Pretty Girl-13

( 17 )

Overview

In Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery, sixteen-year-old Angie Chapman must piece together the story of her kidnapping and abuse. Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing—and ultimately empowering—page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

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Pretty Girl-13

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Overview

In Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery, sixteen-year-old Angie Chapman must piece together the story of her kidnapping and abuse. Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing—and ultimately empowering—page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

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Editorial Reviews

Lauren Myracle
“Unflinchingly honest and brilliantly conceived. This book will haunt you.”
ALA Booklist
“Chilling...fascinating.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers...will certainly find themselves emotionally involved in [Angie’s] story frombeginning to end.”
Cinda Williams Chima
“A story of survival and resilience that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.”
Publishers Weekly
For the three years after 13-year-old Angie Chapman was abducted during a camping trip, her life was not her own. Now that she's back, arriving on her parents' doorstep with no memory of how she got there—or what happened to her—the same is still true, to an extent. Coley, the author of several short stories and a self-published novel, turns Angie's internal psychological struggles into a gripping, almost cinematic thriller. Because of Angie's amnesia, the hidden truths she uncovers about her captivity and her childhood come as surprises both to her and to readers. Through therapy, Angie learns she has dissociative identity disorder; the book largely focuses on Angie's struggles to communicate with, absorb, and/or destroy the "alters" in her psyche, who shielded Angie from the traumas she endured—and retain the ability to wrest control of her body. It's a harrowing journey with no shortage of creepy moments and imagery, and readers should be fascinated by Angie's efforts to put her life and mind in order after years of abuse. Ages 14–up. Agent: Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Angie Chapman's return three years after she disappeared on a camping trip stuns her parents and the detective who assumed she had been kidnapped and killed. Angie remembers nothing. In fact, she thinks she is still 13, not 16. She can't explain the scars around her wrists and ankles or where she has been. After she is diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder (DID), a psychologist helps her draw out her different personalities, aka "alters," and how they helped her cope with her kidnapper. Girl Scout took care of household chores while Little Wife dealt with his sexual demands. The alters influence Angie's behavior at home and school, where she has difficulty finding a place. Her struggles to remember and fit back in intensify when she hears the story of "Tattletale," an alter, and realizes that her DID began when she was repeatedly abused by her uncle. Despite the difficulties, Angie ultimately emerges as a strong young woman with new friends and an improved relationship with her family. Some explanations of her treatments, especially experimental procedures to eliminate alters, have a textbook quality. A final revelation wraps up the plot a bit too neatly. However, for the most part Coley presents the impact of DID without sensationalizing the situation. Readers interested in psychological explorations will appreciate and admire Angie's struggles and journey.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
The opening chapters of Coley's debut for teens will chill readers to the bone--unfortunately, the rest of the novel fails to deliver. The haunting description of 13-year-old Angela Chapman's abduction from a Girl Scout camping trip and her mysterious return three years later has all the makings of a deeply disturbing but satisfying psychological thriller. With a combination of third-person narration and first-hand accounts by the multiple personalities Angie's created to protect herself from the trauma of her abduction and sexual exploitation, the structure of the novel is innovative and rich with potential. Rather than reveling in the complexities of Angie's broken psyche, however, the story spoon-feeds readers critical pieces far too quickly. For example, the day after her miraculous return, Angie has her first therapy session, at which she falls immediately under hypnosis and leaves with a diagnosis. Readers are cheated out of the pleasure of suspense. For a novel about a young girl's miraculous return to her family and community, there is also a surprising and disappointing lack of emotion. Even though her friends thought she must have been dead, Angie's return to La Cañada High School feels more like the popular girl coming home after a stint in rehab than the return of someone who has survived the truly unimaginable. It simply doesn't ring true. (Psychological thriller. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062127396
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 313,738
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Coley's short fiction has appeared in Cosmos magazine and speculative fiction anthologies. Her passions beyond reading and writing include singing, photography, and baking. She plays competitive tennis locally in Ohio to keep herself fit and humble.

With a background in science, Liz follows her interest in understanding "the way we work" down many interesting roads. Pretty Girl-13's journey into the perilous world of dissociative identity disorder is one of them.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 9, 2013

    Powerful and haunting. In Pretty Girl-13, 16 year-old Angie str

    Powerful and haunting.

    In Pretty Girl-13, 16 year-old Angie struggles to recover her memory of the past three years of her life, which has been repressed due to severe trauma. 

