Review: Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley

Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 1:30 AM

Format: ARC

Source: Traded

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: March 19, 2013

Pages: 352

( Goodreads / Amazon )

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.

*Warning – Review contains mild spoilers*


Pretty Girl 13 is not a fun and light read, instead its one gritty and unsettling physiological thriller that deals with some very tough issues.  Angie disappeared while on a camping trip with the Girl Scouts when she was thirteen years old.  Now, three years later she shows up at her parent’s house with no memory of how she got there, where she’s been or who she’s been with.
Angie is taken to the hospital for a physical examination.  After the exam the doctor tells her parents that not only has she been physical abused but she has been sexually abused as well. 
When Angie goes to a psychologist to try and remember what happened, she learns that she has what is called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which basically means multiple personalities.  In Angie’s case her mind created alternative personalities (Alters) in order to help her deal with the things she was going through while Angie remained dormant.  This is the first book that I have read that deals with multiple personalities and I was amazed how different each Alter was.
Angie is a very complex character to say the least.  In her mind she is still thirteen years old but in reality she is a sixteen year old girl that has suffered for the past three years.  Angie is a lot stronger than she realizes, instead of hiding she faces her alters head on so she can try to get her life back. 
Overall, Pretty Girl 13 isn’t a light read but it was a fast one.  This book is raw, emotional and so jam-packed with suspense and mystery that it will keep you flipping the pages wondering what will happen next.  I honestly wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did; I will definitely be reading more by this author.


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