Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley
Release Date: February 28, 2013
Goodreads Stars: 4
Buy the Book: Amazon UK
Angie Chapman is only 13 when she gets lost in the woods in the middle of the night.
The next thing she knows she’s returned home, scars around her wrists and ankles, physically exhausted. Her parents collapse into tears when they see her, but Angie doesn’t understand – until they tell her she has been missing, presumed dead, for three years.
Angie doesn’t remember anything from her missing years. But there are people who do – people who could tell Angie every terrifying detail, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind.
With help, Angie begins to unravel the darkest secrets of her own past.
But does she really want to know the truth? – Goodreads
Pretty Girl Thirteen is one of those books that change lives. At least, it has definitely made an impact on mine. It was difficult to read due to the subject matter, but it was also very hard to put down. I was engrossed in Angie’s story, and I wanted to see how she turned out at the end.
As you can imagine, some really horrible things happened to Angie whilst she was kidnapped. She was locked in a little cabin in the middle of the forest, and her captor visited her in the evenings. She was only thirteen when she was taken. It was very hard to read about some of the things that happened to her, and I found myself in tears multiple times.
In order to deal with the things she was put through, Angie’s mind created several different personalities. Thirteen year old Angie was locked away for three years while the other personalities protected her from the abuse she would have suffered. This meant that thirteen year old Angie came away mentally untouched, but with no memory of the past three years.
Discovering and exploring the different personalities was very interesting. Each personality took on a different task. For example, there was one that would be around in the day and do all the cooking and cleaning, and there was another that would handle things at night with Angie’s captor.
Seeing Angie grow once she was home was fantastic. She is such a strong girl, and I loved the whole learning curve that she went through. It was pretty amazing how she dealt with the new discoveries, and how she realised that her multiple personalities shouldn’t be mistreated because they are people too.
I’m not really sure how I feel about the ending. A reveal was made, and Angie decided on how she wanted to fix it. I’ll talk about that bit in spoilers, because it’s a pretty huge twist and I didn’t see it coming.
Angie and her captor conceived a child while she was in the cabin. It turns out that the child was adopted by Angie’s neighbours, who Angie now babysits for. Angie, instead of coming out and telling the new parents that she is the birth mother, chose not to tell them but she still wants to babysit to stay close to the baby. This seems a little creepy to me, and if I was the new parents then I would definitely want to know if our baby’s nanny was his birth mother. What if she had other motives than simply wanting to watch over her child?!
It made my spine tingle because it’s the sort of thing that would happen in horror movies, right? I didn’t like that part of the plot, and I wish that the author had handled it differently. Just the thought… *shivers*
I definitely recommend Pretty Girl Thirteen to mature YA readers. If you’re looking for something to touch your heart, then this book is for you. It’s a story of a strong girl who’s discovering herself more than most teenagers do at that age, and it’s heart wrenchingly beautiful.