‘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.
Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell is definitely a story about so many things: friendship, fear, consequences, and much more. It is full of intrigue and suspense and kept me fascinated as to what exactly happened all those years ago.
Although this story slowly reveals more about the past and that month and a half, when the two girls were taken away from their families, I really felt that it was not so much about why it happened but more about what happened and how this has affected them both. It addresses the way both girls dealt with the experience and the repercussions. It was so interesting to read about their family life before and after this life-changing event, and I felt that the characters were so well developed- the two girls are both so different, but very convincing. They seemed like they could be real people struggling with their own issues, and I loved reading about them.
SPOILER BELOW: HIGHLIGHT TO REVEAL…
[I quite liked that the man who took them away was not a typical ‘villian’ character as such; he left me with mixed feelings which I was surprised about. There’s no doubt that what he did was wrong, of course, but he seemed to really care for them both in his own strange way. I found this so strange- but at the same time, really intriguing! I really wanted to know why he did it but the fact that the author left this without being confirmed added to the mystery.]
I would highly recommend this book. To me it had just the right amount of action and drama versus emotion and character development. A fantastic debut for Maggie Mitchell and an author I’d love to read more about!
[My Rating: 5/5]
Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.