    Coley approaches this subject in a unique way, so I can understand the somewhat polarized reception. I happened to really enjoy it. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about -- I honestly just liked the cover. And then, what do you know? It's 6am, and I haven't slept because I stayed up all night finishing the audiobook. My stomach was in knots the entire time because I wanted needed to know what would happen to Angie next--and whether it would be good or bad, because you could just never tell.

    Some of the events in the plot are a little far-fetched in how they come together, but it's easy to forgive. The goal of this book is to bring exposure to PTSD and the effects of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and in this it truly succeeds.

    Dark, disturbing, and heart-breaking, this book leaves an impression. Angie's story grabbed a hold of my heart and never let go.

    I doubt I'll be able to send my daughter to Girl Scout camp after reading this.

    CONTENT:

    Profanity: Moderate (one crude character, not overwhelming)
    Violence: Moderate (allusions to physical abuse, character trapped in fire)
    Sexuality: Moderate-High (intense images and allusions to sexual abuse, mild sex scene -- regarded negatively) 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Brilliant story! I have always been fasinated with D.I.D so I fo

    Brilliant story! I have always been fasinated with D.I.D so I found this book really interesting. I couldn't put this book down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Intense but manageable story. It's hard enough to be a teenager

    Intense but manageable story.

    It's hard enough to be a teenager, but add to that the fact that you disappeared into thin air from a Girl Scout outing and then come back to your grieving family three years later - not knowing where you've been or what you've been doing -  is horrifying.

    This book touched me in so many ways.  Angie struggles to remember pieces of her fractured life, memories so horrifying that her brain protects her by creating 'alters' - each of which has a different tale to tell in this unique story.  I adored them and it was easy to see why they were created.  Pretty Girls-13 shows me, even in a fictional way, how strong the mind can be as it attempts to protect a person from events that may have made them insane.

    Even though it dealt with a sensitive subject, it was written with a lightness that didn't make it too heavy to read.  It was informative, but not graphic.  Angie's story was told in such a way that I didn't have to put the book down to give myself breathing space and I enjoyed that.  I could identify with some of her or her alter's reactions.  In the end, I loved all the parts that made up Angie. 

    I enjoyed the  secondary characters too.  From the 'alters' to Dr. Grant.  And Abraim ended up being an adorable love interest.  What made the characters seem more real is that the first chapter showed the friendships between Kate, Liv, Greg and Angie and then how later in the book it showed how the relationships between them had changed in the intervening years.  While Angie was away in the woods, her friends were living normal teenage lives and Angie had to deal with those changes when she came back. 

    The relationships between the characters really worked for me.  There was such a range of them.  Between the alters and Angie, Angie and her family, Angie and her friends and also between others.  It was hard to stay disconnected. 

    I have to admit that I enjoyed nearly everything about this book even though some of it seemed a little strange to me - strange in ways that I can't even understand myself.  It really interesting to see what the human mind will do to keep itself safe.

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes books with a psychological edge.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Anonymous

    Eh.... this book wuz good. Good enough to keep me going to the end of the book. I think it could do better with describing the setting. Overall... a 4/5

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2013

    Awesome!

    I wasn't quite sure about this at first--based on the premise. but turned out to be an incredibly awesome read. Nothing graphic, thankfully, but a nice psychological melding.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    I've been interested in crime stories since I was a kid (too muc

    I've been interested in crime stories since I was a kid (too much Law & Order!) and I've been on a Criminal Minds kick recently so it was unsurprising when I picked up Pretty Girl-13 after I finished writing my last exam and couldn't put it down until I was finished.

    As hard as these types of stories can be to read, I love to read them because I find they really challenge me both as a reader and as a person. It forces you to empathize (or at least sympathize) with a character, as you experience the same struggles they do in the book. But I had a couple issues with Pretty Girl-13 by the time I finished it.

    Reasons to Read:

    1. An inside look at life post-abduction:

    What happens to Angie is horrific, but I appreciated learning about it from her perspective rather than anyone else's. I tend to read about these horrific events objectively, but I think it's equally important to consider what happens after a girl who's been missing for 3 years comes back home... from her perspective. Because while it's happy on one hand, it's also extraordinarily difficult on the other. She comes back into her life, but everything has changed so much it's nearly unrecognizable.

    2. The story of a girl with exceptional strength:

    Pretty Girl-13 is truly a testament to the strength possessed by those who undergo such horrific circumstances. It's incredible to see the way Angie did her best to protect herself, and the lengths she'll go to protect others as well.

