Such a Pretty Girl

Such a Pretty Girl

by Laura Wiess

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416521839
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication date: 01/02/2007
Edition description: Original
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 152,386
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl, chosen as one of the ALA’s 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, and Leftovers. Originally from Milltown, New Jersey, she traded bumper-to-bumper traffic, excellent pizza, and summer days down the shore for scenic roads, bears, no pizza delivery, and the irresistible allure of an old stone house surrounded by forests in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains Region. Email Laura Wiess at laura@laurawiess.com or visit http://www.laurawiess.com for more information.

Read an Excerpt

Such a Pretty Girl

Chapter One

They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three.

Today my time has run out.

I sit on the curb at the back of the parking lot near the Dumpster. The waste from the condo complex bakes in this cumbersome green kiln and the stench is shocking, heavy with rancid grease and sickly-sweet decay. The association's tried to beautify the Dumpster, painting the rusty sides a perky green and relettering the faded residents' use only sign, but the battered lid thwarts them, as it's warped from rough use and no longer seals the stewing fumes neatly in the box.

"Perfect," I mutter and take a drag off my cigarette. Blow a couple of smoke rings and tempt the crusading, condo cowboys to rush from their air-conditioned dens and snatch the forbidden smudge stick away.

But they won't. They keep their distance now, afraid my taint will rub off.

These adults who ache to interfere -- convinced their quality-of-life ordinances and PC patrolling make them a village-raising-a-child -- are the same people who picketed and wrote scathing letters to the editor to prevent my mother from renting a second condo in the front of the complex for my father's homecoming.

It didn't work, of course. My mother's attorney protected my father's rights and threatened to sue the complex owner ifhousing was denied. The owner caved, the condo was rented, and the neighbors were left reeling, hobbled by their own laws.

"I wish I could have found him a unit closer to ours, but this'll have to do for now," my mother had said earlier, spraying CK's Obsession along her neck and thighs. "And besides, it's only temporary until we can live like a family again." Her cheeks were pink, her voice breathy with anticipation. "He's really looking forward to it, Meredith. Being home with us, I mean. It's what's kept him going. I hope you can appreciate that."

I watched her and said nothing. Silence was the key to self-preservation.

"Now, where did I leave my...oh, there it is." She crossed to the bed, slipped off her robe, and smoothed the lace trim on her white La Perla panties. The matching bra was for show only, as she was almost flat on top. "And as far as this whole adjustment period thing goes...personally, I would have let you spend the weekend at your grandmother's like we'd planned so your father and I could have had a little time alone first, but that's not what he wanted." Frowning, she examined the delicate, rhinestone heart stitched onto the front of the panties. "Hmm. This better not make a bump under my dress. He wants us both here for him and I think that says a lot about forgiveness and a fresh start. We've all sacrificed, Meredith. I hope you understand that, too."

I studied my thumb. Bit off a hangnail. Dead skin, so no pain. Not bad.

"Just stay down, will you?" She poked at the glittery heart, not seeming to notice my lack of response. "Oh,

for...I don't have time for this. If it sticks up, I'll just have to cut it off." Impatient, she slid into her dress and presented me with her back so I could zip the new red mini. It was a size two from a Lord & Taylor window display she'd designed at the mall and probably not intended for a thirty-nine-year-old with a stranglehold on her fading youth. "Careful. This is silk."

I eased up the zipper and lingered, one knuckle brushing the warmth of her neck.

"Time, Meredith." She pulled away and shook her hair, poked her feet into scarlet mules, and smoothed the dress from hipbone to hipbone. "No lumps, no bumps. Perfect."

I wandered over to her bureau and recapped the cologne as my mother continued her nervous chatter.

"I used this same shade of red in the welcome home! banner, the flowers in the living room, and the new guest towels, you know. In decorating, you want to tie everything together to create the impression of continuous harmony. I put touches of color in your father's condo, too. I think he'll be pleased. Oh, and I took three steaks out to thaw so now is not the time to go into that silly vegetarian kick." She glanced my way and shook her head. "And please, put on something decent before we get back. This is a celebration, not a wake. No overalls and no more gray. I mean it. Try to look cheerful for a change." She skimmed on lipstick and glanced at her watch. "Time to run. Tonight's going to be wonderful!"

Wrong, I'd wanted to say as she swept out in a blur of red silk. Tonight is when the obscene becomes the acceptable.

