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Such a Pretty Girl Paperback – January 2, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon's editors chose their list of the one hundred young adult books to read, whether you're fourteen or forty...Learn more
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With her father imprisoned, 15-year-old Meredith thinks she could live out her high-school days safely, but when he is released early for good behavior, her security is shattered. A popular youth baseball coach, her father has abused Mer as well as other boys and girls. With strict orders that he not be left alone with his daughter, he is returned to the condo complex where she and her mother live. In contrast to Mer's terror, her mother is giddy with delight at his return, and together the reunited couple plans to conceive another child. Yet in the shadows and stillness, Mer's nightmare begins anew. This is a gritty, terrifying novel about a father's abuse of power and trust, and the way two different teens, Meredith and her paraplegic friend, Andy, deal with that reality. Although not explicit, the novel is honest in its telling. Admittedly sensational, Wiess' story is a page-turner that ultimately sends a startling message of empowerment that, while improbable, is extremely satisfying. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Such a Pretty Girl is deep and ravishing, dark and true. In the character of Meredith, Laura Wiess has created a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe. Read this novel, and you will be changed forever."
-- Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Such a Pretty Girl hooked me on page one and Laura Wiess's masterful prose kept me turning the pages. This is the first book in a very long time that made me say, 'Wish I'd written this.'"
-- Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank

"Beautifully written and painfully real. Laura Wiess has crafted a gripping story that is heart-rending -- and important, with a capital 'I'."
-- Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author of Flirting with Pete

Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; 1ST edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416521836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521839
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, reader, feeder of strays.

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed Simon & Schuster YA novels Such a Pretty Girl, Leftovers, How It Ends, Ordinary Beauty and in February 2014, Me Since You.

Exploring issues such as sexual abuse, suicide, addiction, abandonment and betrayal, she writes about young adults caught in desperate conditions, armed with little more than hope and fighting to survive.

Originally from central New Jersey, Laura followed her passion for land to the woods of Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains region. A lifelong animal lover, she is a spay/neuter advocate, maintains a small TNR semi-feral cat community, and enjoys a respectful if occasionally hair-raising co-existence with the deer, porcupines, coyotes, rattlesnakes and bears living around her.

Visit Laura's website http://www.laurawiess.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I almost passed this book by. The topic was an awful one, and I have had to witness the effects of abuse on children. I didn't think such a topic could be pulled off at all well. But something on the back matter made me pick Pretty Girl up, made me read the first couple of pages and then buy it.

I'm glad I did. Not only did the author convey the reality of the child's suffering, she gave us the effects on the community, the relatives and others. She has portrayed a very bad situation and shown us characters who are damaged and isolated by their experience, and shown us how some of them make it through the damage and out the other side. She shows us how some do not, or can only heal part way. It's about coping. And it was done beautifully.

This is one of those books that can effect a profound change on the reader.
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Format: Paperback
In SUCH A PRETTY GIRL, Laura Wiess grabbed and held my attention from the first page to the last. New Jersey teenager Meredith was supposed to have nine years of safety from her father, so she'd be eighteen and out of the house when he was released from prison. But three years later, when Meredith is fifteen, her father gets out for good behavior. No matter what he did to Meredith and to other children before her, Meredith's mother is more than ready to take him back.

Meredith isn't alone, though. She has her grandmother, the mayor of the town, who wants Meredith to move in with her to escape her father. She has Andy, her best friend, the guy she is in love with, who was also scarred by Meredith's father as a child. She has Andy's mother, who moved across the street from Meredith's family just to keep other children from the horror from which she couldn't protect Andy. She has Nigel, a retired policemen who has a plan to get Meredith's father back in jail and away from children. Even though Meredith is far from alone, she still feels that way when she can't even count on the people every kid is supposed to be able to count on: her parents.

Meredith wants to get her father back in prison. She wants her mother to go back to visiting him instead of having him in their house. She wants to be able to go into her own home without fear. She wants other kids to be safe, too. She doesn't know what that's going to take, and she's certainly not unafraid, but she isn't going to let him hurt her, or any other kids, again.

This moving, powerful novel is one that should not be missed. Once you start reading it, you won't be able to put this book down. I wasn't!
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2 Comments 35 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book deals with a young prepubescent girl's ordeal. Raped by her father, who has also diddled with other children in his care and custody, Meredith speaks out about her family's little dirty secret, against her mother's wishes. Consequently, her father is arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison. After only three years in prison, rather than the nine Meredith had been led to believe he would get, he is released.

The mother, besotted with her husband, and blind to her child's pain and the enormity of the crime that daddy dearest has committed against his flesh and blood, does nothing to help Meredith. Instead, she speaks inanely about their being a family again, disregarding her daughter's pain and suffering over such a concept. Meredith, now an older and wiser fifteen year old, has her own coping mechanisms that help her deal with both her mother and father's complete betrayal.

Moreover, since the mother is a total enabler, she gets him an apartment in the complex in which she and Meredith live and proceeds to invite him into their home in complete disregard of a court's directive. She does this despite the fact that one of the original arresting officers just happens to live in the complex, as well, and is well-aware of what is going on. This is where the story begins to fall apart, as the author's understanding of law enforcement and the criminal justice system with regards to pedophiles seems off the mark.

While this is an intriguing book with its up close and personal look at incest and pedophilia, it is flawed. Some of the book rings true, while some of it rings quite hollow. Consequently, there were parts that I liked and parts that I did not at all like.
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2 Comments 37 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Despite my frustration with the blind self absorption of the heroine's mother, the damaged, yet resilient character of Meredith so engrossed me with her in-the-moment hyperawareness of her surroundings, the details of which made her so identifiable, and her perilous existence so palpably real, I was never bored for a second; but only impatient with the imperviousness of her mother to the position she thrust upon her daughter. Perhaps if there were some background psychological explanation for the mother's obsessive need to use her daughter to hold onto her husband, she might have been somewhat more pathetic and less despicable. She seems to lack any maternal instinct whatsoever.

I love this authors awareness of detail, as I experience the world much the same way, and enjoy the comfort of a character who sees, smells and feels her surroundings so vividly.

Despite the disconcerting subject matter, the author has managed to allow us to understand what has occurred, yet without any lascivious details. You feel from the beginning that it will be safe to keep reading without fear of having to endure a graphic description of a repulsive act.

This book should be required reading for troubled teenagers, who may recognize the patterns of their behavior and take some strength from this young girl's unwillingness to yield to her plight, despite her sense that she is ultimately alone in dealing with her nightmare. Such knowledge could create a more open dialog for young people who have experienced an abuser to feel less guilty for their confused feelings about people who seem to care about them but prey upon them in seclusion.
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