By: Liz Coley
Available 19 March 2013
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.
This Blonde’s Review:
Can you imagine how it would feel to lose three years of your life? And what if you found out that for those three years no one knew where you were or what had happened to you? The last thing Angie remembers is camping with her girl scout troop. Next thing she knows she is walking home wearing clothes she doesn’t recognize. Her parents’ reaction seems a bit over the top for her and she can’t believe what they’re telling her. But the face in the mirror isn’t her own and her body seems foreign to her as well.
While getting used to being home Angie finds herself losing time and doing things she doesn’t remember doing. She doesn’t understand it or think anything of it until she loses time during a counseling session and finds out that someone else spent that time talking to the counselor.
As we get to know Angie we hope she’ll learn what happened to her, but we’re also afraid of what will come out. I didn’t want to put this book down once I started reading it because I needed to know what would happen. We couldn’t help but love and hate some of the different sides of Angie, since each of them had a name they went by, the distinguish one side from another. I couldn’t help but love each of them, because they protected who Angie really was from the terrible things that happened to her. I also wanted to cry for the things that they went through and the way they were isolated from each other.
As Angie learns the truth of what happened to her during those three years she also comes to discover that there was a splintering even before then. That this survival technique was learned from a trauma that happened much earlier in her life. Learning that on top of everything else makes it much clearer how she was able to protect herself but it was also the saddest thing. Angie’s life hasn’t been easy and we can only hope that she’ll manage to put it all back together and to learn to live with everything that has happened without ripping herself apart in the meantime.
Yes, there were quite a few things that were predictable. You don’t go into this book expecting that Surprise! everything was actually okay so all those things you think could happen Didn’t. Being surprised by what happens to her isn’t the point of this story. What happened isn’t the most important part of the story. The important part is where Angie learns to accept what happened and to watch as she tries to put her life back together.
If you would like to read a book about a girl who has lost herself and is trying to put it all back together then you’ll want to read Angie’s story. It is not necessarily easy to read or enjoyable in the usual sense of the word, but I liked it and I’m sure you will too.