My father has been gone for three years. Long enough for the town to finally stop shunning us and for his victims to get counseling. Long enough for me to lose one social worker to pregnancy and two more hollow-eyed, twitchy ones to career burnout. Long enough for my mother to have been granted a divorce, had she ever applied for one. But she hasn't. Nor has she ever stopped visiting him in the Big House.

Today will be her final pilgrimage, and thanks to Megan's Law, everyone in town knows it.

My father's release date was given to all the local cops, school administrators, and youth group leaders. They got handouts with his name, photo, physical description, the crimes for which he was convicted, his home address, and license plate. The law says they aren't allowed to share the info with anyone else, but of course they did -- who wouldn't? -- so now we're marked for life. His picture is even posted on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.

My mother ignores it all; the hostile undercurrents, the whispers and disparaging looks, the grim disgust in my grandmother's face, and the dogged blankness in mine.

Sharon Shale, my mother, does not see what she doesn't want to see.

She never has.

And for the last three years, she hasn't wanted to see me. At least not in private, when no one else is watching. She's always half-turned away, ahead of or behind me, tossing out words without watching to gauge their effect, cluttering my wake with complaints of attitude, dirty dishes, or stray eyebrows plucked into the sink. She acts like my scars are on the outside and I'm too disturbing to look at head-on.

So I leave proof of my existence behind me like a snail trail with the small hope that years of talking at me will someday soften her enough to talk with me, that she'll finally pull the knife from my chest and say yes, we are better off without him. That what happened wasn't my fault and from now on she will thrust herself between me and danger, and shout NO.

Hands shaking, I fish a fresh cigarette from the front pocket of my bib overalls and try to light it off the old one. My chin trembles, the butts joust, and the burning head gets knocked off into the gutter at my feet.

I grind it out. Jab the unlit cigarette back into the pack.

Look up to see my mother's BMW pulling into the driveway.

A man sits shotgun.

My father.

Copyright © 2007 by Laura Battyanyi Wiess

Chapter Two

The driver's door opens and my mother pops out. She looks around expectantly and spots me hunkered on the curb instead of hurtling toward them, whooping, "Welcome home, Daddy!" Annoyance crimps her smile. "Mere-dith," she calls, waving me closer. "Look who's here!" Her scarlet nails glow orange in the sunset. "Come say hello!"

I can't. Breathing hurts and I want to run. His head turns toward me and my gaze jumps away, fixes on the fists filling my pockets. I count the rigid knuckles lumped beneath the faded denim. Four is my safe number. Eight is double strength. I smell terror in my sudden sweat. Oh God, please don't let this happen.

"Meredith," my mother says again, and there's steel beneath the honey. "I'm talking to you. Come here and say hello to your father, please. Now."

It's the bitchy "now" that punctures my paralysis. Now he's here. Now she's happy. Now I'm supposed to act like nothing ever happened.

Anger saves me. I plant my palms on the curb and push myself up. Smooth my baggy overalls and black tank. Unhook my hair from behind my ears. The halves swing forward to curtain off all but my nose. My eyes burn and heat envelops my face.

The passenger door opens.

One sneakered foot is planted on the driveway. The other joins it.

The Nikes are blindingly new. Size twelve.

My mother has been shopping for him.

The jeans are also new. If I allow my gaze to travel higher -- which I won't -- I'll see the solid gold baseball charm on a chain that my mother gave him for his eighteenth birthday nestled in his coarse, whorled chest hair.

My front teeth throb as the memory of the charm bangs against them.

"Hello, Meredith."

The voice is quiet, kind, hoarse with history...and it destroys me. A sick, writhing knot of old love and despair lays me open worse than the first time and the force of it almost takes me down. I lock my knees, trying not to sway. This was not supposed to happen. I spent years steeling myself, reliving every rotten moment over and over again to make myself immune, hiding from nothing so there would be nothing hidden left to cripple me, and I thought I'd made it, but now, with one simple greeting, I've already lost.

"No, Daddy, no. Don't."

"Meredith," he says again, soft and almost pleading, a voice I know, a voice that sends the nausea churning in my stomach straight up into my throat.

I swallow hard and lift my chin in reply. It's all I can manage and more than he deserves.

"Well." My mother plants her hands on her hips, peevish. "Is that the best welcome you can come up with? Why don't you come over here and give your father a hug?"

Hug him? Touch him? How can she even suggest it?

