Pretty Is – Maggie Mitchell
Published: May 2016, Orion (First published in 2015)
Source: ARC Review Copy
Everyone thought we were dead. What else could they think?
One Summer, two twelve year old girls are abducted, driven across the country and imprisoned in a remote lodge in the forest for two months.There they formed a bond that could never be broken.
Twenty years later, both girls have built new lives and identities when they are drawn back together in a world that echoes their early story. What really happened in the woods that summer?
We’re told this story through both Lois and Carly-May, and this is one book where I think the dual narrative worked right off the bat. I was never confused, and as they had very different personalities it was easy to separate the different lives. It felt to me like Lois was the ‘main’ narrator though, because she was the one who touched more on their past and what happened, but I think this is primarily due to her current life – being a writer. I liked both characters, but for me Lois sometimes felt like an unreliable narrator. I’m not sure why, but it just seemed liked she lived a lot in the fiction world, and it made me question which stories were true.
As for the actual story line, it was definitely intriguing. I was hooked on wanting to know more about that summer, and I had suspicions about certain people that just turned out to not be right at all… It’s good though when a book keeps you guessing and on your toes. The whole abduction story is enough you keep you reading. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book with this kind of story line, and it was something I really liked. Not the actual thought of abduction, but you know, hearing how the girls recovered and moved on (or didn’t…)
Pretty Is was split into three sections. There’s the sort of introduction, the ‘what could have happened that summer’ and then lastly the part where things start to actually happen. My least favourite section was actually the middle, more so because of what it was. You’ll understand if you read the book… The ending for me went by very quickly because there’s more action there. It was interesting to see everything come together, and although easy to guess in places, it was still quite a mystery.
Pretty Is is a thriller that has a lot of depth to it, and is easy to keep on reading until the end. Beautifully written, you wouldn’t think this novel was the author’s debut. Definitely recommend keeping an eye out in May when it’s published! 4/5