Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell, Not That Pretty

Pretty Is review

Two twelve year old girls, a beauty pageant winner and spelling bee champ, were kidnapped and held for nearly two months before they were rescued. After their rescue, the girls were in the news for a few days and then all but forgotten. The girls go back to their families and never hear from each other again.

Decades later, Lois the spelling bee champ, now a professor, writes a thriller under a pseudonym with a plot closely following the actual events of those weeks. In LA, Carly May the beauty queen is a working actress, but not a household name...yet. When she gets a script based on the thriller, she recognizes herself and Lois in the pages. Little details no one else could know but her and Lois tell her that only one person could have written it. Carly May is determined to get the part as the detective who falls in love with the kidnapper and confront Lois about turning their ordeal into a plotline.

Not many people know about Lois's past, or her second job as a writer. It's not a secret, but it's not something she talks about either. While she struggles with writing a sequel, a creepy student starts asking her questions about the kidnapping. Lois starts to realize her life might not be as together as she thinks it is.

Pretty Is alternates between Lois and Carly May (sometimes referred to as Chloe- her stage name). The summer they disappeared is told through a chapter in Lois's book, which is weirdly long for a chapter in a thriller. The story flashes back to the girls' childhoods before and after the kidnapping. It's angsty, with both girls feeling bored and neglected. The kidnapping by a young, handsome stranger is an adventure to them. They don't even think about their families or seem all that scared.

Everyday of their captivity
Much of the book is about the women coming to terms with what happened. Why they didn't escape. why they liked their kidnapper, why he choose them. There is a "suspense" subplot as well that just didn't work for me.

I had some issues with Pretty Is. It was a little slow for a short book. I didn't always buy that the girls were twelve. I kept thinking they were older. Older Lois drove me nuts. Tell your student he is being inappropriate and tell someone above you that he's being a weirdo, Lois. Then the ending was just, like, what? That's it?

It had potential but it didn't go there. It's was just okay.

About the Audio: Tavia Gilbert and Nicol Zanzarella narrate as Lois and Carly-May (I don't know who is who). They were fine. There is a brief moment where the Carly-May narrator is listening to Canadians speak. I have renewed sympathy for anyone who has had to listen to an American actor mangle their native accent. That was cringeworthy. Just skip the accent, people, you can't do it.

**I couldn't resist the Kimmy Schmidt gifs. I thought about that show the whole book.

Pretty Is

1 comment:

  1. Props for the Kimmy Schmidt gifs. I think I'll watch that show rather than reading this book.


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