"It's okay. Don't push her, Sharon." He slams the passenger door and stretches, glances around the ominously silent court. Blinds twitch and a shade goes down, but he doesn't seem to notice. "Nice place. Peaceful. We have the rest of our lives to get reacquainted. Right, Chirp?"

My head jerks up, the curtain of hair parts, and for one piercing moment the predator and the prey lock gazes.

He winks at me before turning to my mother. "Don't worry, she'll come around. Three years is a long time to be out of a kid's life."

Not long enough! I want to shout, but I am mute, rooted in place as my stomach cramps and my defenses stumble in dazed disorder. He found me so easily. Resurrected my old nickname and broke right through. Does he know it? I don't know. So far I've only given him silence and surprise, so maybe he isn't sure. I have to count on that, have to believe I still have a chance to survive this.

"Yes, it is," my mother says, shooting me an exasperated look and shouldering her purse. "Why don't we go in out of this heat, Charles? I have some steaks defrosting -- "

"No you don't." I come alive, reminded of my sabotage, and force myself up the lawn toward them. The grass is cool in the shade so I sit and make a show of removing my sandals. My feet are filthy from walking barefoot. I hitch up my pant leg and scratch my stubbly shin, making certain my father notes my horrible hygiene. I hate being dirty, but I know that he hates it more.

"Yes I do," my mother says, frowning. "I took three steaks out before I left."

"And I threw them away," I say, and nod at the Dumpster. "They smelled bad."

"What? All of them?" She is astonished. "Meredith, how could you?"

"They were rotten," I say with a careless shrug. "Probably loaded with E. coli, too. It's the stuff no one sees that does the most damage."

My father rubs his forehead, dulling the sweaty sheen above his brow.

"So you threw them away," my mother says, as if repeating it is the key to undoing it. "Sixty dollars' worth of steaks! How could they be rotten? I just bought them the other day!"

"Go smell for yourself," I say. "They're right on top."

She won't. He might, just to reassert his authority. I hope he does. The steaks are there, unwrapped and carefully laid out on top of a split garbage bag soggy with liquefied waste.

"Meredith, I don't...you know I...my God..." She's breathing hard, embarrassed and furious, caught between the harmonious, happy homecoming and letting me have it.

"Never mind, Shar," my father says, crossing around the front of the car and patting her back. His hand is awkward and although she turns from me and leans into him, he doesn't lean back. He worships youth. She chases it, but can never be young enough again. "I've been dreaming about Tony's pizzas for years. Come on, let's go order one."

Neither looks at me as they mount the front steps and fumble with the keys.

I stay where I am, silently counting the bricks in the steps and the cherry red geranium petals scattering the sidewalk beneath the urns flanking our porch. I count in lots of four, my gaze tracing corner-to-corner box shapes for each small group, and it isn't long before my heart slows and the trembling stops.

My parents will call Tony's and try to place a delivery order, but it'll be refused. Tony has caller ID and once he recognizes the last name, he'll say he doesn't deliver to our "area." He does, however, deliver to the rest of the complex. It's a daring discrimination, one that has earned my reluctant admiration.

My mother doesn't know Tony shuns us because she doesn't want to know.

But both she and my father are about to find out.

The good citizens of Estertown don't take kindly to child molesters or to the carrier families who deliberately host the virus and reinfect the community.

I glance across the court at the condo catty-cornered to my building.

Andy, who has ordered and received countless pizzas from Tony's for me, is sitting in his living room window. His bare chest gleams in the dying daylight. He shivers and lifts his bottle of Jim Beam in silent luck.

I nod because he sees, and knows.

Copyright © 2007 by Laura Battyanyi Wiess



Continues...


Excerpted from Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess Copyright © 2007 by Laura Wiess. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Such a Pretty Girl is deep and ravishing, dark and true. In the character of Meredith, Laura Wiess has created a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe. Read this novel, and you will be changed forever."

— Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Such a Pretty Girl hooked me on page one and Laura Wiess's masterful prose kept me turning the pages. This is the first book in a very long time that made me say, 'Wish I'd written this.'"

— Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank

"Beautifully written and painfully real. Laura Wiess has crafted a gripping story that is heart-rending — and important, with a capital 'I'."

— Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author of Flirting with Pete

Reading Group Guide

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Meredith frequently refers to numbers throughout the novel — how many tiles there are in the bathroom, the amount of multivitamins she takes, and four being her "safety number." Why does Meredith find such comfort in numbers?
2. Discuss the theme of paralysis in Such a Pretty Girl and how it applies to each character.
3. "Ms. Mues shields me just to thwart my father. She doesn't really care for me. She's a plotter, a planner and what better way to avenge her son than to destroy her enemy's daughter? To gain my trust and use me to achieve her goal, much like my father used Andy..." (page 73). Do you think this is true? What is Ms. Mues's motivation for moving into Meredith's neighborhood?
4. "Four is my best number, but there are four years between my parents too, and I would rather fall down dead than find out we're anything like them" (page 74). How is the relationship between Andy and Meredith different than the relationship between Meredith's parents? Do you think Meredith is repeating her mother's mistake?
5. "A victim soul is a pious individual chosen to absorb the suffering o f others" (page 86). Who do you think acts as the victim soul in this novel? Does this person accept his/her role willingly?
6. "Andy's demons chase him just as hard as yours chase you" (page 114). How are Andy and Meredith different in dealing with their mutual psychological scars?
7. What is the significance of each of the recurring images in the novel: the Dumpster, the gold baseball pendant, roses, and the statue of Mary.
8. Discuss the relationship between Sharon and Charles. Why does she stay with him despite everything he's done? Meredith believes her mother will always choose her husband over her daughter. Is this true? If so, why does she want Meredith to stay with them instead of with her grandmother?
9. "It's the stuff that no one sees that does the most damage" (page 10). Sight is another theme in Such a Pretty Girl. What does each character choose not to see and how does that hurt them?
10.What do you think Meredith's future will be like? Will she become the stereotype of abused children? Or will she become its exception?
READER TIPS
1. Visit Laura Wiess's blog at http://gypsyrobin.livejournal.com.
2. Did this book inspire you to get involved in protecting your community? Go to www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/states.htm to find information on sex offenders who might be living in your neighborhood.
3. Watch the documentary highly recommended by the author, Just Melvin: Just Evil.

Introduction

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Meredith frequently refers to numbers throughout the novel — how many tiles there are in the bathroom, the amount of multivitamins she takes, and four being her "safety number." Why does Meredith find such comfort in numbers?

2. Discuss the theme of paralysis in Such a Pretty Girl and how it applies to each character.

3. "Ms. Mues shields me just to thwart my father. She doesn't really care for me. She's a plotter, a planner and what better way to avenge her son than to destroy her enemy's daughter? To gain my trust and use me to achieve her goal, much like my father used Andy..." (page 73). Do you think this is true? What is Ms. Mues's motivation for moving into Meredith's neighborhood?

4. "Four is my best number, but there are four years between my parents too, and I would rather fall down dead than find out we're anything like them" (page 74). How is the relationship between Andy and Meredith different than the relationship between Meredith's parents? Do you think Meredith is repeating her mother's mistake?

5. "A victim soul is a pious individual chosen to absorb the suffering o f others" (page 86). Who do you think acts as the victim soul in this novel? Does this person accept his/her role willingly?

6. "Andy's demons chase him just as hard as yours chase you" (page 114). How are Andy and Meredith different in dealing with their mutual psychological scars?

7. What is the significance of each of the recurring images in the novel: the Dumpster, the gold baseball pendant, roses, and the statue of Mary.

8. Discuss the relationship between Sharon and Charles. Why does she stay with him despite everythinghe's done? Meredith believes her mother will always choose her husband over her daughter. Is this true? If so, why does she want Meredith to stay with them instead of with her grandmother?

9. "It's the stuff that no one sees that does the most damage" (page 10). Sight is another theme in Such a Pretty Girl. What does each character choose not to see and how does that hurt them?

10.What do you think Meredith's future will be like? Will she become the stereotype of abused children? Or will she become its exception?

READER TIPS

1. Visit Laura Wiess's blog at http://gypsyrobin.livejournal.com.

2. Did this book inspire you to get involved in protecting your community? Go to www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/states.htm to find information on sex offenders who might be living in your neighborhood.

3. Watch the documentary highly recommended by the author, Just Melvin: Just Evil.

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl, chosen as one of the ALA's 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and 2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, and Leftovers. Originally from Milltown, New Jersey, she traded bumper-to-bumper traffic, excellent pizza, and summer days down the shore for scenic roads, bears, no pizza delivery, and the irresistible allure of an old stone house surrounded by forests in Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains Region. Email Laura Wiess at laura@laurawiess.com or visit http://www.laurawiess.com for more information.