    3. Mysteries & plot twists:

    The story in this book is different because Angie doesn't remember the past 3 years of her life - any of the time she spent abducted and held captive. So the difficulty for her is to try and put together exactly what happened to her and if she even wants to remember. There are plenty of surprises and secrets to be uncovered throughout it all which makes for a thrilling read.

    But while Pretty Girl-13 started off so well, I didn't feel like it maximized the potential it had. If anything, it seemed to work against the overall message of the story. What happens to Angie is horrific and positively terrible. But by the end, it felt like she was just having every possible unspeakable thing thrown at her to make it as shocking as possible. Many of the twists didn't seem to serve the overall purpose of the story, but just for shock value. I know that stories like this aren't entirely imagined and they really do happen in real life. But some of these weren't tied in to the story well enough and really felt gratuitous.

    And when I finished, I had to think over many aspects of the book. And I realized how many plot holes there were - there are some obvious secrets that should have been uncovered earlier on in the story, because others were in a perfect position to discover it and failed to, even when it would have been obvious to them. (I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm forcing myself to be vague.) There were times when I didn't find Angie's responses to be plausible either, because of how easily she is able to move on after recalling various events that happened in her life.

    So overall, while I liked the book and its message, it felt lacking in retrospect when I had really hoped for more and it seemed like I could expect that much of Pretty Girl-13.

    Hardcover purchased personally.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2013

    Very Raw and Honest look at some Heavy Issues Wow.  All I can s

    Very Raw and Honest look at some Heavy Issues

    Wow.  All I can say, is wow.  I had to take a moment (or a few) after finishing Pretty Girl - 13 by Liz Coley.  While the YA genre is papered with dystopians and fairytales come to life, Pretty Girl - 13 is a raw and disturbingly realistic look into the world of an abducted girl, Angie who returns to her life not remember anything, at least at first.  This is a good reminder that sometimes the best stories are not that of make believe but rather, the ones that make us stop and think about the realities that haunt and surround us in this world, horrific as they may be. 

    Coley does an impeccable job building Angie's personal journey in this psychological thriller this novel.  It is so realistic that at times I honestly had to put the book down to catch my breath or re-read parts so I wouldn't miss any key parts. This is definitely not a book for the weak-hearted, but it is a great story of strength, perserverence and survival.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Wow!! Could the author throw any more crap at this poor girl?! T

    Wow!! Could the author throw any more crap at this poor girl?! Thank god this is a fictitious story. Just when you think things could not get any worse for her........wrong! Very fast paced story. Loved the alters. This is a very adult story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Excellent

    Well written, difficult subject, must read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2013

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Dick

    Jdud

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Angie¿s parents have experienced what every parent fears, the a


    Angie’s parents have experienced what every parent fears, the abduction of a child with no resolution, no knowledge of what really happened on that fateful day. When Angie suddenly reappears three years later, the repercussions are not what we might imagine, should we find ourselves in such a situation. I would not be the least bit surprised that the child can’t drop back into life as though nothing happened but, in this case, I found her father’s behavior baffling and sometimes her mother’s was also. Yes, her mom has the excuse of pregnancy wreaking havoc on her hormones and moods but her dad’s aloofness is nothing but hurtful and it’s even shameful when he has to choose whose story to believe.

    Angie, on the other hand, is an extremely sympathetic character and I understood her desire to have a normal life as well as her rage against her parents. When it began to be apparent that “others” had an active say in what normal meant, I completely bought into the premise. Although multiple personalities are a fairly rare condition, it makes sense for Angie when her alters start to reveal what Angie’s life has been like—and not just for the past three years.

    I’ve read other books that feature a kidnapped child, including those who are held for long periods, but this one struck me as particularly appealing. I like Angie very much and applaud her strength, no matter it’s source. Ms. Coley has done a fine job of telling not only Angie’s story but that of the people who love her, including those who will always be a part of her.

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  • Posted March 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Angie is on a Girl Scout camping trip with her friends when sudd

    Angie is on a Girl Scout camping trip with her friends when suddenly she’s at the front door of her house, with no idea how she got there. What’s even odder is that people are telling her she’s 16, not 13 like she knows she is. Then she sees herself in the mirror and realizes something isn’t right – she looks like an older version of herself. After the doctors and the police, her parents get her to a psychologist, who helps Angie realize she has multiple personalities, or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Whatever happened to Angie during her missing 3 years, the alternate identities, or alters, lived through it, not her. Desperate to heal herself, Angie must decide if she can handle the secrets the alters hide, or if she should just get rid of them without learning the truth.

