are young adult, and it was refreshing. Well, maybe refreshing isn’t the right word, but it was different. This novel was very dark and haunting, but I do like books like that. Liz Coley’s writing flowed very well and her characters were very real.

As a character, I really liked Angie, as well as her internal monologue when she returns, having to really rediscover who she is as well as what happened to her. She seemed very motivated, wanting to return to school, but wanting to put what happened behind her. There were parts that I did have a little bit of trouble understanding, simply because I viewed Angie as a sixteen year-old, when she views herself as a thirteen-year-old (since she does not remember the past three years). Angie seems to cope with her trauma in a very natural way – confused, angry and hungry for answers.

This story seemed to have a mind of its own because as soon as everything was starting to fall into place, the plot took a turn. I haven’t read a lot of psychological thrillers, but after reading this one, I can’t get enough. I loved the insight into the science, and how all of the things with that (sorry, no spoilers) played into Angie resettling herself at school, and especially with her therapist, her family, and Greg, Liz and Kate. Coley really did her research, because I think a lot of the scientific aspects, especially some of Angie’s treatments are described medically accurate.


While some readers think the that plot is predicable, I would disagree. I didn’t see most of the twists coming, and I think Liz Coley’s writing is great. The novel does have its confusing moments, and its flaws, it was still a fantastic and haunting debut.

3.5/5 stars

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Book Talk: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

In case y’all weren’t aware, I adore books. Love them with all my heart. I even hope to do something with books in my future, but who knows? Until then, I can only appreciate their beauty as a reader.

I didn’t want to make this blog solely a book blog, but I do want to include some element of books on my blog, and I can do that by having a sort of “spotlight” section where I just talk about books. This is not a review, and I was not paid to talk about this book (or any books talked about in the future), this is my own personal opinion on the books.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on my lamp and decided to read. Once I finished the last ten or so pages of the book I was reading, I picked up the next book in my mental queue.

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

*description from front flap of the book*

I tried to call mom.

No connection. 

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll  in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing  barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather  is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado  sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

I tried Ronnie. Same. 

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As  she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she  hardly knows – family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar  place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are  some things no tornado can destroy?

911. Nothing.

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown  delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

I have nothing but positive words for anything Jennifer Brown puts into the world. When I read her first novel, Hate List, I was haunted by the beauty of her words for days after. The topics of her novels are exactly what I like to read. The dark contemporary theme, with a serious issue as the plot, I am in heaven. Add that to Jennifer Brown’s extreme talent for writing, and you have one of the best novels of the year, any year she has a new novel out.

Torn Away was just so beautiful. I stayed up for three hours last night reading this book, and then finished it after work today. Jersey’s story is heartbreaking, and I could feel my heart breaking with every description of her home, and the things that she lost. When Jersey talked about her little sister, I felt for her. I can only imagine what it would be like to be in her position. The descriptions were gorgeous and painted a picture in my mind more vivid than anything.

There is just something about the way that Jennifer Brown writes family relationships that is close to untouchable. It is poignant and extremely powerful. In all of her books, there are some pretty intricate family relationships, but they are written in such a way that you understand the emotions of the difficult situations, even if you haven’t experienced it. It flows wonderfully in a way that I cannot even describe.


Every year or so, I anxiously await the release of Jennifer Brown’s next book. I have read all of them, and I recommend them to everyone. It doesn’t matter what type of books you enjoy, you should read at least one of Jennifer Brown’s books. There is something for everyone. If you find yourself wondering what book to read next, I would highly, highly recommend Jennifer Brown.

5/5 stars

Also by Jennifer Brown; Hate List (published 2009), Bittersweet (published 2011), Perfect Escape (published 2012), Thousand Words (published 2013) and Say Something: A Hate List Novella (published 2014).

~Lydia