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Such a Pretty Girl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 188 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura Wiess has written a compelling novel that deals with a painful subject. Meredith was sexually abused by her father, who has recently been released from prison. She is an anguished, wounded character struggling to overcome. And as the reader, I could feel the conflict inside her; would she ultimately be victim or victor?
Meredith was wise beyond her years, forced to grow up too early by her father's iniquities. Still, she felt unable to protect herself from her father, who had clearly not been successfully rehabilitated.
I think a talented writer not only creates characters for the reader to fall in love with, but often also gives us one or two to despise. Wiess created a truly loathsome character in Meredith's mother. She was ignorant and insipid and from the father's first day back home, repeatedly violated the court order not to leave him alone with Meredith. She was nearly as despicable as her pedophilic husband.
The system failed to protect Meredith just as abysmally as her mother did. Meredith seemed to fall between the cracks, leaving her frightened and vulnerable. Redemption would be her own doing, and that of a few people, her maternal grandmother, a caring neighbor, who were willing to get involved instead of merely looking the other way.
Besides being very well-written, Such a Pretty Girl is thought-provoking. Topics to be considered; can pedophiles be successfully rehabilitated? How effective is the sex-offender registry in its current format? Is it appropriate to take matters into our own hands when we see the system is failing to protect children? Are we even willing to?
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
In SUCH A PRETTY GIRL, Laura Wiess grabbed and held my attention from the first page to the last. New Jersey teenager Meredith was supposed to have nine years of safety from her father, so she'd be eighteen and out of the house when he was released from prison. But three years later, when Meredith is fifteen, her father gets out for good behavior. No matter what he did to Meredith and to other children before her, Meredith's mother is more than ready to take him back.

Meredith isn't alone, though. She has her grandmother, the mayor of the town, who wants Meredith to move in with her to escape her father. She has Andy, her best friend, the guy she is in love with, who was also scarred by Meredith's father as a child. She has Andy's mother, who moved across the street from Meredith's family just to keep other children from the horror from which she couldn't protect Andy. She has Nigel, a retired policemen who has a plan to get Meredith's father back in jail and away from children. Even though Meredith is far from alone, she still feels that way when she can't even count on the people every kid is supposed to be able to count on: her parents.

Meredith wants to get her father back in prison. She wants her mother to go back to visiting him instead of having him in their house. She wants to be able to go into her own home without fear. She wants other kids to be safe, too. She doesn't know what that's going to take, and she's certainly not unafraid, but she isn't going to let him hurt her, or any other kids, again.

This moving, powerful novel is one that should not be missed. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put this book down. I wasn't! It's an emotional book that is beautifully, powerfully written and unique, and it'll stay with you long past the last word.

