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.
Summary courtesy of Goodreads:
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?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.