Review – Such A Pretty Girl

Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss

Such a Pretty Girl

From Booklist –

With her father imprisoned, 15-year-old Meredith thinks she could live out her high-school days safely, but when he is released early for good behavior, her security is shattered. A popular youth baseball coach, her father has abused Mer as well as other boys and girls. With strict orders that he not be left alone with his daughter, he is returned to the condo complex where she and her mother live. In contrast to Mer’s terror, her mother is giddy with delight at his return, and together the reunited couple plans to conceive another child. Yet in the shadows and stillness, Mer’s nightmare begins anew. This is a gritty, terrifying novel about a father’s abuse of power and trust, and the way two different teens, Meredith and her paraplegic friend, Andy, deal with that reality. Although not explicit, the novel is honest in its telling. Admittedly sensational, Wiess’ story is a page-turner that ultimately sends a startling message of empowerment that, while improbable, is extremely satisfying.

My thoughts –

I’m not sure when I heard about this book, or who I heard about it from, but I’ve had it on my wishlist since it came out and finally mooched it recently.  This is a very short (200 pages) YA novel that I finished in one sitting, so it is definitely easy to read.  Don’t let the compactness of the book fool you, however; there is real character development and complex themes running through this novel.  To deal with child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is difficult for authors to do well, oftentimes it ends up being overdramatized or underempathized (if that’s even a word).  Not in this novel; Weiss does an excellent job telling Meredith’s story, making it seem completely real, as if we were reading the true thoughts and feelings of a fifteen year old girl, terrified of her own father, haunted by what he’s done to her and what he wishes to continue doing.  Meredith is a brave young girl, as scared as she is, she’s dedicated to getting her father back to where he belongs (prison) so that he can’t hurt any more kids like he hurt her and her friends.  Weiss builds suspense up throughout the novel, building to a final chapter that tied things up pretty neatly, but did not feel false in any way.  I’d really recommend this book, especially for teens and parents of teens.  Or if you just enjoy YA books (like me), you’ll enjoy this one too. 🙂  Weiss recently had another book come out, Leftovers, that looks just as gripping and one I’ll be adding to my wishlist immidiately.

Rating: 9/10

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