Laura Wiess's characters are as well-written as the rest of the book, very realistic (in some cases, scarily so). They're three-dimensional characters in an equally (and, again, scarily) believable story that will certainly be a favorite of anyone who reads it. I know it's one of mine now! Don't miss this book.
4192 More than 1 year ago
Meredith was only twelve years old when she was molested by her father. Now fifteen and living life, her mother receives a phone call stating that the father is getting released from jail early. Meredith relapses into depression, but her Mother is ecstatic. Her father Charles comes home and tries, once again to rape his daughter. With the defense of the statue of the Holy Mary, will she be able to overcome her father? Meredith is somewhat depressed but a very strong young girl who wants to put an end to her dad molesting children. Meredith's father, Charles, is sick in his mind and molested not only his own daughter, but other children too. Sharon, who is Meredith's mother, strongly believes her husband was confused when he molested children and blames Meredith for ruining the family and their reputation. Andy is the only person who is close to Meredith. He is a miserable alcoholic at the age of seventeen because he was paralyzed after graduation, and has never walked again. He too was molested by her father, but they secretly date behind Sharon's back. ""You didn't blame him, did you?" Her breath is sour in my nostrils. "You know he didn't mean it, he loves you, he really does. It was a mistake, Meredith, so nobody's really to blame. You understand that don't you?"" - Sharon. The passage shows all the family's struggles in one paragraph. This was said by Meredith's mother Sharon. By Sharon saying this to her own daughter shows she would do anything for her husband. By Meredith telling the nurses of what happened to her, it would ruin the family in her mother's eyes. Meredith tells and now has to deal with her mother's anguish by herself. The novel Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss was amazingly written. She pulls you in and makes you feel Meredith's pain and anger throughout her childhood. There is no easy way out when someone has dug a hole that deep for you. The book taught me to put your strong foot forward and to never turn back to the past and live for the future. Every point in this book makes you believe that things will get better if you keep your head up. Meredith stays strong and does not run away from her problems. She takes control and puts her father away for good. The hero in this book is Meredith, always searching for the greater good.
chelsriah More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. Me and my girlfriend stayed up all night reading it. We didn't put it down once, couldn't put it down. keeps you on the end of your seat. I recommend it, definitely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was captivating, so raw and emotional . I felt myself fully invested and screaming out during intense parts of the novel... it was amazing a MUST read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* This is the first book I read from Laura Weiss and it was amazing. I couldn't put the book down, this book was great and I want to tell you so much but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. But this book is just AMAZING!
LisMB on LibraryThing 24 days ago
beyond frightening. Gripping story of a victim of her father's abuse. Sad. Well told story, seems like it is straight from the mouth of Meredith, a fifteen year old who was raped when she was twelve by her father.
jwhalen on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A constantly moving book about a young girl and her struggle against pressure from her mom to accept back her father who had raped her and others although some questions are left unanswered
MrsHillReads on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is a quick read that really stays with you! The terror is so real. Disturbing book that rings true.
AmyLynn on LibraryThing 24 days ago
One of the most visceral, personal accounts I have read in the past year. Laura brings you into Meredith's world, facing her worst enemy released from prison years early. Her mother welcomes home the man who molested her as if nothing happened. Meredith's tale of survival keeps you holding your breath, turning pages until the very end.For fans of this book, I recommend Laura's other book, Leftovers, and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why.
xhollishx on LibraryThing 24 days ago
When Meredith testified to have her dad sent to jail, he was supposed to serve 9 years. This meant Meredith had 9 years of safety and could move away when she turned 18. She never thought that her dad would get out in only 3 years for "good behavior". So Meredith is stuck at home with a mother that doesn't believe her and a father who is about to get out of prison. She has two friends in which she can confide; the wheelchair-ridden, Andy, who is her best friend and the guy she is in love with and there is also a retired cop in the same apartment complex, Nigel, who wants Meredith's dad put back in jail. Each friend is trying to help her in the only way that they know how. There is also her grandmother, Leah Louisa, who is the mayor and wants Meredith to live with her. But, if Meredith lives with her, will she be able to save others that is at her father's grasp?This book is a gripping and powerful novel. All of the characters are so realistic that it is scary at times. There are also flashbacks in the book that are just as enthralling and telling of the story and how it got to where it is. Even though this book is honest, it's not too graphic. You understand why Meredith tries to run away. Then, when she comes back to help save others, you appreciate her. She's just a scared 15 year-old trying to take on more of the world than anyone should, much less someone her age. Laura is an amazing writer and is treading in water that is rarely touched. She did a wonderful job making you believe these characters. This is an earnest book that should be picked up!
59Square on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Meredith is a 15 year old whose father has been unexpectedly released from jail. Where he was incarcerated for molesting her and other children in their neighborhood. Her mother is one of the most in-denial people you can imagine, cruelly so - choosing her father over Meredith's safety. And so it is up to Meredith, along with a small group of supporters, to save herself. The molestation scenes are creepy and repulsive, yet also very honest. They will not go away and give Meredith peace, and she knows she will probably not get any peace. This is the story of a survivor and one who is trying to heal. Meredith has more strength than anyone in her family, and she uses that to "win" in a surprising way. This book is disturbing and gripping all at once.
