A Quiet YA Mystery Thriller That Messes With Your Head | Pretty Girl-13

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Young Adult Psychological Mystery Thriller
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 18, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books (originally published in 2013)
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Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods on a Girl Scout 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 last three years of her life? With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her lost time. She eventually discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: what do you do when you remember things you wish you could forget?

This YA mystery is a quiet thriller that turns its focus inward. It’s a psychological story that explores the effects the terrible things that happened to Angie had on her mind.

When Angie returns home, the way her parents react confuses here. They’re crying and hugging her. Hasn’t she only been gone for the weekend?

When her parents tell her that she has been gone for three years, Angie cannot reconcile this with her memories. She is a 13-year-old girl just returning from a Girl Scout camping trip. Isn’t she?

I love this kind of mystery and having it on a YA stage made it so much fun! Well, not fun exactly. What happens is kind of horrible. Well, totally horrible. However, it was an incredibly gripping read.

Pretty Girl-13 is a character-driven story, focusing on Angie and what’s going on inside her head. She’s suffering from amnesia. She’s 16 but thinks she’s 13. She doesn’t recognize herself in the mirror. She knows she’s been gone, but she doesn’t remember what happened to her.

The story plays out in bits and pieces. We follow Angie along through the process of figuring out what happened to her. We are alongside her as each layer pulls back. Not only are the plot and main character interesting and unique, but because of those things, the narration is as well. I loved all the bits and pieces that seemed to come out of no where. Soon we learn where they are coming from, and then they make much more sense! And seem super cool!

Angie’s is a very interesting perspective, and not one that I have seen before. I’ve seem some reviews that tell you what makes it unique. However, I think being surprises by it is much better! I recommend going into this book not knowing too much about Angie!

This book was heading for a five-star rating from me, but I found one of the surprise twists too unlikely for me to suspend my disbelief. Not that the thing happened, but that it was such a surprise. I feel like people involved in the investigation would have guessed this, or saw signs of it. Furthermore, I didn’t really like the way that plot line resolved.

If you enjoy psychological mysteries or thrillers, you absolutely need to give this book a try! It’s so good! And so well researched. Kudos, Ms. Coley.