Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Pretty Amy

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein 
Release: May 8, 2012

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

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It is difficult to put into words my experience while reading Pretty Amy. So let me begin by saying that this is not a book for the faint of heart. It is YA, but more adult than young (if that makes any sense). In fact, I initially shocked by the use of foul language and the topics/issues that were explored.

Once the shock died out, though, I understood the necessity of such words. It made for a much more realistic story.

Pretty Amy begins on Prom night. Amy and her friends, Lila and Cassie (that's my name!) have been stood up. One thing leads to another, and as you can tell from the cover, they all end up in jail. The story that follows marks Amy's journey through regret, forgiveness, and realization of self worth. And I can say that, without a doubt, this book would not have worked were it not for the realistic characterization of Amy. She is at the heart of the story and her voice and character are worth noting. As layers are peeled back, the reader begins to see the desperation and uncertainty that everyone feels at one point in their life. When one becomes so defined by their social group that they feel like they are nothing apart from them.

And this relatable theme has the potential to hit readers to the core.

The rest of the cast is also quite colorful. From Conner, to Lila, to Cassie...and even AJ (Amy's pet parrot). The relationship between Joe and Amy could have been more emphasized and/or developed, though. That is my one and only complaint, aside from the relatively quick resolution. The romance isn't the focus of the book, though, and perhaps that is what made this read different and refreshing. Pretty Amy is a simple, heavy, and yet satisfying story.

So please, PLEASE don't miss this amazing book. Thanks to entangled publishing for providing the e-ARC. Look for my interview with Lisa Bursten come Sunday--see you then.

(Oh! And on a side note, I have posted up a NEW giveaway. Go and enter now!)


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