Author: Liz Coley
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Rating: 5 stars
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. -Goodreads
Liz Coley's "Pretty Girl-13" is not your typical YA read in any sense. This journey into the life and mind of kidnapping survivor, Angie Chapman, and the lives of the "alter" personalities that her psyche split into as a way of helping her to cope with the horrors that she was forced to endure during her 3 year captivity; will enthrall readers from page one.
This book is not one story but several: Angie's story pre-kidnapping, Angie's story point of view during the kidnapping, Angie's story post kidnapping, and the stories of her "alters".
Meeting each of the "alters" and experiencing Angie's life through their eyes and in their voices, gives this story a raw, almost biographical feel.
Ms. Coley manages to present difficult subject matter with a perfect balance of realism, and care that, while helping to make the subject matter palatable for a younger audiences; in no way diminishes the power of her message.
While it is true that much of the book is very emotionally taxing. This read does end on a hopeful note, as Angie, her family, and her "alters" find their way to hope, forgiveness, and understanding.