    Man, oh man. What a ride. We first met Angie as she was on the camping trip, but the story wasn’t told from her point of view at first; it was someone else telling the story to Angie (we don’t learn who until later). This person told Angie what happened when she went home as a 16-year-old, what she went through trying to adjust and how she came to know about the alters. It was easy to care about Angie, to be scared for her as she learned the truth. She was so innocent and naïve, truly still a 13-year-old mentally. At times, she seemed even more immature than 13, but perhaps that was a result of her situation.

    Her parents didn’t act like I thought they should all the time, but they were pretty realistic. They, too, had been through a lot over the 3 years Angie was gone, and it was also an adjustment for them. I loved the psychiatrist Angie started seeing, she was wonderfully patient and understanding, and I was glad she was on Angie’s side. Angie’s friends dealt with her return in different ways, and some of them dealt with her reappearance better than others.

    I’ve never known anyone with DID, so I can’t say with certainty if Liz Coley is spot on with this book, but I will say it seemed believable and was very interesting. I wanted to know why Angie developed these alters, how they worked together (or didn’t) and how she could heal from them. The entire process of Angie’s healing was very powerful, and can I just say I have never wanted to knee a fictional character in their fictional groin more than I wanted to in this book. I can’t recall the last time I was reading a book and said out loud “No, it can’t be.” or “Don’t do it!” And I’m not exaggerating.

    Angie’s story was heartbreaking, but it was also hopeful and powerful, because underneath it all, she was strong; she just had to realize it.

    The sum up: Sad and powerful, this is a hard one to read, but worth it.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

       I am immediately drawn to anything with memory loss so fr





       I am immediately drawn to anything with memory loss so from the moment I read the blurb I knew that I wanted to read Pretty Girl-13. What I found inside the pages was more than I expected and crafted with brilliance. There is suspense, mystery, and a strong emotional pull.
       I was sympathetic to Angie, and right there with her on the edge of my seat wanting to know what had happened to her in the lost years of her life, and like her, totally unprepared for each and every twist. I wasn't prepared for how much I would care about her alters, the ones who dealt with the abuse and helped her survive, the ones who lived those lost years for Angie. They each had their personalities and things that they added to the story. One in particular I sort of saw coming, but was blindsided all the same. 
       Watching Angie cope with learning what happened to her, as well as those locked up inside her, that are slowly giving their stories, and trying to figure out if these alters, the ones who know what happened and helped her survive, if they are wanting more of her than she has to give.
        Besides Angie and her alters, I also really enjoyed Kate, a friend of hers in the book. Kate had so much to offer, and I am glad that Angie saw past what everyone deemed was a bad decision on Kate's part, but really was selfless and brave. She also introduced Angie to Abraim, who was such a sweet and amazing guy. I love how he was written and how considerate and understanding he was. 
        The ending is just as emotional as the rest of the book. I couldn't believe how much I saw Angie grow and  change in the short amount of time I spent with her, and I was so proud of the decisions she ended up making. 
        Bottom line: Suspenseful and emotional story with a main character who learns about who she really is and fills in the pieces from her three missing years of her life. 

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Liz Coley explores a dark and fascinating aspect of the mind in

    Liz Coley explores a dark and fascinating aspect of the mind in Pretty Girl-13. Angie Chapman, taken from camp at 13 years old, returns home without memory of the three years she was gone. It's more than amnesia created from trauma that causes her to not remember a single thing about her kidnapping and captor, or what she had been forced to endure. Angie's mind holds multiple personalities that throw themselves in Angie's life when it gets too hard for her to handle on her own.

    Pretty Girl-13 brought to mind Ellen Hopkins' dramatic verse novel, Identical, and April Henry's suspenseful thriller, Girl, Stolen. The psychological elements and tragic tales are complex and intriguing enough to keep readers glued to the pages! Angie herself wasn't such a spectacular character, but her story is worth the read. Having traumatic memories locked away in a mind and not able to access them is such a mind-blowing ability that Coley writes about with natural aplomb.

    Suspense not only lies with revealing the truth of Angie's experience, but what will happen when the truth is finally out. The portrayal of Angie dealing with her experience wasn't an emotionally wringing experience for readers, but it will unquestionably capture the attention of empathetic souls. The mystery and haunting air of Pretty Girl-13 is too hard to ignore and Liz Coley is an exceptional writer!
    *ARC provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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