TrishWalton on LibraryThing 24 days ago
If you like sad books, then this is a good book for you to read. This main character has a hard life, and is just trying to get away from her father who hurt her when she was younger. They said he would be gone for a while, until one day, he is back. Read this and find out what she does to get rid of her father.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This harrowing story of abuse and its aftermath will surely entrance teen readers, though the flashbacks make the story a bit difficult to follow at times. Meredith was raped by her father, a pedophile who also raped young boys. He is sent to prison after Meredith testifies against him. He is supposed to be in prison for nine years, but is released after three years. Meredith's mother welcomes him home and refuses to believe Meredith when she says her father is still threatening her. Poetic justice makes the ending satisfying. For mature readers.
kperry on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Meredith is fifteen and has already lived through nightmares worse than anything most people could even imagine. Her father sexually abused her and her mother didn¿t do anything to stop it. Meredith wasn¿t alone though; he abused several other young children, but it was Meredith being injured to the point of needing an emergency room visit and Meredith finally admitting to what was going on that put him in jail. Her father received nine years in prison - long enough for her to turn eighteen and move away on her own.The only problem¿the justice system doesn¿t always work the way it is supposed to. Because of progress during therapy and good behavior, Meredith¿s father is released just three years after his incarceration. Meredith is scared to death. Her only salvation is Andy, a young man with whom she has a strange connection. He makes her feel calm when nothing else can. Andy is fighting his own demons though and plans to leave for Iowa to see a victim soul - someone who takes on the pain and suffering of another. Andy is paralyzed and he and his mother put their faith in God to cure him. He is leaving just when Meredith needs him the most. Meredith will have to find strength in herself to overcome her newest nightmare.SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is an intense and emotional novel. It will catch the reader¿s attention quickly. However, there are a few details will cause the reader to question the plot. For instance, it just so happens that her father¿s arresting officer is now retired and lives in the same condo complex as Meredith. Also, her father can¿t live with Meredith and her mother right away, but he does buy a condo on the other side of the complex. All in all, SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is a book to read. If you¿ve enjoyed Ellen Hopkins¿ IDENTICAL or Elizabeth Scott¿s LIVING DEAD GIRL you probably will enjoy SUCH A PRETTY GIRL.
lifeafterjane on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Meredith is sitting by a dumpster in her condominium complex waiting for her father to come home from prison. In the pit of her stomach is a boulder of anxiety and fear heavy enough to weigh her down to her spot on the curb because where would she run to even if she was light enough to move. This is home. For three years she's struggled to cope with what has happened, safe in the knowledge that she'd have six more years of freedom to deal with it.All morning long her mother has chirped and fluttered about the house like a preening happy bird out of a children's fairytale because she's excited that the man who abused and molested at least five known children is coming home to her today. Everything will be perfect now. It was just a mistake. They are still family and family forgives each other's mistakes, right? The parole board did so it must be ok. He was suppose to go away for nine years but he's out in three because he's been so well behaved. He's been a model prisoner. He's so sorry and he's mended his ways. It'll be like it never happened. At least until it happens again.______________So I don't need to tell you what this book is about. I think you get it and if you need a moment to process it, take it. It's a heavy subject, one that shouldn't even exist in a story, in a book, in a country, in a world or even in a thought. But it does and through very meticulous weaving of past and present events, Wiess has written a road map to guide you through the awful and to help you see rape and abuse through the victim's eyes without scaring you back into the safety of your own conscious that doesn't like to admit that such a thing is even possible. Taking into consideration the magnitude of this subject, the brevity and careful, thoughtful retelling of the events in Meredith's past make it easy to take the plunge and see the book through. Wiess never intends to scare you away or beat you down with her subject matter, she intends only to help you understand. Given what she could have done, I think she handles the reader's emotions with kid gloves.This is a marvelous read worthy of immediate devouring. I couldn't put it down once I started. Be prepared to travel the full spectrum of emotion. The physical description of Meredith's father is so vivid- when she described his gold necklace against his hairy chest my skin crawled instantly and I hated him more than ever. I loathed her mother and wanted to beat her senseless with my bare hands. What a rotten, stupid, pathetic individual. And Meredith earned a "hell yes, girl" when she finally took matters into her own hands and saved her day with an almost superhero like display of strength. Meredith has a unique way of coping with what has happened to her and a very eclectic self-appointed safety net of people who's stories and roles in the book make for well timed breaks as we start to deal with Meredith's life. I loved it. It's re-readable because even without a happy ending (because can there ever really be one when we're talking abuse?) the story leaves us all set to go on with our lives. Definitely a good book hangover.
bookalover89 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
From the first page of "Such A Pretty Girl", I was hooked. Meredith is a true heroine along with an ecentric set of neighbors. A deeply moving debut that you'll never forget.
justablondemoment on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Wow....Read this book in one sitting. A very emotional ride read thru the eyes of a victim of incest. Recommend this book to not only kids but to parents as well. Very gripping story.
