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