"Everyone thought we were dead."
A fiercely imagined fiction debut in which two young women face what happened the summer they were twelve, when a handsome stranger abducted them
Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think? -Lois
It's always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I haven't mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person. -Carly May
The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell's Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.
I really liked this book... up to a point. You know when you feel a story gaining speed but then it turns the corner and you realize you won't be feeling any loop de loop excitement... that was this book for me. This is not a bad book, at all. If anything, it was an entertaining read... but I wish Maggie Mitchell took the unexpected turn into the unknown instead of the predictable flat road. Let me start by giving you a little background. We meet Lois and Carly, two teen girls kidnapped by the same man. Both of these girls are from different parts of the country and don't know each other. Not only that, but after getting to know who they are, the girls don't seem to have much of a connection personality wise (maybe by being opposites).
The cool part about this book is the puzzle... which isn't "what happened?" but "why?" Why did this man kidnap two girls with completely different personalities? The Author completely divulges all secrets and shows us a very ordinary interaction between everyone, which has the reader begging to know WHY? This man isn't sexually assaulting them, he isn't hurting them, he isn't doing much of anything really. Both of these girls grow up to wonder that same question... why? Why them? This story is told between the girls, back and forth and through time. Unfortunately, something that had the promise of being complex and different... didn't end up that way. I saw it coming... and it shouldn't have gone that way. However, the Author picked that ending, and the reader must live with it. This doesn't belittle the rest of the book into being unworthy of attention. I would gladly recommend this book, especially because of the unique storytelling that happens throughout. I hope you get a chance to check it out and tell me what you thought.
P.S. - Leah from Books Speak Volumes has an excellent review of this book that mirrored my sentiments exactly (using better words). ;p
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