gubry on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Another great read from Laura Wiess. The story is about Meredith, whose father has been unexpectedly been released from jail. This is startling, because he was in jail because he molested her, and other kids in their neighborhood. This disrupts the peace that once was. And like her other novel that I'd read, I despised the parent(s) in this book also. Said parent was Meredith's mother, who was a character in denial with the situation that happened beforehand so much, that I wanted to smack some sense into her. But Meredith isn't alone in wanting her father to go back to jail since he certainly deserves it. She has others who support her and want him to go to jail, also. Speaking of Meredith, she is a very strong character who I enjoyed, and I was cheering her on in the story's final pages. Such a Pretty Girl is not an easy read, but is a great novel nevertheless that is very powerful. I couldn't put it down when I was reading it.
GaylDasherSmith on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I couldn't put it down. The tension of having to live with a parent who has abused you was something I could feel as I read. The book was so realistic, I couldn't believe this girl could ever triumph over this powerful force in her life, but I cheered her on and hoped mightily for her success
jonilee73 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book is so heartbreaking. I actually found it years ago in the regular fiction section of my local Borders (may it rest in piece) and I actually have never found it in a YA section, though I classify all of Laura Wiess' books as YA and I know most people do.This book is about Meredith who was abused by her father and he was sent to prison and was supposed to in till she turned 18 and could move out on her own, never to see him again. But instead he gets out early and at 15 Meredith finds herself having to deal with her own worst nightmare.Meredith's mother is totally on her father's side, content with thinking the abuse was an "accident" and goes against the courts and allows Meredith's father to live with them. She is so ignorant about the entire situation and unfortunately that is the case with so many situations like Meredith's.Thankfully she has allies in her condo unit. A ex police officer who answered the call on Meredith's father years ago and a boy in a wheelchair whose apartment she escapes to daily. But even with places to go and people on her side she has to come home sometime and when she does she is met with leering stares and innuendos from a father she was never supposed to see again.This story was so honest, so gut-wrenching, I was captivated. It's relatively short and I read it in one day. I have reread it a few times and it is just as powerful every time. As someone who was a victim of sexual abuse I can tell you, this story could not be told better. There was never a time when I thought it seemed forced, the entire situation was written so incredibly well.The language is a bit strong but the entire situation with what exactly happened to Meredith that put her father in prison is danced around, not ever explained in explicit detail. Still, though, it's heavy subject matter and even though I am pretty laid back about recommended ages for teens I would say this is a book for ages 16 and up.I have lended my copy out to a few friends and all of them loved it and said it was one of the most powerful novels they have ever read. Definitely worth the read.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Well....that was an uncomfortable. Throughout I had to close the book for a bit and take a break. But at the same time, I wanted to keep reading, wanting to know what will happen next and how it will end. Got intense near the end though. The writing was good, the pace was fine. I remembered hearing about this one but never read it till now. A quick read but uncomfortable at times. Might read the author's other books.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Well....that was an uncomfortable. Throughout I had to close the book for a bit and take a break. But at the same time, I wanted to keep reading, wanting to know what will happen next and how it will end. Got intense near the end though. The writing was good, the pace was fine. I remembered hearing about this one but never read it till now. A quick read but uncomfortable at times. Might read the author's other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I actually threw this book and I am greatly sorry for it but this novel got under my skin. So yes, I totally enjoyed this novel and yes, I would highly recommend it, if this is a genre you read. Why? For starters this novel is real, this story is reality as it told the story as if they were your neighbors and this was not the edited version. There was no red bow at the end and there was no happy, sappy feeling in the middle that made me go “ahh!” I was furious and irritated and I wanted to reach inside this novel and knock some heads together. Yes, these are the people you read about in the paper and the people I yell at my husband about, these people should be shot and yet these people have children. There are people in the world who are dying to have children and they can’t and here we have people who have children and they treat them like this. She cringes when she thinks of her father. She is happy that he is behind bars finally and she feels free. It’s just the two of them, her mom and her, living together in an apartment. She also has Andy; he was in an accident years ago and now moves around in a wheelchair. Not sure what you would call this relationship but I feel that she clings to him. They are close, intimate close but I wouldn’t label it a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. Because of his accident, she feels that he will always be there for her. One day, her mother has exciting news or at least she feels it is exciting news, her father is being released early. Bam, the novel is filled with emotions and they are intense and real, slamming into everything. Of course, the girl is upset for her father was the one who took away her childhood and the childhood of other children who were brave enough to speak up in court. Her father is a child molester and he is coming home. There are words spoken and mother is angry. It boils down to this, mother is choosing her husband over her child, and the words that spew out of her mouth towards her daughter shock me and make me want to grab this young girl and run. I’m angry now just writing this, this book is a work of fiction yet I am upset just thinking that this does occurs in the real world and mothers abandon their children as they cling to their men. Their town doesn’t like her father and she knows it and she doesn’t fight the words or the attitude that they cast towards him, she understands their position. She’s a sassy one but she has a reason to be. I was pulling for her…..all the way through the novel.